JORN – BRING HEAVY ROCK TO THE LAND

Out now on Frontiers

By now, a new Jorn release usually doesn’t hold much surprise. Jorn’s Coverdale cum Dio vocal stylings, underpinned by solid heavy rock, are dependable and solid, but sometimes let down by pedestrian songwriting.

On this new album the songwriting issue seems to have been tackled. There’s more attention to melody and less emphasis on downtuned plodding riffing. Even epic tunes like “A Thousand Cuts” manage to hold the listener’s attention for the duration, especially as they’re balanced by more uptempo fare such as “Chains Around You” or “Ride To The Guns”. Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like The Wind” is a bit superfluous, even if Jorn’s rendition steers closer to Saxon’s cover of the tune than it does the original.

Surprises? Hardly. Dio, Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake are the trusted ingredients in the mix. This time around, there seems to be more inspiration added in than on previous albums though.

Rating – 87%
Review by Sancho

BRIAN ROBERTSON – DIAMONDS AND DIRT

Released March 28th 2011 On SPV / Steamhammer

Brian Robertson is a personal hero of mine. After all, he plays on two of my all time top three albums… His playing on Thin Lizzy‘s “Live And Dangerous” and Motörhead‘s unsung masterpiece “Another Perfect Day” is enough to cement his reputation as a true great of the electric guitar.  Wild Horses, his band with Jimmy Bain, had its moments but never lived up to the promise.  And then it all went quiet… A rather shambolic performance on Gary Moore‘s rather shambolic “One Night In Dublin” didn’t exactly get my hopes up for this solo debut.

Well, I may have been too cynical. Robertson has assembled a very good band. Singer Leif Sundin is a major asset. The songs? Laid back poppy hard rock with a bluesy edge (e.g. “Blues Boy”). Very open and airy. Not unlike Lizzy’s heyday.

The album is a mix of new material and remakes of a couple of Lizzy classics. The new take on “Running Back” may take some getting used to. To their credit, the new material mostly holds its own. Some of the songs are a bit lightweight, but overall there’s nothing embarrassing with the possible exception of “10 Miles To Go”.

Sundin is the perfect singer for this kind of music. His mellifluous and melodious voice sits perfectly in this style.  Robertson can still play, even if the sheer brilliance he displayed back in the day seems somewhat buried. It’s not unlike Schenker: you can tell it’s still the same guy but it’s like he’s not firing on all cylinders most of the time. He comes close on a couple of occasions though, like in “Texas Wind”or “That’s All”.

A very surprising album.

Rating – 83%
Review by Sancho