Really? The almighty Jorn Lande needs an introduction? I’m sure Steel Druhm has probably covered this before, but alright, so where to start – He’s the Father of all the Gods and is usually seen with his two ravens close at hand, them being Huginn (Thought) and Munin (Memory) [for pictures of said ravens check out the covers of Spirit Black, Dio, We Bring Heavy Rock to the Land and now of course Symphonic]. I see Wikipedia says he’s the God of magick, wisdom, wit and learning…fkkkkkk wrong Wiki page, that’s what happens when you get your Norse Gods confused (I swear it was the ravens that threw me)! Jorn’s introduction is a little dryer. Norwegian born and bred, hard rock and heavy metaller, Jorn Lande has brought might and power to the likes of Avantasia, Masterplan, Ark, Beyond Twilight, Millenium, Vagabond, The Snakes and of course, last but by no means least, to his solo project – Jorn. Symphonic is Jorn’s 15th solo album and to put it bluntly, I was surprised as hell to see it on our list of promo albums so soon after Bring Heavy Rock to the Land – queue anticipation.
Symphonic is a 14 track album running at approximately 73 minutes, made up of a collection of tracks gathered from Jorn’s 70’s inspired rock and metal infused earlier works, but with the twist of added symphonic elements. Opening track “I Came to Rock” gets off to a slow start with about a minute and a half of symphonic-wizardry, and while it’s pleasing to the ear for me, the album really gets going with an almighty bang when the DIO cover “Rock and Roll Children” busts onto the scene. The track is massive on every scale and needs to be played at maximum volume! Do it.
The symphonic elements, while adding an anticipatory atmosphere, are subtle and perfectly placed and played (“Black Morning” is a great example of the perfection of which I speak), and they by no means detract from the original compositions or steal any magic or limelight from the breathtaking riffage (“Like Stone In Water” being just one fine example) that is Jorn – a must for this riff-hungry Mistress!
I’ve heard it said that Mr Lande has one of the hardest working voices in rock and I can’t and won’t argue with that, Symphonic showcases his world class raspy, bluesy, destructively rich, soulful vocals that wash down like a good shot of Whiskey [mmmmm, the brownest of all bourbons --- Steel Druhm]. Jorn’s pipes form the glue behind Symphonic and he’s able to switch from offerings like the anthemic nature of “Vision Eyes” or “Behind the Clown” to hurl forth the balls-out, hard intensity needed in “Burn Your Flame” or “Time to be King.”. Tel me “Behind the Clown” doesn’t contain some goose-bump moments – right?
My big complaint with this album, and it’s a biggie unfortunately – why the re-hashing of old? The only track on the album I haven’t been able to attribute to a previous Jorn release was the DIO cover – “Rock and Roll Children.” By re-hashing the old, this dynamic and exciting album plummets downwards into the dark and dusty realm of the non-essential and that’s going to be a major disappointment to Jorn fanboys and girls alike.
Despite my complaint of earlier, I’ve enjoyed Symphonic immensely, it’s a colossal album that contains a careful selection of tracks that maybe weren’t Jorn’s most popular offerings, but they’re definitely one’s that shouldn’t be forgotten, all delivered with huge and dramatic orchestral style that dictates you turn the volume up. The mix on this album is as it should be, favouring Jorn and his vocal reach and at no time do you question that he is unequivocally the star of the show. While not necessarily an essential buy, if you’re hard pressed for storage space or you just want to rediscover tracks that you’d long forgotten, this is Jorn at his most dramatic. What say you?