Jorn Lande needs no introduction to loyal readers of AMG, but I’ll give him one anyway. He’s the Norwegian superstar vocalist I rave about every chance I get (because that’s what fanboys do). His work with Masterplan, Avantasia and Beyond Twilight and his collaboration with Russell Allen on the Allen/Lande albums are all ample proof why he’s known as “The Voice of Rock.” His voice is an interesting mix of Graham Bonnet and Dio and there’s no denying the guy has a major set of pipes. He can belt out bigtime metal just as easily as bluesy hard rock and sappy power ballads. Being a Jorn fanboy hasn’t been without challenge though, and I have to admit, I don’t celebrate his ENTIRE catalog. As much as I love the guy’s voice on all his outside projects and bands, I’ve never been overly thrilled with his solo material. It seems every album has a few good/great cuts, but too often, the bulk is generic rock or too bluesy for my tastes (with the obvious exception of his Dio album which was all classic Dio covers). Thus, it was with a fair amount of trepidation I spun the awfully titled Bring Heavy Rock to the Land. To my surprise, though the material is typical Jorn in every way, it’s much better than his usual solo fare and it’s actually quite a successful hard rock/metal album with a nicely heavy edge to it. It showcases the man’s talents, surrounds him with some effective music and most importantly, provides quality songs (of a heavy rock variety, of course)!
Style-wise, Bring Heavy Rock is in the same wheelhouse as the most recent Allen/Lande opus. It’s melodic, hooky hard rock that strays into full-blown metal quite often. The title track is pure mid-tempo, groovy hard rock and it’s a winner. The unusually long “A Thousand Cuts” is way more metal, with thick, aggressive riffing and a winningly grinding, hefty performance by Jorn. It’s everything I like about the guy and it’s on his own album for a change. “Chains Around You” is very similar to the zippy Masterplan material with a dose of old school Rainbow for good measure. It’s a rockin good time and Jorn’s rough-edged vocals really shine. Other standouts include the ballsy, Saxon-ish metal of “Ride to the Guns” and the southern rock style of “Black Morning,” which sounds like the recent output of Van Zant and Lynyrd Skynyrd. At the risk of seriously blowing my metal cred, I’ll even admit liking the cover of the old Christopher Cross song “Ride Like the Wind.” (Jorn gambled his own metal cred by covering it, but it works pretty damn well).
None of the songs are bad, but I don’t overly care for the Masterplan song “Time to Be King,” which gets reprised here. I also don’t think “I Came to Rock” is a great album closer, though it did grow on me due to some cool riffing, solo work and quality vocal phrasing.
Naturally Jorn is the star of his own show, so his vocals are the focus. He sounds great as always and the quality of the songs allows him to fully flex the golden pipes. His ability to employ different vocal styles to fit different types of music always impressed me, and he does plenty of it here. While I prefer his rough, whiskey and cigarettes voice, he shows he can be smooth as silk and powerful as hell as the album progresses. Considering it’s a vocal-based album, there’s a surprising amount of room given to the quality guitar work of Tore Moren and Jimmy Iversen. They lay down a collection of above average riffs and nice solos and greatly add to the overall success and catchiness factor.
While this won’t be heavy enough for a lot of folks, it’s a well done, addictive example of classic hard rock mixed with melodic metal. If you loved the Allen/Lande records or the classic works of Rainbow, this will hit the spot. It’s a total grower of an album and gets better every time you spin it. The man continues to show why he’s considered one of metal’s elite voices, and I continue to be a fanboy. Lande has brought the heavy rock to the land, and I can finally offer full support to his solo material! Well played Mr. Lande. Well played indeed.