Jorn // Traveller
Rating: 3.5/5.0 — “Live for today for tomorrow may never come… REV ON!”
Label: Frontiers Records
Websites: Facebook.com/OFFICIALJORN | Myspace.com/realjorn
Release Dates: EU: 2013.06.14 | US: 06.11.2013
For Angry Metal regulars, Norway’s Jorn Lande needs NO introduction! This leaves me in a quandary… I need an opening paragraph so you get a repeat of what you already know. As Lord Steel Druhm laid out in his review of Bring Heavy Rock To The Land, Lande has a massive career spanning across solo, group and collaborative projects Ark, Masterplan, Beyond Twilight, Avantasia and Allen/Lande that easily makes him one of the most recognized voices in the industry. Well surprise, surprise, hot on the heels of Symphonic (which ended up being a collection of 14 of Jorn‘s 70’s inspired rock and metal infused earlier works), Lande adds another notch to his well-worn belt with the much anticipated release of Traveller.
Things kick off with the thick, thrumming, bassy intro of “Overload”, and once it gets going, it’s plenty big, rocking and oozes that vintage Jorn‘s charisma. “Overload” less than subtly introduces you to the new dynamic within the band. Gone is Tore Moren (guitar) and Nic Angileri (bass), and instead you have new guitarist Trond Holter and bassist Bernt Jansen, both stepping up from Norway’s 80’s era glam rock band Wig Wam. There’s a fair amount of guitar wankery on this track and there’s around a minute and a half where Jorn completely loses his spotlight.
The album’s brimming with catchy and easily digestible, melodic riffs interspersed with some experimentation. This experimentation isn’t thickly laid on, but in tracks like “Overload” and the oddly doomy, Candlemass-flavoured “Carry The Black” they’re quite evident and add a new and interesting dynamic to the Jorn sound, while at the same time making this a slightly tougher album to get into on first listen. Outside of this, there’s a distinct Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Whitesnake classic hard rock edge at the root, closely interwoven with Jorn‘s clear-cut case of Dio-worship that’s brought to the fore on tracks like “Cancer Demon” and “The Man Who Was King” [Seriously, the guy needs to go to metal grief counseling ASAP — Steel Druhm].
‘The Voice of Rock’ delivers in spades on Traveller! Lande certainly hasn’t lost any of his rich rasp or his bluesy, whiskey soaked vigour and on tracks like “Window Maker” and “Carry The Black” he’s added a darkness I had no idea he was capable of. I find myself sitting here while listening to “Carry The Black” almost wishing Jorn and Candlemass could collaborate.
Where I do feel somewhat let-down is that Traveller doesn’t leave you feeling that Jorn is the star of the show, which was never in any doubt on Bring Heavy Rock To The Land. There are also instances where the production lets him down and the drums and guitars muscle their way a little too far into the limelight.
If you’re looking for another Bring Heavy Rock To The Land, this is not that album. Traveller is the first album featuring the song writing collaboration between Lande and new guitarist Trond Holter and to quote the man of the hour, “this is an album about life, doom and death reflecting on what I know and thoughts about what I don’t“. “Cancer Demon”, “Carry The Black” and “The Man Who Was King” ended up growing on me quite substantially and got a lot of rotation on my playlist, they show off a more honest, grim and shadowy side of Jorn and if this appeals to you, then you’ll enjoy rocking out with Traveller.