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Music Review: Jorn – Lonely Are The Brave

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Norway’s Jorn Lande’s pedigree is an impressive one. It is this pedigree that he returns to with his new release, the fifth under the Jorn banner, Lonely Are The Brave (Frontiers Records). His is a career that has seen involvement on nearly 30 albums alongside some of the greats in hard rock. The names are all there – Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden of Whitesnake who joined Jorn doing Whitesnake tracks in the band Snakes; Uli Jon Roth of The Scorpions; Joe Lynn Turner ex of Rainbow and Deep Purple; and guitar master Yngwie Malmsteen have all worked with Jorn among many others. However, arguably perhaps, he is better known for fronting German heavy metal band Masterplan.

Recently he has been working with Tobias Sammet’s own vast masterplan, Avantasia, alongside the legendary Alice Cooper, Magnum’s Bob Catley and Eric Singer of Kiss fame. They will be headlining the German Wacken Festival this summer as well as dates in Japan, Russia and South America. He can also be heard on Arjen Lucassen’s recent epic Ayreon album. Jorn is, if nothing else, driven and justifiably so because in the hard rock field singers of the quality of Jorn Lande are an ever decreasing commodity.

Lonely Are The Brave is everything you would expect and hope for from such a hard classic rock background. Mixed in Denmark by Tommy Hansen, whose previous work includes TNT, it will of course attract the inevitable comparisons to Whitesnake, mid-era Black Sabbath, and even early Rainbow; to an extent they are impossible to ignore. Having said that, Jorn does it with his own swaggering style and belief and with results like this who can fail to be impressed.

Jorn has gathered a solid band around him with the guitar prowess of both Jorn Viggo Lofstad and Tore Moren providing an excellent dual attack. Bass guitarist Sid Ringsby, also an ex-Snakes member, and drummer Willy Bendiksen complete a line up that, in typical Jorn style, will be extremely busy in 2008 and 2009 taking this album out on the road right across Europe. Live they are a force to be reckoned with and the 2007 double CD release Jorn:- Live In America captures some of that raw energy, drive and undiluted power that is present at any Jorn gig.

Lonely Are The Brave launches us directly into familiar heavy rock territory with the title track. Conjuring up a dramatic seascape of imagery Jorn powers out, "they sailed across the ocean blue, tall ships racing to find something new, legends of the sea going down in history". “Night City” has Jorn sounding uncannily like Ronnie James Dio but that is meant as a compliment when you consider the dynamic power that emanates from the former Rainbow front man and the legend that he is.

The astonishing “War Of The World,” a potential stadium anthem, has the band literally firing on all cylinders at the height of its potent power. “Shadow People” shows that Jorn can scream with the best of them while the haunting menace of “Soul Of The Wind,” complete with a superb doom laden riff, is a real stand out track in a set that showcases Jorn’s undeniable and characteristic passion and strength in abundance. If there is any doubt left that Jorn can pick up the heavy rock vocal mantle then “Man Of The Dark” will cast them into the fire. There is no let off as the band kick through “Promises” before “The Inner Road” opens up with a nightmare panorama of the Black Death, "you’ve got to know your hell to find your heaven."

The disturbingly dark “Hellfire,” clocking in at over six minutes, wraps up the album with horrific visions of death, doom and disaster. There are not many frontmen around today that could carry a track like this with such conviction – literally unleashing the words and creating powerful images of “Hellfire” itself. The production manages to bottle the force whilst losing nothing of its impact and drama.

This is an album that drives, rocks and ultimately satisfies. If heavy rock is your passion then this will quench that thirst. Lonely Are The Brave is everything that classic rock  should be – but for this millennium.

The Norwegian Viking has returned, conquered whilst taking no prisoners with one of his best and strongest releases in an already impressive career.

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