JORN – Traveller (2013)
Norway’s monster shouter JORN Lande needs no introduction. Still, if you never heard about him (or him screaming) the man 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 Hard / Metal music business.
Well, next June 17, Jorn adds another notch to his well-worn belt with the much anticipated release of “Traveller” on Frontiers Records.
“Traveller” is Jorn’s tenth solo album (assuming the Dio covers album counts), the first to feature Wig Wam’s Trond Holter & Bernt Jansen on lead guitar and bass respectively.
Perhaps is this new collaboration what has recharged Lande creative batteries as this new recording sounds truly more exciting, meaty, groovy than his last two or three CD’s.
Anyway, this is classy Jorn; something like if Ronnie James Dio might have written for David Coverdale to sing. Still, Jorn’s incredible vocals make the whole thing completely enjoyable, even if it’s not remotely original. But you you want the man doing his game, isn’t it?
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. The song less than subtly introduces you to the new dynamic within the band and its new members. There’s a fair amount of guitar wankery on this track, with Jorn giving enough space for a long solo and riffage.
“Overload” indeed shows a slightly new approach to Jorn standards, which is is more than welcome.
This some kind of ‘experimentation’ isn’t thickly laid on, but in the groovy, dark “Carry The Black” is quite evident and add a new and interesting perspective to the Jorn sound, while at the same time making this a slightly tougher album to get into on first listen.
Outside of that, “Traveller” is brimming with catchy choruses, easily digestible melodies and classy riffs. 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 “Make Your Engine Scream”.
An enviable punch and kick is heard on “Legend Man” and the bouncy “Rev On”, more tempered later on the Eastern influenced -and effective- “Monsoon”.
Title track “Traveller” is a powerful Snake-esque on steroids (and one of the best songs with a killer solo), while “Window Maker” shows that Lande certainly hasn’t lost any of his rich rasp or his bluesy, whiskey soaked vigour.
The last appreciation applies with justice on closer “The Man Who Was King”, a groovy, slow burner heavy ballad which is a heartfelt ode to… yes, you guessed it, RJD.
I was a little tired by Jorn’s lastest offerings, but “Traveller”, still being familiar and faithful to his roots, offers a welcomed slightly new approach to the fore.
First, this new recording feels more like a ‘band’ outing, and while Jorn vocals are always present there are also instances where the arrangement focus lets him down a little and the instrumentation muscle their way into the limelight, resulting in a much more cohesive effort.
Second, “Traveller” it’s not a powerhouse album like Spirit Black or Lonely Are the Brave, the music is more groovy, melodious, somehow darker, showing a new dynamic flow which benefits Jorn’s career to avoid repeating himself.
An finally, production is brighter than before (great mix as well) contrasting with the aforementioned little darkness of the music giving way to an invigorating product.
IMHO, “Traveller” is the best recording in Jorn’s career since many years, a solid-rock album from one of the best voices in the genre.
01 – Overload
02 – Cancer Demon
03 – Traveller
04 – Window Maker
05 – Make Your Engine Scream
06 – Legend Man
07 – Carry The Black
08 – Rev On
09 – Monsoon
10 – The Man Who Was King
Jorn Lande (vocals)
Willy Bendiksen (drums)
Jimmy Iversen (guitar)
Bernt Jansen [Wig Wam] (bass)
Trond Holter [Wig Wam] (lead guitar)