You’ve got to love Jorn Lande. Never afraid to bust out a cover when songwriting gets a bit tiresome – remember his Dio tribute album from 2010? – here he is, back again with another album choc full of his readings of some of rock’s most timeless classics.
Heavy Rock Radio? Heavy Rock Karaoke more like, although Jorn is sure as hell possessed of a better voice than the usual try hards you’ll find at your local empty orchestra dive, and he sings the very arse off of most of the selections here. In fact the only times he comes off worse than the original singer is when he takes on real bona fide giants of the tonsil. Killer Queen, a surprisingly half cock version of Iron Maiden’s Final Frontier and a tinny sounding take on Rainbow in the Dark by Dio are all versions you’ll never need to hear again; better then to concentrate on some of the better efforts here – accentuate the positive, right?
Right. Best of the lot is Lande’s take on Deep Purple’s Stormbringer. Jorn really has the breathy Coverdale rasp off pat – he’s sung in high-end Whitesnake tribute act Company of Snakes, remember – and his performance here is frankly world class. More surprising but no less effective is the version of Eagles classic Hotel California. Heavily rocked up and giving guitarist Trond Jolter full license to go mad on the Joe Walsh and Don Felder solos, it’s a delight to hear, with Lande holding back on the gravel to put in a delightfully relaxed yet telling performance. Likewise his reading of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ – it’s easy to try and match Steve Perry on this track, something that just ain’t possible, so Lande holds back on the warbling and just gives a great, studied, respectful performance.
Foreigner’s Rev on the Red Line comes off well too, whilst the great man unleashes his feminine side with great readings of Russ Ballard’s I Know There’s Something Going On (most famously recorded by Abba’s Frida on her 1982 solo album Something’s Going On) and Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill.
Like all of these cover/tribute albums that get released, there’s no real point to Heavy Rock Radio save indulging the artist and perhaps contractual fulfillment. However there’s plenty of good heavy rock on offer here, and Jorn anoraks won’t want to be without this release for sure. Anyone else will probably take it or leave it, but it’s pretty good for all that.
Heavy Rock Radio is out now on Frontiers Music