JORN – Heavy Rock Radio II: Executing The Classics

Jorn Lande is no stranger to cover versions. In 2006, he released an album’s worth of covers in tribute to the legendary Ronnie James Dio. Ten years on, he released ‘Heavy Rock Radio’, a tribute to some of his other favourites and influences. Unfortunately, ‘Heavy Rock Radio‘ wasn’t very good at all. A couple of tunes might’ve just about passed muster in terms of hard rock reworkings and – predictably – the obligatory Dio-related song fared quite well, but overall, it was a bit of a turkey. Making things heavier doesn’t necessarily make things better (unless you ask a particularly unadventurous metalhead) and in a rocked up cover of ‘Hotel California’, Lande truly hit rock bottom by giving the world a reggae metal hybrid that no-one with ears deserved to hear.

Jorn obviously had fun making that record – terrible as most of it might have been – and he enters his fifth decade as a recording artist with a second volume of reworked favourites. ‘Heavy Rock Radio II: Executing The Classics’ is an improvement on its predecessor, but then, in many respecrs, it would have struggled to have been worse. It’s actually about fifty percent better, but still makes for an incredibly patchy record.

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JORN – Heavy Rock Radio

jorn heavy rock radio lpPossessed with one of the biggest voices in rock – possibly the biggest, alongside his regular collaborator Russell Allen – Jorn Lande has carved out a career with some great releases over the years. His place as Dio’s natural successor is very much assured due to a few albums of self-penned material often presenting well-honed performances. He’s also fond of a cover tune or six: his 2010 album ‘Dio’, in particular, did exactly what it said on the tin, with Lande putting his stamp on tunes originally brought into the public eye by the late, great Ronnie James, the results meeting critical acclaim. Some six years on from his Dio-fest, Lande’s eleventh studio album ‘Heavy Rock Radio’ finds the huge voiced Norwegian wheeling out more covers. This time, however, the results are sometimes questionable. So questionable in places, the disc could have perhaps been subtitled “Jesus Christ, How Did This Happen?”. The answer to that should-be-rhetorical question, of course, simply being “because he’s Jorn Lande”. As most people know, with Jorn you only get Jorn, and that means – whatever the material in hand – it’s very much a case of “dials up to eleven and needle in the red” all the way. In this respect, he’s very much made each of the cuts his own, but frankly, his choices don’t always work.

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karlssonBack in 2013 Magnus Karlsson released an album entitled ‘Free Fall‘, a disc of hard rock collaborations with various guest vocalists that yielded mixed results. Mixed, maybe, but when those collaborations worked, in terms of classic hard rock, they hit the spot.

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