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Jorn - Spirit Black (2009)

A god (even that of heavy metal) is usually his own master and can be free-and-easy with his divine powers. The sheer talents of Jorn let him do whatever he wants. He may sing to the music he LIKES at a pace he personally PREFERS with an intonation he thinks is SUITABLE. Well, this is not always possible for we know Mr. Lande as a successful mercenary who took part in a helluva lot of projects and bands. Anyway, the solo project of the most talented Norwegian metal singer of all time is his own fiefdom. It had ups and downs: no one's perfect and you can't both have such an incredible voice and be a talented composer. It's called natural balance, you know. But Spirit Black is close to perfection - JORN in his full vigour.

Spirit black is the darkest and most intense release by Lande. The first 4 tracks are very heavy and dark, yet City Inbetween divides the album into two parts: the following tracks 6-8 borrow more from classic hard rock. Vocal-wise this is pure and absolute perfection. Jorn's voice has never sounded so confident and powerful, it's just like a volcano eruption. This man just becomes better and better, and this time I'm not sure if it's possible get even better than this...
Songwriting. It's not stellar, but it's great. The album doesn't have any single filler (I'd say Rock And Roll Angel is the least successful but it is by no means bad). In comparison to the previous album this is a big step up: Lonely Are The Brave had Night City, Shadow People, Promises, but it was still much bleaker and not as tight as Spirit Black. The highlights here would be... Oh, it's a torture for me to choose, but I say Below, Road Of The Cross (wow! did he recall Beyond Twilight suddenly?), Burn Your Flame (Rainbow would be proud to have this song in their back-catalogue), World Gone Mad. I didn't hear how Mrs. Turunen performs I Walk Alone and I don't know why Lande decided to make a cover of it, but I'm satisfied with the result.

And here I come with an exclamation: Hey guys! What the hell do you want from him?! Jorn is one of the most oldschool rock singers who live nowadays, he's deeply rooted back in 70s and 80s. This is his solo project and he makes the music that he was brought up on. I may be wrong (snoots, I may not) but this retro sounding mid paced hard rock with heavy riffs is almost perfect a framework for THE VOICE. I'm not sure about the ways of perception that the antagonists have, but I sense some harmony between the singing and music. What would you expect him to do? Euro-power metal?

If this is your first encounter with Jorn's voice better start with something you would appreciate more. I'm not sure I'll be happy with another one saying: 'Where are the catchy choruses? Why can't I dance to it? Give me my drive and put up the tempo!'

P.S.: I'm a devoted Jorn fanatic, so don't get me wrong guys! =)

Review by Dismayer

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