One thing is for sure; Mr Jørn Lande likes to do covers. Even on his first solo album (“Starfire”, 2000), half of the songs were covers. Since then, he has also recorded two albums filled with covers (“Unlocking The Past”, 2007 and “Dio”, 2010). He even covered his own songs with an orchestra, in “Symphonic” (2013)!
On “Heavy Rock Radio”, the collection of songs he covers is diverse. He chose songs by pop artists (KATE BUSH, FRIDA, JOHN FARNHAM), rock artists (QUEEN, JOURNEY, FOREIGNER, PAUL STANLEY, EAGLES) and heavy metal artists as well (BLACK SABBATH, DIO, OZZY OSBOURNE, IRON MAIDEN, DEEP PURPLE).
The question rising is; is he good at it?
Well, he is, but his powerful and passionate vocals, that sound like a mixture of David Coverdale’s and Ronnie James Dio’s voices, are more suitable on the heavy songs (“Rainbow In The Dark”, “Stormbringer”, “Die Young”). With the exception of “Hotel California” where Jørn and his band gave the song the power and drama that the lyrics needed at first place, making it the best cover on this record and one of the best he has ever done.
Musically, his band played the songs with a modern heavy rock/metal sound and did a good job at re-producing them but without re-imagining them. That can be a good thing sometimes, since masterpieces as “Don’t Stop Believin’” don’t need any unnecessary additions but songs like “Live To Win” could take some experimentation in, that would make them sound more interesting, for new listeners.
If you are a fan of Jørn, or if you find an interest in covers (like me), you will find a couple of them here, that you will like but while listening to the entire album, you will think that the songs sound alike because of the band’s standard mid-tempo rhythm, and the same vocal style approach that Jørn uses, in all of them. Don’t get me wrong, Jørn Lande, is one of the best vocalists in heavy metal right now, but I believe that he should find a band with a composer, that will make use of his talent and write new songs, rather than just covering old legends. How about getting ARK back together Mr Jørn?
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