Jorn - Starfire
Jorn Lande's "Starfire" was the beginning of the now- legendary metal vocalist's solo career. Then he was known but not as well known as he would become, but the excitement over this release was still fever pitch for those who knew him. Eager to grasp at any freshly recorded material that featured his glorious voice, the fact that "Starfire" was mostly a covers album didn't seem to bother much of anyone that had a soft spot for Jorn. Looking at it now, it's a mixed bag, but still a damn entertaining one.

is rich with Lande's influences and feature a wide smattering of genres, linking them together by voice and enthusiasm. He burns through the AOR material with fervor and power, creating absolutely smashing gems out of Journey's "Edge of the Blade" and Foreigner's "Break It Up" respectively. "Edge" has sharper synthesizers than the original, background vocals that add the perfect touch that the track once lacked, and guitars that were thick for Journey have been beefed up into ultra side slabs of metallic bleeding edge goodness. "Edge" has become a powerful and expertly wielded weapon. Ralph Santolla from Millenium filling in Neal Schon's shoes and Jorn layering his David Coverdale side to his voice all over the song. It's deliriously delicious. Same goes for "Break It Up", a little known diamond hidden in Foreigner's "4", extracted and given the Jorn treatment. A giant of an AOR track just gets expanded into massive territory and basks in its light. This is juicy stuff.

City Boy gets covered in "The Day the Earth Caught Fire", recreating its pulsing riffs, Queen-like overdramatics and Styx theatrics. Frantic and flurries of keyboards it sounds and is performed well. Deep Purple gets a nod with "Burn", a song that many a band has covered with wild abandon. Jorn's version just rips it to pieces and turns in a phenomenal performance that is as frenzied and thunderous as the original. Axe blazing and vocally exceptional. The Grace Slick-less Jefferson Starship's "Just the Same" from "Freedom at Point Zero" sees perhaps the most radical evolutionary change for the "Starfire" release. What was once a warped, lazy mid paced rocker is twirled into a punchy barnstormer. The mystery and undercover throbbing vibes are retained, and Lande's opening interpretation is as tripped as the original. It comfortably sprawls out into a crunching tune that has sci-fi fed synth slipping in the background and a decidedly 70s feeling. Tore Ostby provides guitars and you can hear his fabulously solid tones that were used on D.C. Cooper's sole self titled release.

The new stuff is hit or miss. "Starfire" (the epic title track) has been revisited since the album's release, and its a fine tune indeed, that blends the epic overbearing of Rainbow with some atmospheric AOR touches. The lyrics are poetic, and the winding guitar that streams through the musical sky like the tail of a falling star, leaving the imprint of sparkles of stardust in its wake. Drumwork rolls and solidifies. "Forever Yours" has none of that dramaticism or ingenuity. It's a laid back acoustic noodler that is implanted in the world of pop. Quaint, but lacking any kind of emotional punch.

Clashing Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell" and "Headless Cross" comes "Gate of Tears", a piece that has the best of both Black Sab worlds - from Dio's stint as well as Tony Martin's. It's slick, powerful, dancing in darkness and just a great track all around. "End Comes Easy" takes us back to the indifference of "Forever Yours", this time poking at experimental stuff that could have come from a snake charmer's tent. Middle Eastern and lumbering, it's roots seem more in the world of Crimson Glory's "Strange and Beautiful". A song that has more interest as an artistic piece than being an actual "song". Yet finally they end it in an explosion of heavy metal, "Abyss of Evil", a sonically thick and disturbing "Dehumanizer" piece. Full throttle and vocal delivery to match. Churning darkened moody metal and even heavier than "Gate of Tears".

is still a highly entertaining disc of music that has held up well over the years. The cover versions are all fun to hear over and again, and the original material is hit or miss. It's not a perfect disc, but one that whet the thirst for more Lande in a time when there was a drought of music that contained his voice. Worth a look for those who missed it the first time around, just to hear Lande's influences and his first few attempts at working out solo songs.

Written by Alanna
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
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Review by Alanna

Released by
Frontiers - 2000

1. Starfire
2. Edge of the Blade
3. Break It Up
4. Forever Yours
5. The Day the Earth Caught Fire
6. Burn
7. Gate of Tears
8. Just the Same
9. End Comes Easy
10. Abyss of Evil

Hard Rock

Related links
Visit the band page

Jorn Lande - Official Website

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