Jorn - Dio
As a tribute, there could perhaps be nothing finer. As an album, well... that is another story.

Jorn Lande's "Dio" album has been in the works since last year, well before Ronnie James' heartbreaking death. The timing of the album is too perfect to be a cash cow milk fest, not to mention the fact that Dio was one of Jorn's prime influences which has been cited by Lande himself numerous times across interviews and previously recorded covers as well. Some of these prior nods to the Dio influence include "Unlocking the Past" from 2007 which has both "Lonely is the Word" and "Kill the King" boasted among its ten track running, and it was perhaps "Stargazer" off of Mundanus Imperium's "The Spectral Spheres Coronation" way back in 1998 that brought the metal community to focus upon this latest torch bearer of the classic metal voice. But let's not digress too much.

The point is, Jorn Lande is a tremendous fan of Dio's work, you can tell just by his own phrasings, vocal deliveries, and stage presence that he admired the man tremendously. Recording a Dio tribute album is no surprise. The only surprise is his original tribute, "A Song for Ronnie James" which blends all the fantastical imagery from RJD's repretoir into one majestic track that has rainbows tumbling out and wicked riffs galore. This is the capstone of the disc, and far and beyond its greatest attraction. The rest of the songs are Dio covers, some blatantly obvious, as he thunders his way through staples as "Stand Up and Shout", "Shame On the Night", "Don't Talk to Strangers", the last which loses a great deal of its originally intended unsettled paranoid creepiness.

Others are not as overdone, and come as surprises such as "Lord of the Last Day", the power pumping addictive thump of "Sunset Superman" and "Push", all of which are tackled with enthusiasm and a great deal of admiration. However one must wonder over "Lonely is the Word/Letters From Earth" (again? really?) and "Kill the King" (um...), which seem fairly lifted from Jorn's "Covers" album. Way to recycle, and while these are nice to hear (if you passed up "Covers" which you likely did), they bring nothing spectacular to the disc. It is a wonder that none of the true grand epics have been given the Lande treatment, since none of them show up (other than "Sacred Heart" which is second tier to the greats as "Holy Diver", "Egypt", "The Last in Line", "Gates of Babylon", and others).  Hearing Jorn belt one of these massive pieces would have made the admission price a little more reasonable, in retrospect. 

The album "Dio" brings very little that's new under the sun (that one "Song for Ronnie James" aside). These are all note-by-note perfect renditions, the only real novelty being hearing Jorn's voice thundering over the classics.  This makes it a difficult album to judge properly, as the performances are spot on and even chilling at times, yet skirting so close to the original material, it leaves few reasons for revisitation as the initital Lande-singing-Dio novelty wears off.  Not enough, if any liberties have been taken, and while you can feel the respect in every song, it leaves you wishing to hear the original instead of the cover. A few twists could have remedied that, but as it is, these are straight up cover versions. Nothing more, nothing less. Tribute and cover albums need that something special to make them stand out, and despite the glory of Jorn Lande's vocal presence, that "something" is not here, thus making it another cover album swimming in a sea that is already overflowing with them.

Written by Alanna
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
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Alanna: 6/10

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Review by Alanna

Released by
Frontiers Records - 2010

Song For Ronnie James
Shame On The Night
Stand Up And Shout
Don't Talk To Strangers
Lord Of The Last Day
Night People
Sacred Heart
Sunset Superman
Lonely Is The Word / Letters From Earth
Kill The King
Straight Through The Heart (Live)

Heavy Metal

Related links
Visit the band page

Jorn Lande - Official Website

Other articles
Out to Every Nation - (Alanna)

The Duke - (Alanna)

Unlocking the Past - (Alanna)

The Gathering - (Alanna)

Lonely Are the Brave - (Alanna)

Starfire - (Alanna)

Spirit Black - (Alanna)

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