JORN – The Duke


AFM Records
Release Date: March 1, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Jorn Lande -– Norway’s take on David Coverdale, if you will -– should be a familiar name with most Metalheads by now, either from his very listenable solo albums or from his involvement with Masterplan, Ark, Beyond Twilight, The Snakes, Nostradamus, and Millenium. In other circles, oral involvement with so many different projects is looked upon as rather vulgar, but if so, this case definitely classifies as a “vulgar display of power.” Lande has positioned himself as one of the most powerful and versatile Hard Rock/Metal frontmen there is, and this album does nothing to alter that impression.

Once again, this is a classic “with a little help from my friends” effort – Tore Morén (Arcturus, Carnivora, Rain) and Jørn Viggo Lofstad (Pagan’s Mind) share guitar duties in a brotherly and very entertaining way, former TNT bassist Morty Black keeps things steady and rollin’, Don Airey (Rainbow, Whitesnake, Ozzy) adds keyboards when necessary, and “Wild Willy” Bendiksen (Blonde On Blonde, Bad Habitz, Bernie Marsden, The Snakes, Norum/Robertson, Wild Willy’s Gang) is the man behind the drums. A very competent band indeed.

The Duke’s predecessor, Out to Every Nation, was a real smasher and one of the highlights of 2004, and led by songs like “We Brought The Angels Down,” “Stormcrow,” “Blacksong,” “After the Dying,” and “Starfire,” this new 2006 effort is not far behind. The melodies take a few listens to get entirely comfortable with, but when they’re first under your skin they’ll be stuck for a long time. Lande himself sounds a bit more relaxed than on Out To Every Nation, an album with more “mmm’s” and “yeah’s” than a double-length shampoo commercial. Sometimes less IS indeed more, and the vocals on The Duke come out tasteful and delicate, although never letting go of the rawness and power which made Lande famous.

The musicianship is also, not surprisingly perhaps, class A, with the two guitarists trading licks in the most entertaining of ways, while the rock solid pairing of Black and Bendiksen does exactly what made them semi-legends on the Norwegian scene. With the music being just as good too, as expected –- there’s not one single poor song on the album –- this album should be a compulsory buy for every fan of Lande and good music in general. Classic, melodic, Hard Rock/Heavy Metal cannot be done much better than this … and for those wanting more; why not skip that Canary Island week in the summer for a weekend at the Prog Power Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, in September?


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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