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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Jorn - 2006 The Duke
Jorn - 2006 The Duke

ALBUM: The Duke
LABEL: AFM Records
YEAR: 2006
CD REISSUE: Reissue List


LINEUP: Jorn Lande - vocals * Tore Moren, Jorn Viggo Lofstad - guitars * Don Airey - keyboards * Morty Black - bass * Willy Bendiksen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 We Brought The Angels Down * 02 Blacksong * 03 Stormcrow * 04 End Of Time * 05 Duke Of Love * 06 Burning Chains * 07 After The Dying * 08 Midnight Madness * 09 Are You Ready *10 Starfire (2005 Version)



Jorn Lande.. easily one of the best singers in heavy metal right now. A long way from his Vagabond days admittedly, but his track record and pedigree now a testament to a fine career thus far. Add to that, his fourth and latest solo album 'The Duke'. Not the 'Thin White Duke', but perhaps the 'Great White Duke of the North' or the 'Duke Of Metal', though I am sure Bruce Dickinson might have a thing or two to say about that! (you said Duke didn't you? not Dick?). Many people keep comparing Jorn to David Coverdale. Why oh why? Coverdale quite clearly has a voice that is now shot, and can never retain what greatness he once had (and that in itself is debatable). It would be like comparing a sleek Jaguar to a bloated and antiquated London Taxi Cab. In future please, start comparing Jorn to relevant singers like Rob Rock, Russell Allen, Roy Khan, Lance King, David Readman, Tony Harnell etc. When you are dealing with 21st century melodic metal, it is best to leave 70's legends like Coverdale (sic) back in the past. Though his superb band Masterplan is where his energies are mainly focused, Jorn has still found the time and effort to pump out a fistful of tunes that'll keep your attention close at hand. A great lineup of musicians join the Norwegian vocal powerhouse, namely: Tore Moren (Rain, Arcturus), Jorn Viggo Lofstad (Pagans Mind), Don Airey (Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne), Morty Black (TNT, Vagabond) and Willy Bendiksen (The Snakes, Wild Willy's Men). Lets rip into it..

The Songs
We get ten tracks, and life starts off with 'We Brought The Angels Down'. A half-paced tempo that broods rather than slaughters.. which is probably a good thing. Not so messy otherwise! Despite the title 'Blacksong' is big on melody and chugs away with self-belief. Things get heated and excitable on 'Stormcrow', the faster pace and all-round heavier riffing an absolute delight. So far the album highlight. With 'End Of Time', a story of the future is told. I wonder if Pagans Mind's Lofstad had anything to do with this track, considering that bands penchant for writing futuristic material. The band take a metallized but bluesier axe-handle to 'Duke Of Love', something that Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society would be comfortable playing. Taking time out with the acoustic intro smoulder is 'Burning Chains'. A fantastic track, which settles on a seventies groove that a few fiery solos can ride over the top of. More OTT riffing can be heard on 'After The Dying', the verses digressing to an industrial like hardness, the tempo subdued, until the half way-point then the brakes are released, and the track races ahead to the finish line! Excuse the pun, but 'Midnight Madness' has a few dark overtones - musical and lyrical. Much more enlightening is a cover of Thin Lizzy's 'Are You Ready'. A racy version on a par with the one I am familiar with (1978's 'Live And Dangerous' album). Jorn does Phil Lynott proud on this one! The album closer 'Starfire' is rebadged again, taken from his 2000 CD of the same name. This time, the track is given new life and renewed energy, particularly from the axe-duo of Moren and Lofstad, some of those familiar Pagans Mind guitar sorties making a welcome return courtesy of Lofstad.

In Summary
I could end up playing this album over and over for a few weeks, but I guess my schedule means that I have to review a ton of other stuff too, so 'The Duke' is gonna have to compete for air-time. A good album nonetheless, probably not his definitive material by any means (fans of Masterplan would no doubt agree with that!), and I'm certain that once he finds the right mix (songs, lyrics, musicians, producer), then a top-notch solo album will be birthed in the near future. In the meantime, 'The Duke' is a well-earned respite for those waiting for the next Masterplan album, or that aforementioned future 'classic' solo album that is just itching to be released by Mr Lande.. we hope.

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