Jorn - Life on Death Road

Jorn Life on Death Road cover
Jorn
Life on Death Road
Frontiers Music Srl
2017
7
Average: 5.8 (12 votes)
Jorn has been unstoppable in releasing solo releases, with this being his eighth or so album of original material, in his near two decade “solo” career… which boasts some eighteen or so releases (including live, remix, and several cover ones). After parting ways with the “Dracula” project, unceremoniously or not, is anyone’s guess… Lande seems to be back into action, securing the services of a singerless version of the latest reincarnation of Voodoo Circle – Alex Beyrodt’s band, where he’s responsible for guitars along with his band mate and bassist-producer Matt Sinner, with Alessandro Del Vecchio, the much in demand Italian keyboardist and Francesco Jovino on drums… an idea that seems to have come from the depths of the dungeons of Frontiers castle, in exotic Romani. Sorry Naples probably in a boring office too, but I digress…
 
Surprisingly, the band transfusion work and without missing a beat, Jorn his newest eponymous band, are back in the business of rocking with an album that’s different but the same… obviously his voice, would and will always be a focal point… the more ferocious Dio meets Coverdale tone is brilliant as ever, but the songs are probably a tad heavier a tad darker, I guess, which might be due to the different collaborators…
 
The title track that opens the album has several nice moments, but is probably a bit a bit too long for achieving maximum impact and the amount of compression is probably a little too much; still it’s a breath of fresh air in its own way.
 
Hammered to the Cross (The Business)” is a condemnation of the “music business”, which is odd – as anything could be, because of the subject matter; it’s true however that this difficult market has become extremely cutthroat and terrible in recent years while hardly ever recognizing talent. I can still remember a booker’s quote… I don’t care about music, I care about ticket sales!
 
Love is the Remedy” is quite ferocious, but its bridge and chorus are a lot more temperate to the point that they contrast nicely, so nicely as to really stand out and the solo in there is pretty awesome.
 
Dreamwalker” is slower, but just as heavy, making it quite interesting.
 
Fire to the Sun” is similarly heavy, but more hard rock oriented and it’s a single, so as you may gather it’s a bit more “direct”… well talking about racing in metaphors…
 
“Insoluble Maze (Dreams in the Blindness)” gets a nice atmosphere going on, but while Jorn does it justice, it really lacks a proper convincing chorus; several times it builds up, only to finish in a bit of an extended bridge instead of a proper chorus. It works to some level, but really it’s the cling in the norseman’s armor and a pity really, since there are nifty ideas, a nice change in the middle and a decent lead as well.
 
“I Walked Away” is a slower but quite bleak sounding blues influenced number that has a pretty dynamic almost metal climax early on with more intense vocal and drumming, with only the guitar not quite rising to the occasion with the same fervor; in fact, the whole thing actually reverts back to proper hard rock a bit later, only metallizing during the chorus a bit…
 
“The Slippery Slope (Hangman’s Rope)” is a melodic metal number, with all the trademarks of what you’d expect from a Jorn song, sufficing but not exceeding expectations.
 
“Devil You Can Drive” is another mishmash of cliché lyrics that has its moments, but overall sounds a bit “tired”…
 
“The Optimist” musically is a ballad and despite its dynamics, it doesn’t go into screaming bar once after the solo at its conclusion; thankfully not being predictable as most power ballads tend to be… it’s a nice enough moment on the album.
 
“Man of the 80s” is another cliché ridden anthem, where a guy who didn’t make it until – until after the turn of the millennium – seems to reminisce about the golden days of his youth; obviously, in the 80s with nostalgia! it’s non apologetic, at least not much, so it’s fathomable, unlike all those “metal-this” and “metal that” toe curling “hymns” by a scene so stale that keeps repeating the same bands over and over at festivals and only releases “80s” albums and maybe  “90s” even if the music is shitty… niches and clichés over actual music… granted; I am a kid of the 80s, I don’t mind the date on the calendar…
 
Lastly, “Blackbirds” is a more up-tempo number, a neat way to end the album on a relative high note…
 
Nice to see Jorn back on track with his “solo” stuff after the “dichotomy” during the Dracula album. Even with a different band, he manages to stay true to his style and it’s probably a bit better for the Voodoo Circle guys, who seemed a little too busy to maintain quality control and had the project slip away after a much promising debut; not a masterpiece, but not a disaster-piece either… somewhere in the middle, where black ravens fly and sometimes sing…

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