Jorn Lande & Trond Holter - Dracula - Swing Of Death

Jorn Lande & Trond Holter - Dracula - Swing Of Death

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(CD, Frontiers, 2015)

I have no idea how he does it, but Jorn Lande is always busy either with his solo band or with several projects he's working on (ALLEN/LANDE comes to mind for example). This time the super-talented and what I (still) believe underrated singer teamed up with the WIG WAM guitarist Trond Holter (aka Teeny) and created a Rock opera entitled “Dracula - Swing Of Death”. The concept obviously deals with Vlad Tepes who is well-known as the person behind the Vampire mythos. Cheesy you may be thinking and you would be right, if the two gentlemen had approached the subject under the pathetic teenager/super-sexy vampire (sorry, “Twilight” fans). Instead of doing this, the concept of this album follows the Bram Stoker story and that is way better than otherwise. So, let’s press the 'play' button and start watching... I meant listening...

The album opener with “Hands Of Your God” is impressive to say the least as it lifts the curtain of the story with the amount of evilness, blackness and hatred one would expect from a person who was deeply betrayed by his god. Jorn delivers the vocal goods at ease but if you have been following his doings, then this should be no news at all. The guitar work fits perfectly the mid-tempo groove, mixing heaviness and melody to such an extent that the music feels like a product of a regular band and not of a collaboration. Based on the experience of both musicians, this should be expected, but really it’s neither the time nor the place to mention how many super-groups have miserably failed. Anyway, “Walking On Water” comes to underline the term 'Rock Opera' that brands this release with pompous orchestration and several layers, building the perfect surroundings for the massive and most expressional voice. And this is why the song will strongly remind you of Jorn’s solo works or even his MASTERPLAN days - in other words it’s great. Ok, “Swing Of Death” may be too happy for me but I will let it pass because after all this is a Rock Opera and, in fact, you can trace a TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA before enjoying to the fullest the Celtic melodic and catchy break. This happiness is perfectly counter-balanced with the soaked in darkness tunes as it happens in the magnificent “Masquerade Ball” (embrace the pain in Jorn’s voice as he screams Minaaaa) or the almost AOR groovy “Into The Dark” (blame the killer guitar groove for this) that is, by the way, one of the four duets with Lena Fløitmoen Børresen. Believe it or not, there is an almost modern touch in this Rock Opera and to be specific in the instrumental “True Love Through” during which Trond Holter steps on the limelight and lets his guitar do the rest of the talking with multiple layers, a foot-tapping rhythm to-die-for and an even better faster solo part. In pretty much same modern wavelength is “Under The Gun” (another duet) where the word 'catchy' is written with bold letters and then it’s highlight with the brightest colors as the perfect closer of such a hearty project. Just wait until the multi-singing part, and let me know if you can resist to at least hum along this sticky as super-clue melody.

Being a huge Jorn Lande fan, I wasn’t expecting something less than super. Still, the possibility failure when dealing with super-groups is really high but here the chemistry between Jorn and Trond is a recipe for success, so I’m already hoping for another Rock Opera with a different subject. I guess getting this Rock opera on this side of the pond would be daydreaming, right?

8/10 


Links:

www.Facebook.com/OfficialDracula


Tracklist:

01. Hands Of Your God
02. Walking On Water
03. Swing Of Death
04. Masquerade Ball
05. Save Me
06. River Of Tears
07. Queen Of The Dead
08. Into The Dark
09. True Love Through Blood
10. Under The Gun


Lineup:

Jorn Lande - Lead Vocals
Trond Holter - Guitar
Bernt Jansen - Bass
Per Morten Bergseth - Drums
Lena Fløitmoen Børresen - Duet vocals on “Under The Gun”, “Into The Dark”, “Save Me” and “River Of Tears”