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Jorn - Unlocking the Past

Label: Frontiers
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Rich Catino


Whenever an artist attempts to cover another artist they always get a fair share of criticism regardless of it being an excellent or shitty execution. I think if you are going to do a cover song there are two ways to approach doing it. One, you do a straight cover without changing anything about the original's arrangement or sound. So if you are going to do a hard rock or heavy metal song keep it true to the original, and if you don't have enough balls to do it given the style of music you play, then don't attempt it because us diehards will crucify you. Two, if you must do your own interpretation, then change it completely instead of attempting to do a respectful job of sticking to the original while reworking and butchering it in the process.

 

Jorn has made the decision of picking option number one with this album which comprises of nothing but covers. Jorn has respectfully stayed very true to the original arrangements of these songs while adding just a touch of his own style without altering the tracks original spirit. Jorn also has picked artists to cover in which his voice already has a similar tone to like David Coverdale, Ian Gillan, and Ronnie James Dio, and in the process he has delivered some versions fans of their originals will surely enjoy. I know I did and I'm a stickler for if your gonna cover or remake something make sure its either as good or better than its original. Here is what Jorn chose to tackle...

'On and On' - Originally done by the Michael Schenker Group (which at the time called McAuley Schenker Group given the last name of the band's singer) this cover was recorded during Jorn's time with the band Millennium which featured Ralf Santolla (Iced Earth,Deicide) on guitar. A solid hard rockin cover very true to its melodic AOR original.

'Fool for Your Loving' - This Whitesnake classic found on the "Ready An Willing" album, has a similar bluesy feel to the original with fuller guitars. Jorn chose to favor the 1980 arrangement as opposed to the sleeker version found on the snakes 1989 release "Slip of the Tongue". Jorn's voice already has a lot of similarity to David Coverdale so this was a great choice and an easy execution for him.

'Cold Sweat' - Done by Thin Lizzy in 1983 found on the album "Thunder and Lightning", this crunchy hard rocker very close to its original with the guitars keeping up with John Sykes outstanding playing, even including the little squeals that are part of Sykes trademark sound. Again Jorn has picked a singer, Phil Lynot, that has a bluesy soulful sounding tone and Jorn pays his respects to the late singer/bassist delivering a solid rendition.

'Lonely Is The Word/Letters From Earth' - I love that Jorn picked Dio era Black Sabbath to cover. Here we get a medley of two songs composed as one. 'Lonely' is found on the 1980 classic "Heaven and Hell" and 'Letters' from 1992's "Dehumanizer". Jorn's voice compliments Ronnie Dios nicely and both songs written as one arrangement works great.

'Burn' - In this rousing rendition of the Deep Purple classic, Jorn picks yet another classic sung by David Coverdale and his band kick up the originals energy by several notches complete with the guitar and keyboard harmonizing solos.

'Feel like Making Love' - Taking on Roger Waters Bad Company was a nice choice for this feel good classic and Jorn delivers a good rendition. A harder interpretation yet still as home grown in its vibe as the original. It gets a nice kick in the butt at the end. Like I said in my opening statement, true to the original arrangement with a little bit of a twist.

'Kill the King' - Here we get another high octane hard rocker originally done by Dio era Rainbow. All the driving guitars, pounding drums, smoking leads and keyboards are here.

'Perfect Strangers' - Deep Purple's second appearance, Ian Gillan era, and this is easily my favorite track on the album. Very true to the original arrangement yet heavier with Jorn's voice serving as an excellent compliment to Ian's original recording (could even be his brother given his delivery). I love Jorn's choice in the keyboard's tone as it serves an outstanding deep bottom end as well as an accentuating top coat. Purple's original was a hard rocker, now it has a bit more of a metallic edge with heavier guitar riffs, appropriately placed dive bombs, and the trademark lead riff. The ending is really cool too as it takes a slight progressive turn.

'Naked City' - Interesting that Jorn picked a Kiss song off the "Unmasked" album, I must tip my hat to him on this one. Granted "Unmasked" not one of Kiss' best, but it has a couple good tracks on it regardless. Originally sung by Paul Stanley, Jorn keeps to the originals catchy chorus without the watered down guitars.

'The Day the Earth Caught Fire' - Now I know very little about this song and did some research online to boot. I know this was a movie and done originally by a punk band called Balzac, but this version is not punk.

 
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