Jorn: Out To Every Nation (AFM, 2004) reviewed by: Vinaya Saksena
1. Young Forever 2. Out To Every Nation 3. Something Real 4. Living With Wolves 5. Vision Eyes 6. One Day We Will Put Out The Sun 7. Behind The Clown 8. Rock Spirit 9. Through Day And Night 10. When Angel Wings Were White
Honestly, I don’t know how the man does it. Year after year, often with multiple projects in the works, Norwegian vocalist extraordinaire Jorn Lande manages to crank out album after quality album, with almost no signs of creative fatigue, song dry-up or duff tracks to be found amongst his product. Really, it leaves one wondering how he does it, and how much longer can he keep it up. Jorn’s debut solo album, Worldchanger, set such ridiculously high standards of quality and artistry, one could understandably think it a fluke, even for him. So it is with great pleasure that I inform you he has done it again!
What makes Out To Every Nation seem even more impressive is that neither a label change (from Frontiers to AFM) nor an entirely new band (which, by the way, includes HammerFall’s Magnus Rosen on bass) have diminished Jorn’s work one iota. And although I didn’t warm to this one quite as quickly as Worldchanger (the darker, grungier guitar tone was admittedly a bit of a turnoff at first), it manages to uphold that album’s quality standards quite well. If anything, Out To Every Nation comes across as a bit more urgent and guitar heavy than its predecessor, as evidenced on the insistent, almost punk rock-like abandon of lead cut “Young Forever.”
From there on, the quality level shoots way up and scarcely wanes, save for a barely noticeable lull on “Living With Wolves,” which nevertheless sports a pretty neat arrangement. Vocally, Lande is in his usual commanding form, and the new lineup does the Jorn band name proud, especially guitarist Jorn Viggo Lofstad, who brings an impressive bag of tricks to the table, with lots of traditional but cliche-free riffs, neat bluesy fills and some brilliant soloing (see the lead break on “Vision Eyes”... yeow!). Galvanizing riff-rockers like the anthemic “Rock Spirit” and the eerily-titled “One Day We Will Put Out The Sun” sit comfortably alongside engaging mood pieces like “When Angel Wings Were White.” And “Through Day And Night” is an intriguing piece of work, a chunky, funky metal number with a clever, vaguely jazz fusion-esque intro.
Lyrically, Lande’s work is fairly deep and thought-provoking, often addressing the unenviable state the human race has gotten itself into, and contemplating what could possibly save us, never quite coming up with an answer that seems to satisfy him. Mixed into the background of a couple of songs are unsettling sound bytes (including what sounds like a radio newscast) exemplifying the types of problems Lande sees facing mankind. And amongst the these musings on troubled times are bits of what seem to be political commentary (about who and what I can’t be sure, but I have a few ideas...), as heard on the title track (“Who is your ally/ In this world of terrorism”) and more to the point, “Behind the Clown” (“Hey mister president/ Are you proud of your testament/ Is it the truth I see/ Are you blinding me...”).
In short, Jorn has produced another album of unassailable quality, with enough attention paid to all aspects of the music (composition, musicianship, lyrics, etc.) to make it enjoyable and worthy of respect on many levels.
Note: CD copies of this album include a music video for “Living With Wolves,” not the album’s best track by any means, but a decent indicator of its overall quality.
2nd Note: Jorn Lande also sings for Masterplan.
--Vinaya Saksena 06.28.04
About this Writer: Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.
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