Jorn Lande has been considered one of the premier voices of rock for quite a number of years by now, and with the release of Spirit Black he delivers another piece of evidence in favour of this claim. Nine tracks of classic hard rock with Jorn’s trademark vocals containing equal measures of Ronnie James Dio and David Coverdale as well as his very own swagger and groove – just as we have come to expect.
On the one hand, this album probably won’t disappoint many of his fans. The production (courtesy of our very own Tommy Hansen at Jailhouse) is still superb and supports the heavy guitars and Jorn’s powerful singing perfectly. On the other hand, there really isn’t anything new under the sun. Although tracks like ‘Spirit Black’, ‘Road of the Cross’, ‘The Last Revolution’ and ‘I Walk Alone’ are very good tracks (with great performances by Mr Lande), they all sound just a little bit too much like something we’ve heard before on his previous solo efforts, particularly The Duke and Lonely Are the Brave.
To me, Jorn Lande is at his very best when he takes part in band constellations with other skilled musicians – other egos so to speak – that can offer input and pull the project in new and interesting directions. His efforts with Masterplan, Millenium and even Ark offered more variation and music that wasn’t necessarily created to showcase the talents of front man Lande.
As said, this album is a fine piece of work in its own right and will most likely please the great majority of fans. I, however, will be looking much more forward to seeing which band or project he will pop up in than hearing his next solo album. I already have a pretty good idea how that one will sound.