Norwegian melodic hard rock vocalist Jorn Lande has already enjoyed great success selling over 1.5 million records as a solo artist or contributing to various bands or projects including Masterplan, Millenium and Ken Hensley. ‘Dukebox’ is a greatest hits compilation that spans his 8 solo studio albums dating back to 2000. Based on his early career, which was spent on the influential Frontiers label, I was clearly looking forward to hearing this album, particularly as it claimed to feature 16 of his best tracks. Unfortunately the strong album I anticipated turned out to be quite disappointing with the unremarkable Dio-esque opener ‘Man of the Dark’ setting the tone for much of ‘Dukebox’. ‘Starfire’, the title track off his first album thankfully is really impressive and comfortably the album highlight. This track, which features Jorn adopting a vocal style very much like classic David Coverdale, starts out as a ballad then develops into a hard rocker with an epic feel and a memorable chorus. ‘Young Forever’ is a return to the one-paced ponderous and uninteresting style evident on the opener. Sadly, the album continually fails to ignite or excite, which is most noticeable on tracks such as the heavily Dio influenced ‘Soul of the Wind’, ‘Living with Wolves’, ‘Tungur Kanvir’ and ‘The Inner Road’. Better but not brilliant are ‘War of the World’ and ‘Sunset Station’ which do at least possess catchy choruses with the former featuring an excellent lead guitar outro. The album finishes on a real low as the final track, the Whitesnake influenced ‘Duke of Love’ is dull and lacklustre. Listening to ‘Dukebox’, which clocks in at over 75 minutes, became an endurance test and I found it difficult stopping myself from yawning at much of Jorn's music. The few highlights end up getting lost amongst the mediocrity that dominates this album. If ‘Dukebox’ does showcase Jorn's finest material then it certainly hasn't inspired me to check out the rest of his back catalogue. I find it so frustrating to hear a vocalist with such a good voice wasting his talent on so much really average material, which also suffers by featuring such inept Dio inspired lyrics with references to demons, children and rainbows. Yawn and despair once again. Melodic hard rock has been and should be so much better than this.
Review by Dave Crewe
1st Sept 2009
1) Man of the Dark; 2) Starfire
3) Young Forever; 4) Soul of the Wind
5) Living with Wolves; 6) War of the World
7) Sunset Station
8) We Brought the Angels Down
9) The Inner Road
10) Tungur Knivur; 11) Stormcrow
12) Out To Every Nation
13) Lonely are the Brave
15) Shadow People
16) Duke of Love
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"... I find it so frustrating to hear a vocalist with such a good voice wasting his talent on so much really average material, which also suffers by featuring such inept Dio inspired lyrics with references to demons, children and rainbows."