Swing Of Death
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Norwegian rock stars, singer Jorn Lande and guitarist Trond Holter (aka Teeny of WIG WAM), have created a new rock opera/concept album about the life of Count Vlad the III, Prince of Wallachia, widely known as Vlad, The Impaler or by his patronymic name Vlad Dracul(a). The whole story explores the inner struggle inside the multifaceted and engorging character that this mysterious 15th century personality was, while also taking into account some of the metaphysical aspects that passed into literature, forming the whole basis of the vampire mythos. And of course, the story is backed by an astounding hard rock/heavy metal sound!
Top customer reviews
I am happy to say, he's found it. Just three months after the better-than-expected fourth Allen/Lande album, Jorn has teamed with Trond Holter (also the guitarist in Jorn's solo band) to release 'Dracula: Swing of Death.' As the name of the project suggests, this is a concept album about Dracula and his pursuit of a woman who is less than thrilled with it all. I can only guess as to why this is not a Jorn solo album, but I hope it's not because the sound isn't "the Jorn sound," because that sound has gotten old. This, though . . . this is fresh. It sounds like Jorn is having fun again. It is by far the most impressive and versatile vocal performance he's recorded since his guest spots on Avantasia's Scarecrow trilogy.
Not only is his voice sounding inspired, the music is, too. The songs offer a wide variety of sounds and styles, reminiscent of Jorn's earlier solo work when he was a bit more experimental. This is a nice change of pace from the doomy, plodding songs on his last two albums. I don't know how much of the change is to be attributed to Trond Holter or the subject matter. Holter cowrote most of the songs on 'Traveller' as well, so maybe he was given more freedom here? Not sure. If so, I hope he gets that kind of leeway on the next Jorn solo album. Whatever the reason, this is simply an enjoyable album from start to finish. The presence of a guest lead/duet vocalist on several of the tracks makes for a refreshing change, too. I don't know who Lena Fløitmoen is, but she has a powerful voice and holds her own just fine next to Jorn, and that's saying something. I would love to hear more from her.
If you like Jorn, this is a must buy, in my opinion, especially if -- like me -- you've been a bit disappointed with his solo output over the last few years. If you have no idea who Jorn is but like metal and stories about vampires, you should check this out. Even if you don't like vampires, you should still check it out. Although it is a concept album, the songs can be enjoyed on their own merits, and the vocals are a tour de force.
Why only four stars, then? Simply because it's not up to the same level of brilliance as some of his earlier output, such as 'Lonely are the Brave,' 'Aeronautics' (Masterplan), or 'Burn the Sun' (Ark), but few things are. This is a solid, refreshing, and fun release, and there's nothing wrong with that. Not at all.
The music on Dracula Swing of Death is incredibly varied, fluctuating back and forth between theatrical and metal- and the contrasting sounds compliment each other much better than one might think. While I tend to give high scores to the music I review (why waste my time listening to and reviewing music I don't enjoy), I would give this album more than 5 stars if I could.
DSOD is a cut above the traditional hard rock album: I read an online review that said the album took more than 3 years to make, and it shows in the final result. This album is a must own for lovers of guitar centric hard rock / metal- especially if you also happen to be a fan of all things Dracula.
I don't considered any of Jorn Lande's albums to be particularly well mastered, but this one is clearly worse, in my opinion.
Audiophile grumblings aside, it's a musical tour de force. Very enjoyable.