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Saturday, 2 June 2012

Reviews: Jorn, Howlin Rain, Red White & Blues

Jorn: Bring Heavy Rock To The World (Frontiers)

'The Duke' has returned in fine form with his brand of heavy rock dosed with metal. After his previous album Dio which was a tribute to the great man he has obviously taken some of his cues with the intro piece referencing the Ronnie at his most introspective and sets up the title track brilliantly which has to be the companion piece to Rock N Roll Children with its mid-paced relentless riff. He has also added a bit of prog to the proceedings with the 8 minute A Thousand Cuts. This is Jorn Lande doing what he does best and his vocals are excellent and the backing band he has assembled are also very good contributing greatly to album as does Tommy Hansen's production which is crisp and modern. This album has a large scope of influences meaning that Lande has adequate room to flex his vocal muscles. There are two covers on the album one is Ride Like The Wind which sounds almost identical to the Saxon version of the song and the other is a hard rock version of Time To Be King from Lande's other band Masterplan. One of these would have been enough not both. However that minor gripe aside, this another great album form one of heavy rocks best (and most in demand) vocalists. 8/10 

Howlin Rain: The Russian Wilds (American Recordings)

This is Howlin Rain's third album and it's a corker. Howlin Rain are the all of the band from late 60's early 70's San Francisco (which is where the band hail from) rolled into one neat package. They play heavy blues, soaked in psychedelia and some folk. The album is 11 sprawling tracks all which are filled with reverb drenched guitars with some superb soloing and lots of Hammond organ. The drums are jazz-influenced with offbeat time signature and brushes being the norm. The bass is funky and backs the band well. The opening track Self Made Man is the best introduction to the band with the rest of the album following on in blues rock trip. This is a great album harking back to when the San Francisco music scene was at its peak. Well worth tracking down. 8/10  

Red, White & Blues: Shine (Self-released)

Formed by Matti Alfonzetti (bass and vocals) and Myke Gray (Guitars) Red, White & Blues are a heavy rock band in the vein of Whitesnake, Van Halen, Thunder and (Myke Gray's previous band) Skin. Unlike Skin this band are (as the title suggests) more blues based and opening with Stand Up For Rock & Roll which immediately shows the bands hand with some glorious hard rock riffage and melodic soloing. The rest of the album has a similar vein mixing between, big, balls out hard rocker and great soaring ballads. The album weighs in at 14 tracks but with stormers such as Let it Shine, Red, White & Blues, Girls And Guitars and The Road To Hell there is not a weak track. Gray's guitar playing is excellent and Alfonzetti's voice is gravelly and powerful in the rockers and soulful in the ballads. In the ballad sections Long Way From Home has all the lyrical clich├ęs of Mr Coverdale and co. and Counts For Nothing is very similar to In My Time Of Dying. This is a fantastic hard rock album by two men who are very experienced at what they do. A future classic album is born! 9/10

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