Massive-lunged Norwegian vocalist Jorn Lande recently released two albums on the same day: The Gathering (a collection of songs from his pre-Masterplan days) and Unlocking the Past (10 classic-rock covers). Considering the albums' themes and contents, I may never know why these two titles weren't reversed. But I do know this: If you have even the slightest tendencies toward heavy and bombastic hard rock, you'll want to hear these discs.
Listeners familiar with Jorn's work and flair for over-the-top delivery will know what to expect with the songs on Unlocking the Past, which include tracks by Whitesnake ("Fool For Your Loving"), Deep Purple ("Burn"), Rainbow ("Kill the King"), Thin Lizzy ("Cold Sweat") and Black Sabbath ("Lonely Is The Word/Letters From Earth"). Jorn makes all of them his own, thanks in no small part to his voice sounding like a muscular mix of Ronnie James Dio, David Coverdale and Phil Lynott in their prime. But the real surprise is the man's unexpectedly tender take on Bad Company's "Feel Like Making Love" and the fun vibe he generates on Kiss' "Naked City," from the unheralded Unmasked album. City Boy's "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" is an AOR-friendly leftover from Jorn's 2000 debut, Starfire, and the version of the Michael Schenker Group's "On and On" was originally slated to appear on an aborted covers album by Millenium (another band, along with Ark, Jorn once fronted).
Unlocking the Past is by no means essential – it's a covers album, after all. But Jorn junkies will enjoy hearing the man's take on familiar and not-so-familiar songs originally performed by some of classic rock's most enduring artists.
1) On and On
2) Fool For Your Loving
3) Cold Sweat
4) Lonely Is the Word/Letters From Earth
6) Feel Like Making Love
7) Kill the King
8) Perfect Strangers
9) Naked City
10) The Day the Earth Caught Fire