Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Jorn ~ Dio

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: tribute, hard rock, classic rock, heavy metal
Label: Frontiers
Year: 2010
Home: Norway

Members: Jorn Lande ~ vocals/10 string bass
Tor Erik Myhre, Tore Moren, Jörn Viggo Lofstad, Igor Gianola ~ guitars
Ronny Tegner, Tommy Hansen ~ keyboards
Espen Mjøen, Steinar Krokmo, Nick Angileri ~ bass
Stian Kristoffersen, Willy Bendiksen ~ drums


There is no denying the influence of late frontman Ronnie James Dio from Elf to Rainbow to Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell to his own group Dio. His voice, ubiquitous hand gestures, his elfish yet powerful stature & his songwriting has contributed much to heavy metal over the past decades. Where his legacy will go in the future is unknown, as really his influence is based on himself & not an array of songs like Lennon/McCartney. Consider that Dio only had a few certified hits early in its career; while RJD's time in Black Sabbath had its shares of musical stumbles even if many fans prefer him over Ozzy; few go around singing Rainbow songs, which is often just as much about guitarist Richie Blackmore than it is RJD; & as for Elf or Heaven & Hell ...? How will we remember RJD? The future it almost doesn't matter as right now RJD is the great icon whose voice can send chivers down your spine. Some of his ex-Dio bandmates have even toured as Dio's Disciples performing his songs & supposedly some unfinished material was handed over to the band by his widow. Books have been written & more are on the way. Right now, that's not a problem. Right now, there can not be enough tribute to the late singer. He deserves the honors. Thankfully, he got many in his lifetime. He died knowing where he stood in the metal pantheon. While the future may not necessarily dwell on him as we do now, it is only the fault of hindsight for we can still see the beginning of heavy metal not so many decades ago & that its just as much the personalities as anything else that has created the world & sound of metal. Where RJD might have lacked a hit he made up for it with an epic, literally, writing style that helped inspire many others that would have hits. He gave to heavy metal something that went beyond just some good songs - he gave a vision ... he also gave us the devil sign, regardless of what Gene Simmons claims. Everyone has to invent something ... yet RJD still gave the claim to his grandmother ... so there, Gene. Actually, my Italian father-in-law likes to do it to the tv so the football team he doesn't like will lose. I don't know if its works. Metal singer Jorn Lande, going simply by Jorn in his solo career, has done something many musicians might not dare to do - he released a tribute album covering RJD's songs. Who would have the courage to step into RJD's shoes, particularly so soon after his death? More importantly, who would dare? The irony is that the album was under construction before RJD's death, it became a tribute to the deceased by accident not intention. But, regardless of timing, who would think they could give justice to RJD's voice & an attempt a whole album to prove their skill? Well, Jorn is a pretty talented & experienced guy who can handle everything from blues to metal to pop. More importantly, he knows he's not RJD & he knows what he can do & shouldn't do & what he can do. This translates into not imitating RJD but trying to instead find the soul of RJD. & he indeed finds that soul & creates a pot of gold & a worthly tribute. Dio collects together the Dio songs: "Invisible", "Shame On The Night", "Push" "Stand Up & Shout", "Lord Of The Last Day", "Night People", "Sacred Heart", "Sunset Superman", "Lonely Is The Word - Letters From Earth", "Straight Through The Heart", "Kill The King" & "Don't Talk To Stangers" plus Jorn's original composition "Song For Ronnie James". Yes, one will notice my earlier thesis in play here - not a lot of hits that people may immediately know. Jorn has actually deliberately aimed for a collection that goes for the lesser known parts of RJD's pen & not the big hits. It would be nice to hear "Holy Diver", but its covered by every metal band in every rehearsal studio every where - I speak from experience playing the song in bands. Choosing lesser known songs might take some pressure off of Jorn's shoulders. We may not recognize the Black Sabbath song "Night People" so we don't critique it as harshly. On the other hand, we're liable to realize that RJD was more than just the hits. The hits were a side-effects of a very full career & have more to do with marketing than RJD's creativity. But, even if we choose to critique Dio harshly, Jorn has created a fine tribute that feels like RJD. It doesn't necessarily sound like him, he doesn't have RJD's vocals, but Jorn doesn't sound like he's overly straining to sound like someone's he's not. He's just having a good time. & one gets the feeling that RJD would approve of the effort ... maybe even go "I like those songs ... oh wait, they're mine!"

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