Lande & Holter DRACULA - Swing Of Death (Review)

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Holter & Lande
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Melodic Hard Rock
It’s a “concept” album, so it automatically gets the “artistic license” accreditation allowing the artist to express themselves a little “differently” than expected. And while that’s certainly the case for this little outing. Crafted by former Wig Wam guitarist Trond Holter along with Jorn Lande, as far as concept albums go (apart from a few quirks), it’s pretty straight forward melodic hard rock.
It’s always great to hear Jorn at full force working with a different writer, as he stretches those vocals beyond the formula his solo albums have become.
He sounds fantastic on this album, utilizing his menacing voice to the power needed on such a concept dealing with the life of 15th century resident Count Vlad the III
, Prince of Wallachia, widely known as Vlad, The Impaler or by his patronymic name Vlad Dracul(a).
Jorn takes the lead role, singing with his usual power and intimidating snarl, even if he does look constipated throughout the video for the song Walking On Water – which for the record is one of the best lead vocals I’ve heard from Jorn in years.
The opening track Hands of Your God is also a belter, an imposing moody track that smolders along with Jorn in full control.
Swing Of Death is one of the few left turns, the quirky, burlesque, almost pop sounding song that has a very 80s commercial chorus. The metal ballad Save Me has a similar feel, Jorn joined on vocals by the heroine of the story, Norwegian singer Lena Fløitmoen (representing Mina/Lucy from the Bram Stoker book).
The straight forward and catchy rocker River Of Tears has a strong Wig Wam vibe running through it.
The epic Queen of the Dead has some brilliant guitar work, especially as the song explodes into the final minutes.
Under the Gun closes out the album with a pretty commercial, yet heavy statement, plenty of guitars and vocals from both singers.

Good stuff for all fans of Jorn. The album has that certain Wig Wam flair also, while employing a darker and heavier delivery.
The subject matter could have resulted in a very self-indulgent piece of music, but this little outing is surprisingly commercial and accessible for all.
Well produced, great vocals from Jorn and some likable songs rounding out a solid release.



Put simply, this is a really BORING album.  "Save Me" was the only song I found myself looking forward to after the first listen, and after a few spins, even that put me to sleep.  Technically competent musicianship and singing, but nothing to sink my teeth into (pun fully intended) songwise.