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Russell Allen / Jorn Lande The Battle Frontiers Records
FRCD257
Produced By: Anders Theander & Magnus Karlsson

Running Time: 60.39

Release Date: September 19

Released:

Musical Style: Melodic Metal

Links: Frontiers Records
98%
Songs: 98%
Sound: 97%
Jorn vs Jorn for album of the year? It might just be. Jorn Lande kicked our asses with the second Masterplan album, which was released officially in January. For me that's been one of the major highlights of the year to date and now, with the last quarter of 2005 closing in, Jorn is back to plant another large boot into my nether-regions.
Joining Jorn on this album is Symphony X vocalist Russell Allen. Providing the musical muscle is Magnus Karlsson last seen guiding the Starbreaker release to fame and of course remaining in charge of his main gig Last Tribe.
Responsible for the bombastic guitars, bass and keyboards, Magnus plays his absolute ass off here and helps producer Anders Theander carefully mix all these parts together.
That the album sounds utterly fabulous should not be under appreciated. The production and mix would have been extremely challenging, given that one individual played three main instruments and then two different lead vocals were required to be blended together.
First impressions led me to believe this was Jorn's show. His voice seemed everywhere and it's hard for any singer compete with the number 1 metal vocalist in the world.
Once you recover from the melodic metal onslaught and get over the fact that every single song has a killer chorus (and finish singing those choruses), you get the chance to better understand the album and really sit and pay attention to its individual parts.
It is then that you realize that Russell Allen's contribution is equal to Jorn's and just as important. While Jorn takes the higher register and some of the more noticeable soaring melodies, Russell's deeper and grittier vocals provide the foundation of the songs and the necessary bass tone to make these all high-impact songs.
Aside from the insane vocals, the shining highlight of this album are the songs themselves. Written entirely by Karlsson, the Swede must surely now rate as one of this scene's most inspired individuals.
The Battle contains some of the best metal choruses ever gathered on one single album. They are so utterly catchy and memorable in a real melodic sense that you can't help but love this album.
While the impact of the powerhouse vocals and the pounding and at times bombastic instrumentation can not be undersold, the songs themselves are so catchy you will find fans of softer melodic rock and even AOR drifting towards purchasing this album.
If I did a track by track, this review would take a week to write. Suffice to say that each and every track on this album has merits and there are no fillers. A definite contender for album of the year, but for different reasons than the Masterplan opus.
There is a certain familiarity between some of the tracks featured, a point also raised on the Starbreaker release but there variety in delivery here is much stronger.
To highlight just a few tracks
The opening anthem Another Battle is everything you could ask of an opening track big, bombastic and anthemic. A moody verse gives way to a monster chorus with both vocalists given room to shine.
Reach A Little Longer is a haunting and moody metal ballad with another monster chorus and some truly outstanding vocals from both gents, but Jorn Lande especially.
Come Alive sees the quality of the album lift even further. The song features a pounding melodic metal riff, which gives way to a surprisingly melodic vocal during the verse followed by a sensational fits-in-the-air chorus, all fuelled by a double kick drum rhythm.
Truth Of Our Time features yet another brilliant bridge / chorus and offers something different again for listeners.
My Own Way is another highlight, with more brain damaging riffs accompanied by thoroughly melodic vocals and a great chorus.
Where Have The Angels Gone continues the brilliance, with a slight slow down in intensity to allow the listener some time regain control of your senses!
The Bottom Line
The pace and energy of The Battle makes for an exhausting listen. The uptempo pace and energetic rhythm, not to mention the engaging choruses has me tapping my feet, singing along, and generally getting totally wound up in the release. Even writing this review is a challenge as I'm completely absorbed in the album this after weeks of solid playback.
The album's very finest moments are probably through the middle section, but it remains consistent throughout.
Essential for all fans of Lande and Allen, but also for anyone that just loves powerful hard rock with a big fat melodic edge. Magnus Karlsson's finest hour to date.
As for the album in general comparison to Aeronautics there are similarities and differences - the recent Masterplan album was more intense and the overall production tighter. It was an album that grew and really made it's mark. It was also a little more geared towards a contemporary metal sound. The Battle is more commercial and a touch more melodic and has some more instantly recognizable choruses. Either way, both are fabulous releases!
Discography / Previously Reviewed
The Battle
Masterplan
Masterplan - Aeronautics

Line Up:
Jorn Lande & Russell Allen: Vocals
Magnus Karlsson: Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Jaime Salazar: Drums

Essential For Fans Of:
Masterplan
Symphony X
Starbreaker
Last Tribe
If you enjoyed this release - also check out:
Masterplan - Aeronautics
Track Listing
Another Battle*
Hunter's Night*
Wish For A Miracle*
Reach A Little Longer*
Come Alive*
Truth of Our Time*
My Own Way*
Ask You Anyway
Silent Rage
Where Have The Angels Gone*
Universe Of Light
The Forgotten Ones
--*Best Tracks


07/02/09: this album rulz! - doIreally@haveto.com
Rating: 100
quote:. While Jorn takes the higher register and some of the more noticeable soaring melodies, Russell's deeper and grittier vocals provide the foundation of the songs and the necessary bass tone to make these all high-impact songs.'

just to add that they have almost the same range,,,and as far as I remember Russell hits E5 on this record, while Jorn reaches 'only' D#5,,,

05/08/07: Metalrob - Metalrob4662@aol.com
Rating: 90
Very good cd...Vocals are awesome, production surperb, Musicians are great..This is a great melodic rock/Metal cd

01/04/07: Phil Stith - cpstith@comcast.net
Rating: 93
I bought this CD purely on the strenght of it's reviews, not knowing exactly what to expect. The first play through, I was left thinking "this is pretty cool, but by no means an 'Album of the year' worthy effort". Now after hearing it about 20 times, I absolutely love it! Magnus played his butt off and the vocals were everything I could hope for. Russel Allen (in my opinion the best rock vocalist in the world) and Jorn Lande (a close second) definitely step out of their normal styles, and create something together that neither could have accomplished solo. Magnus' lyrics are very uplifting, positive message oriented and the choruses very melodic while maintaining all the metal crunch hard rockers are looking for. Not a song here that couldn't be played on any radio station in the US (if only you could find one who WOULD play them) Hats off to these guys, can't wait for the new release this May.

16/06/06: Manos - 1mmarko@otenet.gr
Rating: 72
not the best album in years but surely a good effort and a pleasant cd to listen to. the pruduction is a little overloaded, sometimes you can hear triple rhythm guitars and some solos over, along with 2 voices and keyboards, this is too much.

02/05/06: Brian - titansandbraves@yahoo.com
Rating: 0
I always already a fan of both of these vocalist, so The Battle is a no brainer for me! If you enjoy melodic hard rock then you can't go wrong with The Battle.

11/04/06: CUTTER - cme@thesunsetstation.com
Rating: 100
Just got this and Jorns new solo album THE DUKE, which is brilliant and i find myself listening to this more than THE DUKE. This is SUPER melodic and just grows and grows on you. Some of the guitar work even sounds like Steve Vai in places. I had read all the reviews online stating how good this was but i had no idea until now!!!!!

12/03/06: mark - xena0528@yahoo.com
Rating: 50
i totally agree with joe! i bought this on jap import and it is totaly boring! it sounds like some bad prog. metal band with 2 singers! if i want bad prog. i would listen to dream theater. i punted this thing on ebay and got most of my money back thank god.

22/02/06: Joe - baddebts@aol.com
Rating: 0
maybe I just don't get it ....I picked this CD up after reading Andrews review ....now for a realistic review ..this is nothing more than cliche dribble ...Jorn Lande's voice is OK at best ..this guy has never recorded a decent album ..the songs are nothing more than average (we've heard this all before) nothing original whatsoever ..and these 2 singers (try to tell them apart) are ..c'mon...BORING!!!!!!!!!! give me a break ..

30/01/06: scott d. - mynameisscott74@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
As a big fan of Masterplan and other power metal like blind guardian I set myself up for dissapointment. After three spins I was ready to sell this on ebay. Then I found myself wanting to listen to it again....and again, and again, until I coulnd't get it out of my cd player. I must admit I like a little more edge to my metal, but this is just so good it can't be ignored. The only reason I don't give this a 100 is the edge/passion factor, however there is not one song on this cd that isn't great. Not one!

19/01/06: Zok - micke_016@hotmail.com
Rating: 94
Oh yes this is a superb melodicrock record. Landes voice is as usual amazing. And the songs i toprated, the only complain here is that Landes voice is o much stronger than Allens. Not that Allens voice bad or so. But the songs with Lande is better power in. A must buy it is.

16/01/06: Simon - simon.shorten@environment-agency.gov.uk
Rating: 100
This is the greatest most powerful, uplifting rock album I have ever heard - Its been a long melodic rock wait for such utter perfection. Best album of the millenium

26/12/05: Marcos - marcos@saponaras.com.br
Rating: 100
Shurely , the best hard rock album in the last 10 years!!

Keep rocking !!

Marcos

21/12/05: LEE F - kiamoon22@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
WOT A YEAR 4 SOME FIRST RATE AOR/ROCK ALBUMS ! I DIDNT THINK THINGS COULD GET ANY BETTER MUSIC WISE AFTER LISTENING TO HEARTLANDS MOVE ON,HARTMANN'S OUT IN THE COLD AND PLACE VENDOME ALBUMS BUT THE BATTLE IS JUST AWESOME. I CARNT STOP PLAYING THIS ALBUM AND THE MORE I DO THE BETTER IT GETS, THIS ALBUM AS IT ALL AWESOME GUITARS , FANTASTIC CHORUS'S AND BRILL VOCALS BY ALLEN/LANDE . A BIG THANKS MUST GO TO MAGNUS KARLSSON 4 THIS JEM OF AN ALBUM,I WAS GOING TO SAY 4 ALBUM OF THE YEAR(WHICH IT IS IN MY BOOK) BUT THIS COULD BE 1 OF MY FAV ALBUMS OF ALL TIME SO MY ADVISE IS BUY THIS AWESOME ALBUM

10/12/05: Axe Machine - info@hugomusic.net
Rating: 93
For anyone who heard the Last Tribe or Starbreaker albums, you could have told who wrote the album without even looking at the credits. Magnus Karlsson has one of the most unique sounds in the melodic metal genre, and here his talent is shown in abundance. This is a special album, and is certainly one of the best albums this year. Come Alive and Truth About Our Time are the absolute gems of the album, and while the tracks that Lande and Allen sing alone are good, when they sing together it is even better. I think that perhaps Jorn is the better performer, but let's not take anything away from Russell, who also shines. Another example this year of why Frontiers should keep doing these projects. Place Vendome, Khymera and this all sound like a million bucks. One of the albums of the year - Reccomended!

03/11/05: Lynchomaniac - Lynchomaniac@hotmail.com
Rating: 60
I'm a little disappointed by this one, Yes indeedio we've got great singers - easily erasing all the comptition compared to almost any other singer, setting a standard of their own! But the problem is the vocallines which I find a little bit too obvious, and the same goes for the melodylines on most of the songs! But there's some gold featured here also; My own way, Truth of our time, Come alive and hunters night. But for the first time in many years I'm a bit puzzled by something that Jorn releases, having said that - I still feel that the Norwegain Hardrock/Metal king shows his true vocal potencial here, leaving the great Allen in the dust

25/10/05: juanpedro - jp@binho.es
Rating: 75
Superb musicianship!!
Although I must admit that I prefer the Russell Allen songs, he Jorn songs have a kind of 'happy metal vibe' over them, which bothers me on the Masterplan releases as well.
Good singer, but he does'n do very well for me.
Next time an album with Russell Allen only pleaaaaaase!

25/10/05: dave ford - nuttidave@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: 95
Very. very good, reminds me of a heavy Magnum, good clean sound and lots of lovely hooks. Buy it.

19/10/05: Edu Ruivo - edu@kidrock.com
Rating: 100
I think Andrew described perfectly. This is one of the best metal albums of the decade. Magnus is a fantastic composer and musician, just listen to feel the passion on his music. Jorn and Russell are singing their hearts out on this one. Anyone who likes hard rock should buy this!

18/10/05: ROBBO - robbocrook@aol.com
Rating: 100
Fantastic hard rock from Magnus Karlsson, better than Starbreaker. Jorn Lande is his usual excellent self, and not having heard any Symphony X can only say that Russell Allen has a great voice, very Joe Lynn Turner at times.For fans of Millenium's Hourglass album rather than Masterplan,give it a spin.

11/10/05: Soula Kara - sscorpianss@hotmail.com
Rating: 8
SNAP!!!ITS THE JACK-POT BABYS!!:)
This album is a fricken island!
Just came back 'to earth' today...been in a comatose state (a good one) since my first spin 3 weeks ago.
WELCOME BACK HOME YORN-YOUR ALWAYS GALLANT ALLEN-THANK YOU KARLSSON...remember that name folks.

Peace peoples.

Always laarrvin ya work Andrew!!!

10/10/05: p4!nK - tesudo@telameo.com
Rating: 100
this year's best album so far

10/10/05: Ole Bach - toemrer.ole@get2net.dk
Rating: 95
Great album very strong melodies and Jorn is singing like a dream.

06/10/05: dino - dinno@myway.com
Rating: 95
Great stuff!
Naming the album Jorn-Allen was a marketing trick, Frontiers records know what they are doing, they knew Allen and lande are simply the best vocalists in this genre and that it would be a huge success!
And they are right!!

01/10/05: MIKE - MHBJR@COMCAST.NET
Rating: 99
LANDE+RUSSELL+KARLSSON=AWESOME MELODIC ROCK
IT DOESN'T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS.
DEFINITELY UP THERE FOR ALBUM OF THE YEAR!!!!!!!

30/09/05: Dag H Moldskred - dejen@adsl.no
Rating: 92

Very good melodic metal abum,not my favorite genre as i prefer aor/melodic rock+new american stuff like M20,S Hazel etc but when its done as good as this its great.Amost as good as the new Masterplan wich i think is a little better .

Dag

24/09/05: john - jcrout@bellsouth.net
Rating: 93
this cd is good my favorite hunters nite..

track 2 is one my faves and last track is splendor..

i hear like 3 times due to my ever expanding over 5000 marker cd collection.

i hate most lande stuf due to past with his yngwie episode..
maybe i was wrong lande solo stuff is even good also..

24/09/05: Neil - falkeeins@aol.com
Rating: 90
..no comment on the music as such..agree with all said previously..great stuff apart from the indifferent lyrics - I just find myself wondering why..?!..why the duel vocalists - not familiar with Allen, but to all intents & purposes he sounds very similar to Lande..in fact I prefer some of his contributions here over those of Lande's (never thought I'd say that)..why call the project 'Allen-Lande' when the music, lyrics etc are all from MK, all ...nothing from JL or RA as far as I can see - in fact why does this warrant a separate release when it could have come out as LT or SB, MK's other band/projects ...? Hhhmmnn....

23/09/05: Evandro Souza - evrsouza@gmail.com
Rating: 100
This album is the best of year .. and i dont like much Jorn Lande .. but this CD Allen and Lande put incredible performances, high tpo performances, this CD is one of the best melocic metals Cds ive heard in the last Years ... incredible chorus .. great Guitar work .. just perfect

09/09/05: Tahir Bise - tahirbise@hotmail.com
Rating: 96
Definately one of the best albums of the year..I just leave it in the car cd player..Awesome melodic rock at it's best, from the best vocalists in rock..Jorn is just awesome and Russell compliments on an album that is solid all round..not one filler and the choruses are amazing...this is a must buy for people who appreciate how rock music should be played with power and melody..

03/09/05: W87 - w_12345@hotmail.com
Rating: 93
Superbly solid melodic metal, with an upbeat vibe to really get you bopping. To be honest, having two vocalists is a little redundant - does anyone really think their score would be different if it had just been Jorn Lande on vox?
Magnus Karlsson's songs aren't going to change the world - the guitars share great melodies but are often quite dark and heavy, the opposite to what the rest of the song is. We can probably be thankful for this, as the lyrics do tend to stray into the realms of cheesiness. Yet you'd be hard pressed to find an album as beautifully performed, packaged and presented as this. I challenge you not to feel warm and fuzzy inside as you sing along with Russell and Jorn to the choruses.
I also suggest that this would be essential for fans of Millenium.

03/09/05: Almir Fuschini - milenium@sili.com.br
Rating: 100
Fantastic album!
The best album of the year, no doubt about it.
I'll go a litle further. The best Hard Rock/Melodic Metal album of the last 4 or 5 years.
One of the times that I really agreed completely with Andrew's review.
"Come Alive", "Reach a Little Longer", Where Have The Angels Gone" and my big time favorite "Silent Rage" are my picks.
But is hard to do this in such an incredible cd.
After 3 listenings you'll be singing along, every single song.
In "Come Alive" intro you can hear a little of the Zakk Wilde's style.
The lyrics of "Reach a little Longer" touch you deep. Especially if you'he been for hard times in your life.
"Silent Rage" has some Pink Cream69 in it while the final solo reminds me of Giant's Dan Huff.
If you want to hear a great, great album, this is the one.

01/09/05: Paul - txstorm03@yahoo.com
Rating: 99
Powerful, yet beautifully melodic!! One word comes to mind as I listen to each song: AWESOME!!! Not to be stressed enough, this is a MUST HAVE for anyone that loves great melodic rock! Thank you very much, Andrew, for the heads up on this Godsend!

01/09/05: RockMan - purjfo98@msn.com
Rating: 100
Any fan of melodick hard rock must get this. Great EVERYTHING!

01/09/05: Figge - anderssonfigge@hotmail.com
Rating: 98
Yes! Another masterpiece featuring Jorn Lande! I anticipated this to be good...and my god, it certainly is. It took some time to get into this album though. I even felt slightly disappointed first couple of spins. Not anymore! Advice: Give it several listens before judging.

The vocalists deliver some HUGE vocals and harmonies....some of the best I've heard. Especially on the tracks where they share vocal duties, the choruses are outstanding. I've tried to imagine how this would sound with ANY other singer/singers but it's impossible. The strength of the album is these fantastic vocalists, no doubt! Russell Allen is a perfect match to the mighty Jorn....I've said it so many times already and it can't be said too many times. He's such a SUPERSTAR! "The Battle" is Jorn's show, even if Allen's songs are very strong too and his contributions adds to the total impression.

The music is really dynamic and pretty heavy. First impression was that it feels sometimes that the music pulls in one direction and the vocals/melodies in another. It's pretty obvious Magnus Karlsson is mainly a pure Heavy Metal guitarist which some listeners could feel don't match the vibe of the vocals and melodies here and there. I don't think that is a huge problem though. The songs are so incredibly strong and memorable, it makes up for that minor "problem" (AOR-Metal?).

They've (Theander/Karlsson) done a great job producing and mixing these songs together, considering the way it's been recorded. I especially like the drums (Jamie Salazar). Overall the album has a really dynamic and powerful sound but not to the point it's annoying which I experience on some albums nowadays.

Very hard to pick favorite tracks on this album, 'cause I love them all and the faves vary, but The Forgotten Ones, Reach A Little Longer, Come Alive, Truth Of Our Time, Hunter's Night, My Own Way, Where Have The Angels Gone...are all fabulous. Really like when an album is as uptempo as this one.

It's a hard choice to pick the album of the year (so far) between Masterplan's "Aeronautics" and "The Battle" but for the moment I think I'd pick "The Battle" - mainly because it's closer to my usual preferences due to the memorable and instanly likeable melodies and especially CHORUSES that stick in your head for days.

Fredrik

01/09/05: Bruce - Brucebarb55@hotmail.com
Rating: 100
Best album yet by either one of them. PERIOD!

31/08/05: WardyS3 - micktward@ozemail.com.au
Rating: 89
There were a couple of problems for me to overcome before I could really accept this album for what it was. The first was my own fault, a typical fan fault that for the most part I no longer make, but in this instance sure enough.....
Expectations. Expectations soaring due to the classic Aeronautics album delivered by Masterplan early in the year. Yes wrong attitude I know but we all make mistakes!
This expectation was only increased by melodicrocks soundbite for ANOTHER BATTLE on offer some time ago. I wrongly expected this album to be a tad darker and a tad heavier, but once I delved in all became clear!

For the most part ALLEN/LANDE is not heavy in 'comparison (there I go again sorry)' to Aeronautics and boy it's going to get frustrating for ALLEN/LANDE having to have this (wonderful) album compared to MP's by schmucks like me aye?

Whatever!!!!! Don't be like I was, don't compare this to anything and you will find it a very enjoyable album indeed. Very melodic and for me a little too nice at times, I would have welcomed more throttle, and at times I feel this could be almost called a 'Jorn saves the day' kinda release without wanting to take anything away from the other artists, but nevertheless a fantastic release. To me this is true melodicrock at its best!

I note Andrew has listed the first half of the album as his preffered side however ANOTHER BATTLE aside I rate the second half of the album as the better half. After what I feel is a slight lull, TRUTH OF OUR TIME sets things up nicely before MY OWN WAY and ASK YOU ANYWAY seals the deal.

89% cause being my usual hard to please self, although I do INTEND TO BUY this I wouldn't quite consider this a MUST buy. But for any fan of good melodicrock this is a 90%+ album and worthy of your coin! Good stuff! Oh that sweet voice of Jorn!

31/08/05: Casper Bolte - carbiel@gmail.com
Rating: 99
From the clips I've heard, this CD could possibly be Album of the year. I am anxiously awaiting the release date. I actually loaded the clips into my iPod and enjoy hearing just those clips, imagine when I have the full tracks? Magnus is my new favorite guitarist/writer and Jorn and Russell are vaulting to the top of my favorite vocalists. Rock On!

31/08/05: Steve - nscrfan62@aol.com
Rating: 10
Album of the year! No doubt about it

31/08/05: gerald Kloos - geraldkloos@aol.com
Rating: 90
Simply put in words: this CD output is by far better then everything Ive heard from Masterplan and Symphony X. Although (as everyone knows) the outputs of these bands were always strong. When I first read of this collaboration I thought "just a way to make a fast extra buck" for the protagonists. I was totally wrong. Fantastic performances (of all! involved musicians) and outstanding songwriting. BTW: 3 Killertracks in a row. 1... 2... 3 and there are more to come later on. Congrats - to me the best release 2005. And another detail: the two different vocalists are embedded so smoothly and clever in the song-structures that the final result sounds just like a real band and not a project-status thing. Thumbs Up!

30/08/05: Hkan Dahlsten - hakan.dahlsten@seb.se
Rating: 100
I can already name this album to "The Album of the Year".

30/08/05: IAN - ian_752@msn.com
Rating: 95
Wow , now this is something special . Two of the best rock singers around today let loose on some wonderful songs which when all added together make's magic . Who comes out on top as the best singer is open to debate and personal preference , though it's us the fan who really comes out on top with this wonderful cd - buy


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