Jorn Lande & Trond Holter – “Dracula Swing of Death” (Frontiers Records)
I love this album!!! Presented by Norwegian vocalist extraordinaire Jorn Lande (Yngwie Malmsteen, Avantasia, Masterplan, Ark, Beyond Twilight etc etc) and glam metal guitarist Trond Holter of Wig Wam, this is a rock opera influenced by the likes of Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell” or Alice Cooper’s “Welcome To My Nightmare” based on the life of Count Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, widely known as Vlad The Impaler or by his patronymic name Vlad Dracul(a)! Following the tale of when he was a human before he sold his soul to the devil to when he became a vampire, the album’s concept is based on the original Bram Stoker story centered around Dracula’s first true love Mina, with Lande’s vocal duets being complemented by Lena Fløitmoen Børresen. Despite the classical theme, the album is way more rock than opera, being the ultimate mix of Dio meets Whitesnake at their heaviest best so you’ll get an idea of just how superb songs like ‘Masquerade Ball‘, ‘River Of Tears‘ and ‘True love Through Blood‘ are although all ten tracks on this amazing album excel with no fillers. Needless to say, the musicianship is nothing short of stupendous, from Lande and Børresen’s vocal quality (that I would rank against any rock or opera singers out there) to Holter’s virtuoso guitar work. However, what really makes this a landmark album is that the true essence of rock purity has been captured here. Countless bands strive for it, few achieve it, and only the glorious legends that have made rock history have it, but Lande and Holter have achieved here. Capped off by the hammering rhythm of Bernt Jansen’s balls out bass and Per Morten Bergseth’s drum smashing this is what true rock should sound like, piercing the heart with emotion and lifting the soul for the ultimate musical high. You’ll be singing these immortal songs long after they’ve stopped playing and that’s what true rock is all about. There simply must be a follow up to this and I for one am demanding it!