2010, Frontiers Records
Heavy Metal

Un semplice ed onesto tributo alla leggenda dell'Heavy Metal da parte di Jorn.
Review by Alessandra Leoni - Publish on: 29/06/10

What was meant to be a wish for a quick healing for Ronnie James Dio, who was struggling against the dragon called stomach cancer, turned into his necrology, unfortunately. Far from tagging the good Jorn Lande as "bird of ill omen", it is then that, during the following weeks after the passing of the legendary voice of heavy metal, a personal tribute is announced, an album simply called "Dio". I have to admit that I've always been a bit skeptical about this kind of tributes, for sure moved by sincere love for the beloved, yet always moved by personal benefit, because an entire album it's published. To be honest, it'd be useful to ask the person concerned whether part of the gains will be given to charity, to the association set up by Wendy Dio - the "Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund" - or maybe part of this will be given to other cancer funds. However, I'm not going to criticize other people's choices on economic matters or on image matters, but I think that it's my competence to make some observations from a musical and stylistic point of view.

First of all, I need to remark the choice of the songs selected: they are thirteen and among them there's only one original song, "Song For Ronnie James", with a plane and monotonous sound, even though its beginning let us think of a good heavy metal sound. The remaining songs are all taken from Dio repertoire: most of them are taken from Dio first solo album, the wonderful "Holy Diver" , the others are taken from other fairly good albums, "Sacred Heart" and "Dream Evil"; however, to our surprise, some songs, such as "Push" and "Lord of the Days", are taken from his latest albums, a little bit featureless to me, "Magica" and "Killing The Dragon".
Songs referring to our beloved Ronnie's best moments in his career are not missing as well: from "Lonely Is The Word" (from "Heaven&Hell"), that melts with "Letters From Earth" (from the album "Dehumanizer", still stodgy to me) by Black Sabbath, to "Kill The King" by Rainbow.

However, the choice could be more accurate and less imbalanced on "Holy Diver" (in that case making a cover of the title track would have been absolutely the icing on the cake); moreover, Jorn seems to have forgotten the great second album by Dio, "The Last In Line". I wouldn't have despised at all a modern version of "We Rock" or of the title track. I think that if he took one other song from Rainbow or Black Sabbath repertoires, it would be good for the set list; of course, it would have been too much asking to take something from Elf ( to tell the truth, it made good songs - I can say that since I own two albums by Elf). It wouldn't have been a bad idea after all ...

Secondly, the execution must be taken as it is, after all it's just a cover album, nothing more. It's quite obvious that Ronnie James Dio has always been a great inspiration for Jorn, and you can notice that almost in the whole album. However, sometimes it seems that the Norwegian singer tries too hard to imitate the unreachable voice of heavy metal; as a result, his voice is cold and not very personal. We're dealing with a clean, surgical and too precise execution. Also, it's obvious that people like Dio come to life occasionally, and owning something magic and an expressive voice is not accessible by everyone. The effort is very much appreciated, though.

Well then, above the act, this tribute album to Dio doesn't add something new that hasn't been done by the irreplaceable Ronnie. Certainly, it is a felt and appreciated tribute, but maybe we could expect more personal reinterpretations by the Norwegian artist. Anyway, we're extremely curious about hearing him singing with Heaven&Hell in the tribute concert that will take place on July in London.

01. Song For Ronnie James
02. Invisible
03. Shame On The Night
04. Push
05. Stand Up And Shout
06. Don't Talk to Strangers
07. Lord Of The Last Day
08. Night People
09. Sacred Heart
10. Sunset Superman
11. Lonely Is The Word / Letters From Earth
12. Kill The King
13. Straight Through The Heart (Live)

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