Saturday, 24 January 2015

JORN LANDE & TROND HOLTER present; Dracula - Swing Of Death (2015) Japan Edition

Genre - Hard Rock / Melodic Rock / Melodic Metal / Rock Opera / Concept
Label - Frontiers Records / AVALON / MARQUEE Japan
Track listing:
01 - Hands Of Your God
02 - Walking On Water
03 - Swing Of Death
04 - Masquerade Ball
05 - Save Me
06 - River Of Tears
07 - Queen Of The Dead
08 - Into The Dark
09 - True Love Through Blood
10 - Under The Gun
11 - Hands Of Your God (Exclusive Japan Bonus Track)

Norwegian Rock Stars, singer JORN LANDE and guitarist TROND HOLTER (aka Teeny of WIG WAM), have created a new Rock Opera concept album about the life of Count Vlad the III, Prince of Wallachia, widely known as Vlad, The Impaler or by his patronymic name Vlad Dracul(a).
"Dracula - Swing Of Death", to be released this weekend via Frontiers Records (available today in Japan), explores the inner struggle inside the multifaceted and engorging character that this mysterious 15th Century personality was, while also taking into account some of the metaphysical aspects that passed into literature, forming the whole basis of the vampire mythos.
"Dracula - Swing Of Death" is an album detailing the story of Dracula (combining factual and fictional aspects).
What makes this different from many previous rock operas is that there are no monologues, no interludes and no orchestral forays to create an atmosphere.
This collection is an album of ten anthems of varying styles pulled together as a musical narrative.
Where many concept albums over the years have been caught up on delivering a convoluted storyline that easily became the prime focus of the artist, Holter and Lande already had one of the greatest stories ever told and all they had to do was adapt the epic struggle of eternal love into their classic Hard Rock compositions.
“Walking On Water” and “Save Me” carry strong melodic sensibilities alongside Thin Lizzy harmonies. The title track is the real curveball as it is more vaudevillian than metallian and the flow of the album benefits from its ingenuity. The grotesquely gargantuan “Masquerade Ball” allows Dracula/Lande to bellow forth about his insatiable need – 'Tonight on you I’ll dine'.
The vocal of Lena Fløitmoen who covers both Mina and Lucy is a succulent highlight on the album as her voice brings a crisp and sharp contrast to the gravelly rasp of Lande.
Their trade-offs on the aforementioned “Save Me” and “Into The Dark” are what defines the album and brings the story to the forefront. “Queen of the Dead” could slot into the Jorn live set let alone the theatres to which the stage production is already being lined up.
Holter’s guitar work throughout and notably on "True Love Through Blood" is clinically organic with a rich tone that lets his stringed voice be as much a character in the story as that of Lande’s or Fløitmoen’s.
"River of Tears" and the album curtain call "Under The Gun" are old school Euro classic rock anthems that feed the lifeblood of the story that true love never dies.
This Japanese version of the album includes the excellent bonus "Hands Of Your God" that deserved to be included into the regular release; it's a dark, moody and somehow charming semi-ballad plenty of rich (and terrifying) atmospheres.
With "Dracula: Swing Of Death", Lande and Holter have delved deep within themselves, stoked the fires of inspiration and created their own chapter in the artistic mythos of the lovelorn Prince.
“Listen to them, the children of the night, what music they make”...
Rating - 10/10

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