Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jorn LANDE & Trond HOLTER Present: Dracula "Swing Of Death"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Frontiers 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

The Horror! The Horror! Jorn Lande (Masterplan) and guitarist Trond Holter (aka Teeny of Wig Wam) present Dracula, a new Rock Opera concept album about the life of Count Vlad the impaler or if you simply prefer Dracula? Yup. It's the Fang-Tang-Clan or whatever and the story explores the inner struggle inside the multifaceted and engorging original character as well as cherry picking the best? out of the book by Bram Stoker. It's not strictly old school though as the two are exploring Dracula's inner thoughts and battle. Loneliness and the lost of true love as he wandered the earth for centuries with a thirst for blood which led him to the brink of insanity. Yup. It's all slightly bonkers.

In the original Bram Stoker version, Mr.Fang leaves Transylvania by ship and when he meets Lucy's best friend, she reminds him so much of his first love Mina, that he becomes obsessed. Dracula sees her as some kind of "holy grail", too good to turn into a vampire. Jorn Lande as the main character Dracula shares lead vocal duties with Norwegian singer Lena Floitmoen (representing Mina/Lucy from the Bram Stoker book) and it's very much the melodic rock effort and not quite as much of the bombastic overtures of the truly epic/symphonic concept album.

In fact. The majority of tracks end up sounding like Wig Wam on steroids. There's tiny bits and pieces of Alice Cooper, The Sparks, Meat Loaf, Dio, Queen, David Bowie, and tracks such as "Save Me" and "Swing of Death" takes the Rocky Horror Picture Show approach as plans are being made to stage this entire Rock Opera on Norwegian theaters. Bimey. Ambitious work indeed. "Walking on Water", catchy melodic rock with your vicious left hook 'ala Wig Wam goes Dio and blessed with the classy guitar part 'ala Gary Moore (RIP). I'm really fond of the duets feat. Lena Floitmoen as she makes the best of the situation and bring the story alive with killer performances and fang.

Perhaps not as 'dark' and 'evil' as expected really. Perhaps I personally hoped for more atmospheric keyboards and the sinister approach? It's the horror story after all. Nonetheless. It's the fine melodic hard rock opera concept project with a touch of swing? Wicked and slightly bonkers indeed. Me like. Recommended.

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