Jorn – Traveller
Jorn- Traveller (2013)
Written by Mark Nagy
For anyone familiar with Jorn’s ill-advised solo career up to this point, you probably already know what you’re in for here. Heavy, chugging riffs, Jorn’s gruff voice, decent to good choruses, and absolutely no variety or deviation from that formula. I’m actually starting to understand why Jorn can’t survive in other people’s bands, even though that’s clearly where he shines the most. Jorn is a traditionalist of the worst caliber: he found one thing that he liked, and decided he never wanted to do anything else.
I was actually quite pleased with Bring Heavy Rock To The Land. Even if it was generic hard rock/heavy metal drudgery, it was at least catchy and memorable. Stylistically, I have absolutely no problem with Jorn dedicating his solo career to making heavy, rhythm guitar-oriented songs that serve as a vehicle for his distinct voice. I’m even willing to forgive that the albums are painfully similar, with songs practically interchangeable from album to album. What separates an enjoyable album like Bring Heavy Rock To The Land from one like Traveller though, is the quality of the songs. Every song on Jorn’s previous album of original (and I use that term loosely) material was at the least catchy and memorable. Traveller does not earn the same praise. In fact, if there was anything that stood out to me about this record, it’s that Jorn attempted to do doom metal, but didn’t quite get it right, and that the man still isn’t over Dio’s death.
There are still a few good choruses to be had on the record. “Make Your Engine Scream” and “Legend Man” both please in this department, though the former really loses steam by the end. Given that it’s less than four and a half minutes to begin with, this means there’s really not a lot going on here. After those two, there’s the most shocking moment of the record: Jorn’s attempt to branch out into another genre. This time, it seems to be doom metal, or at least Jorn’s version of it. The song is of a slightly darker caliber, and the guitar riff is certainly evocative of doom-oriented material, but the mix is extremely loud and chaotic. Jorn seems to have gotten half of the idea, and is really pulling a lot of “darker” stops with the lyrics, but has accessed none of the genre’s subtlety, making the experiment, for this critic, ultimately a failure.
Perhaps I was too harsh on Jorn for leaning so heavily on Bring Heavy Rock To The Land on this years’ first release, Symphonic. I still stand by my review that it was a great album, but it becomes more and more obvious that it was perhaps the exception to the rule of Jorn’s solo albums being dull affairs in chug-and-slug. Metal easy listening isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because everybody likes an occasional dose of candy, but this isn’t even candy, it’s too lacking in substance to even be candy. Instead, it’s a cough drop, perhaps enjoyable and soothing at first taste, but ultimately, probably useless.
1.75 // 5