But be it as it may, “Spirit Black” contains exactly what we have grown to know and love from the Norwegian, gritty Hard Rock with the rough silk of a voice that Mr. Lande is known for and while the material will not break any new ground or show experiments, the quality is beyond doubt, covering mostly the terrain between ballads and stomping mid-tempo, so one thing is for sure, if you know his material of the past, you know pretty much exactly what to expect this time around as well. While, obviously, the latent danger of sounding a little samey after a while is inherent, only rarely doe sit fall under a certain level of quality, with “Rock And Roll Angel” being the nadir in this matter, but this is more than made up by several of the other tracks that just ooze quality.
Basically there are three tracks that I would point out as being the best and most interesting ones, for very different reasons. “Road Of The Cross” features crunchy Hard Rock with Jorn’s trademark voice, a light oriental touch in the chorus and overall a certain DIO influence. Then there is “Burn Your Flame” that is the fastest track of the album and brings some much appreciated variety in tempo, just enough to shake things up before the highlight of the CD, that being “World Gone Mad”. Here the melodies, the atmosphere and the vocals just fit perfectly, with an especially spirited vocal performance of Lande and this intensity that only few songs can build up.
So it will depend on if you have grown tired of hearing Jorn echo from many an album of late or if you still are able to enjoy him and the quality Hard/Heavy Rock of “Spirit Black”, I personally consider myself part of the second group and can recommend this one to any genre fan.
(Online February 27, 2010)