Sound — 10
For those of you who don't know the man named Jorn Lande, he is considered one of Scandinavia's, if not the one of worlds, top hard rock vocalists. He hails from the country of Norway, and he is a brilliant musician and vocalist, who has contributed to over 20 recordings, in cooperation with Yngwie Malmsteen, Tnt, Masterplan and Ark, and quite lately, a project with Symphony X vocalist Russell Allen, just to name a few. However, here he returns to his musical roots and inspirations, producing one heck of an awesome, retro hard rock album. The second the CD starts playing, the song "We Brought The Angels Down" strikes a few, powerful chords, before the god himself starts singing with his gritty, powerful and truly amazing voice in a mid-tempo anthem. From there on, you're carried through a incredibly convincing record. The production is tight, a wall of crushing guitars and a heavy rythm section, and as stated before, a voice like no other. Can't really complain on the sound of the thing, as it is a astonishing craft of work.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics aren't anything groundbreaking, it's basicly the standard rock n' roll themes that Jorn Lande feels so personally attached to. But you're not buying this CD to find lyrical poetry, you're buying it to get a true hard rock cd, and needless to say, the direct, right-on lyrics of the CD fit the music excatly they way they should. Songs like "Midnight Madness", and "Stormcrow" pass the 70's/80's heavy spirit on with great honour. As for the singing, I don't know what there is to say. Jorn Lande is truly one of the top vocalists today. He is like David Coverdale on steroids, and as he sings, you can hear him hold Coverdale in high regard, aswell as singers like Dio, Plant and Gillan. He has the perfect voice for the type of heavy rock this album gives, but at the same time he is extremely versatile, as may be heard on his many recordings; something different each time. Though variation, you never doubt that this is someone big singing, and that this is Jorn Lande.
Overall Impression — 10
So there you have it: The Duke is yet another impressive record Jorn Lande can add to his resume. When buying this, you are preparing yourself for a retro, good, old-fashion hard rock treasure. Nothing refreshing or original at all, really. But this was never the idea either, as he states himself, this was meant as a journey back to his roots, roots of classic hard rock, and this he does marvelously. Songs like "Duke of love" and "Starfire" could just as well have appeared on a Rainbow record back in the 70's, even though Jorn sound is a bit more modernly heavy/thicker. The band is excellent musicians, pouring their energy in to each note, and Jorn shows his brilliance at all times, like during the Thin Lizzy cover "Are You Ready", where proof is given that he dominates many of his anchestors (Sorry, Lynott, with all respect, he owns you, RIP). Shortly, nothing particulary original (this wasn't the intention), but a brilliant display of how some noble men still carry on the hard rock spirit in to the 21th century. I suggest this to any fan of good music. Check out this norse phenomenon as soon as possible. Rock isn't dead!