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Jorn LandeWhat do you get when you cross a powerful vocalist with an abundance of projects and work behind him, and the guitarist from a Norwegian hard rock band called Wig Wam?  You get a concept album which is a rock opera of pompous proportions!  Not a weird surreal joke but something for you to consider, especially if you enjoy anything to do with the mighty legend of the 15th century character Vlad Dracul.

There are ten tracks caged within this musical beast and it echoes heavy metal in all sorts of familiar forms.  Chugging guitars crash forth one moment, then dark and foreboding shadows lurk the next.  Hooks permeate the fabric of the music like on Walking on Water, Save Me and Into the Dark.

For a rock opera it offers up all you could wish including a cheeky hint of The Rocky Horror Picture Show during the title track.  Leaving the colorful nature of the formidable musical, they replace it with a solid wall of cheesy rock to fit the aesthetics of their very own musical collaboration.

Assisting on vocal duties where appropriate to the story being weaved, contributions from Lena Fløitmoen Børresen add more texture and flavor to the proceedings.  She represents moments shared by Mina and Lucy as the dark tale unfolds.

All ten songs flow without a hiccup as you find yourself humming along to the catchy outbursts, and on repetitive listens find yourself being dragged in to the lyrical outpourings of Lande.  He is aided by Holter on guitar, Bernt Jansen on bass, Per Morten Bergseth tackling drums and on tracks like River of Tears and Under the Gun there are moments which rise like flames from Børresen.

If you dare to spice up your heavy metal collection with a story about Dracula, then this is for you and shouldn’t disappoint.  If you’re more of a traditionalist and didn’t get anywhere with the mighty Judas Priest focus on Nostradamus, then this may not be your cup of tea despite being a lot shorter.

Not to be overlooked, the musical tapestries which are on show provide sufficient interest without being too self-indulgent, but it remains to be told that this is a complete piece of work; it is a brash and bold statement in the history of rock operas.

What Do You Think?