Gildan's Guide to Good Music: Allen/Lande - The Battle

Gildan's Guide to Good Music

The world of music is a vast ocean of crap - join me on a voyage to the tiny isolated islands of excellence.

As the tagline not so subtly suggests, it's really easy to find terrible music - you have but to turn on your radio, and lo, bad music abounds. The good stuff though, well that's rarely quite so easy to find, and while some popular music actually deserves the accolades it receives[1], most excellent music languishes in comparative obscurity. And that's where I come in!

What I aim to accomplish with these articles is to showcase quality albums from bands you've[2] never heard of, in the hopes that at least one of the comparative handful of people who actually read my rambling and rampantly egotistical definitely quite humble reviews has found them useful[3].

After examining the depressing (but exquisite!) Requiem - Mezzo Forte in my last article, I thought it might be best to focus on significantly more upbeat fare this time around. And thus I'm reviewing what might possibly be my favorite side project ever, huzzah!



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Allen/Lande

The Battle

Musical Genre: Hard Rock/Melodic Heavy Metal
Running Time: 60 minutes
# of Tracks: 12
Particularly noteworthy songs: Silent Rage, Where Have The Angels Gone, The Forgotten Ones

I've been sitting here for ages trying to start this endless stream of effusive praise masquerading as a 'review' in some fashion that preserves even the pretense of objectivity, and for the life of me I can't think of any good way to do that - so I'll just get the really obvious fact out of the way:

This album features the vocal talents of Russell Allen and Jorn Lande.

If that sentence doesn't really mean anything to you, then your life is suffering from a deficit of concentrated awesome. Read on to correct that!

Allen/Lande is a side project formed by guitarist Magnus Karlsson (Lost Tribe, Starbreaker, Primal Fear), who writes all the music and plays all the instruments (except percussion). So far they've released 2 albums (The Battle, The Revenge), and a third (The Showdown) is apparently set for release later this year (yay!). Calling the band Allen/Lande was probably an inspired bit of marketing, as they're both well known quantities (well known for Metal anyways) and Karlsson himself is fairly unknown (he shouldn't be though).

For those who don't know, Russell Allen is the vocalist for the American progressive metal band Symphony X, and Jorn Lande is a ridiculously prolific Norwegian hard rock god who's released albums with at least 15[4] different bands since 1994. They also happen to be two of my favorite voices in Metal - Jorn is in fact my favorite vocalist in any genre, ever, the end - so I was understandably pleased to see them collaborating!

Far from being a 'battle' between the two leads as the album title might suggest, they sing as a complimentary duo on 6 of the 12 tracks, with the other 6 split evenly between Allen or Lande as a solo effort (excepting backing vocals of course), with the solo tracks evoking Lande's work with Masterplan or Allen's own solo effort Atomic Soul (this is a good thing). Overall Jorn's voice tends to take prominence when they're singing together, but that's hardly much of a detraction considering Jorn is freaking awesome.

What they've delivered is extremely catchy and upbeat hard rock/metal, chock full of quality hooks and wonderful singing - this is exactly the sort of music that should be playing on the radio, instead of the equally catchy but way the hell crappier stuff that actually gets time on the airwaves - of course that will never happen, as traditional melodic metal is "out of style", and the songs are all too long (the shortest is 4:24).

I mentioned that to make it clear that this is not especially complex or 'deep' music - the lyrics are sometimes a bit cheesy, the song structures aren't groundbreaking, the riffs are good but they're not really the focus (the understated but omnipresent use of keyboards is rather nice though), and practically every song has a 'sing-a-long chorus' - what it is though is really good music that will appeal to just about anyone with even a passing fancy for harder-edged rock. That's not really an exaggeration by the way - my sister, who shares certain of my musical sensibilities[5] but barely tolerates most of the music I enjoy (like say... most of the bands I've reviewed so far), finding my passion for metal to be baffling and kind of annoying[6]... positively loves the Allen/Lande albums. So long as you don't go in expecting highly technical or experimental fare, you won't be disappointed.

There is not a dull track to be found on this entire album - singling out a few favorites was actually rather difficult to do because they're all wonderful. So when I tell you that "Silent Rage", "Where Have The Angels Gone", and the closing power ballad "The Forgotten Ones" are my favorite tracks on an album consisting of nothing but tracks I adore, you'll know I really like those. All right, enough yammering from me - time to make with the embedding so you can hear this for yourself.



If you enjoyed those songs, you're quite welcome! If you didn't enjoy them, we're done professionally (ha ha!). But seriously though, I can only hope this article has served it's intended purpose as a conduit to awesome music you've never heard of before, and that you're rocking out to Allen/Lande right now.

Well, that about wraps up another entry in the only guide to music you can be certain came from somebody calling himself Gildan - accept no substitutes or imitations! No really, you don't know where those guides have been, best not to risk it.

Other entries in Gildan's Guide to Good Music

Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR
Guilt Machine - On This Perfect Day
Ride The Sky - New Protection
Karmakanic - Who's The Boss In The Factory?
The Romanovs - ...And The Moon Was Hungry...
Penumbra - Seclusion
Within Temptation - The Heart Of Everything
Octavia Sperati - Grace Submerged
Virgin Black - Requiem - Mezzo Forte
Devin Townsend Project - Addicted
Todesbonden - Sleep Now, Quiet Forest
Beyond Twilight - Section X
Katatonia - Night Is The New Day
After Forever - After Forever
The 69 Eyes - Back In Blood
Red Circuit - Homeland
Hurt - Vol. 1
Myrath - Desert Call
Ayreon - The Human Equation
Nocturnal Rites - The 8th Sin
Witchbreed - Heretic Rapture
Arjen A. Lucassen's Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age
Agua de Annique - Pure Air
Joe Bonamassa - The Ballad of John Henry
Taal - Skymind

Want to be notified whenever I post a new Guide to Good Music article? Well now you can join the Guide to Good Music notification service group, and receive a notification whenever I post a new Guide to Good Music article! Huzzah.

[1] In which case it is certainly good music, but you don't really need me to tell you about it, now do you?
[2] Certainly true of the average person on the street, but there's always the possibility that as a member of The Escapist you have indeed heard of some of the various bands I review, in which case you get a (metaphorical) high five.
[3] Whether that's always the case is debatable, as these articles of mine generally don't receive a great deal of comments or views - but that's okay, since I write mainly to amuse myself. Feedback, while nice, is merely an optional extra.
[4] 14 if you're not counting his own solo band, which has released 7 studio albums since 2000 (soon to be 8 when his tribute to Dio is released in July).
[5] Most notably the bit where what we consider "Rock" is invariably "Hard Rock" to the world at large - it baffles her that say... groups like The Beatles were actually considered rock music.
[6] As I find her enjoyment of astoundingly banal pop to be.

My heart is thrilled to see that someone recognizes Jorn Lande from little Norway!

Yes, he is truly a magnificent artist and I've had the fortune to shake his hand at a small and intimate concert in my hometown, where only 500 people live (!). It's proposterous that such a profile would ever headline a show at such a small place.

Either way, this album is beyond greatness, and I encourage everyone who likes Jorn to check out his solo work, which is also really, really good.

Honorable mention to Allen too, of course, who has an incredible voice as well.

Chapper:
I've had the fortune to shake his hand at a small and intimate concert in my hometown, where only 500 people live (!)

You have no idea how jealous I am of you right now, heh. Truly, there is no more surefire way to get me interested in something than telling me Mr. Lande is involved somehow. You should check out the latest Avantasia albums if you haven't already, both Allen and Lande are guest vocalists, and Jorn sings on almost every track.

Gildan Bladeborn:

Chapper:
I've had the fortune to shake his hand at a small and intimate concert in my hometown, where only 500 people live (!)

You have no idea how jealous I am of you right now, heh. Truly, there is no more surefire way to get me interested in something than telling me Mr. Lande is involved somehow. You should check out the latest Avantasia albums if you haven't already, both Allen and Lande are guest vocalists, and Jorn sings on almost every track.

Myself included. Avantasia and Masterplan being two of those cases.

I was super excited when I heard Lande was returning to Masterplan. Their first album resides high in my favourite album list, though the second one wasn't as good unfortunately. Can't wait to give thir newest, "Time to be King", a listen.

Have you heard "The Scarecrow" by Avantasia? Lande's performance on it is nothing short of godlike.

Chapper:
Have you heard "The Scarecrow" by Avantasia? Lande's performance on it is nothing short of godlike.

Indeed I have, and indeed it is - hearing that on Pandora is what sold me on Avantasia in the first place.

Thanks for reminding me about the new Masterplan album, I still need to pick that up! Definitely buying that when I get off work tonight (which is in a few minutes, yay).

Gildan Bladeborn:

Chapper:
Have you heard "The Scarecrow" by Avantasia? Lande's performance on it is nothing short of godlike.

Indeed I have, and indeed it is - hearing that on Pandora is what sold me on Avantasia in the first place.

Thanks for reminding me about the new Masterplan album, I still need to pick that up! Definitely buying that when I get off work tonight (which is in a few minutes, yay).

No problem.

Here's hoping for awesomeness!

Chapper:

Here's hoping for awesomeness!

Verdict: Highly enjoyable! I'll have to listen to it a few more times to figure out how well it lives up to the other Masterplan albums with Jorn, but it was definitely worth purchasing.

Which kind of goes without saying, since it's Jorn after all, heh.

 

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