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coverpic flag Norway - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 14 - 12/14/97

Torden & Lyn

After staying together as a band for what must be 20 years, Torden & Lyn have finally released their debut album. The plans for a release has existed for a long time. First there was talk about a live album, but their concerts are rare (and almost cult events in their hometown), so they probably figured the studio was a better option. Anyhow, this release should save them from obscurity.

Prog-rock is once again gaining territory, but too often the term is used to describe American syncopated soft metal. And Torden & Lyn's own brand of hard rock do contain some rhythm twists, so labeling them a prog-rock band is perhaps not so out of place. But inspite of being technically able musicians, they have other qualities that makes their record worth listening to. For instance the arctic-psychedelic lyrics that melds the songs on Storm into a coherent collection, all sung by Thorbjørn Erlandsen, whose voice may at times recollect Warren Zevon's. The songs, of which I would guess many are over 10 years old, takes you to the inner spaces of life below a both harsh and beautiful arctic sky. Both painters and writers have been inspired by the diverse nature of northern Norway, with its midnight sun during summer, and its cold darkness of wintertime. And of course songs have been written, but never before has a rock band taken these influences so far into their lyrics. Even their name (which translates to Thunder & Lightning), and the record title, shows their strong link to nature and its forces.

Musically, we're in the 70's, with Deep Purple and Pink Floyd as obvious references. The influences of these bands are easy to spot on Storm, with synth sounds similar to those on Wish You Were Here, and a few atmospheric soundbits added to the mix, which also became a Pink Floyd trademark. The Deep Purple influence is perhaps harder to pin down, but their faster songs is at least rooted in 70's hard rock. And perhaps is Rainbow a better comparison. However, once the opening title track kicks off, you hear that Torden & Lyn definitely also have their own musical identity. Both the slower ballads and the faster, more riff-based songs, are spiced up with synth and guitar solos, but this is never their main purpose. The songs are not excuses for extensive soloing. Nevertheless, Storm does contain some flashing guitar work, like the blistering solo on Send Us A Song, a majestic tour-de-force through chord progressions that would make Richie Blackmore weep. My favorite track, no doubt. Another track that stands out is The Golden Book, the album's most original song, which after repeated listenings grows quite catchy, in spite of its skewed rhythm & melody. Morning At Sea is Torden & Lyn at their most beautiful moment; a slow, naked, but spacey song about how "the newly born spring opens my mind". And when the beautiful synth/slidesolo fades away on the closening epic song Walking, you wish it never would. So let's hope this is not the last recorded output from Torden & Lyn!

Oh, and guitarist Steve Morse (currently in Deep Purple) appears duelling with Torden & Lyn's own guitarist Terje Aas, on the instrumental track Eagle. Morse's contribution was recorded in sunny Florida, and sounds like it was, too. It's faster than fast, and rather forgettable compared to Terje's more melodic playing throughout the album.

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