In 2005, two of the very best vocalists in heavy metal, Russell Allen of Symphony X and Jorn Lande, solo artist and Masterplan vocalist, collaborated as a vocal supergroup and released a critically acclaimed trilogy of albums over the next five years. These vocal superstars are back with a highly anticipated new album, “The Great Divide.”
The new record takes Allen/Lande in a new direction most notably with the absence of guitarist and songwriter Magnus Karlsson of Primal Fear. Instead, Timo Tolkki formerly of Stratovarius takes the helm and lends his hand to both songwriting and production duties as well as guitars, bass, and keyboards. Jami Huovinen rounds things out on the drums. Timo’s style is a more straightforward blend of radio friendly melodic metal. It’s a simpler approach with less layering of sounds than the Karlsson albums.
The best part of “The Great Divide” is, of course, the vocal duets of Allen and Lande. They have very different styles but complement each other and blend very well. There are plenty of great hooks and soaring choruses and the two lead off tracks, “Come Dream With Me” and “Down From the Mountain,” are just solid hard rock tunes with amazing vocal performances. Another standout is the beautiful “Lady of Winter” with its opening piano and epic vocals by Lande. Closing out the album is another vocal stunner with the somber feel of “Bittersweet.”
On their own Russell Allen and Jorn Lande are a true force of nature, but put them together and you truly have something out of this world. You won’t want to miss this latest installment from these vocal powerhouses.