John Norum - Total Control (CBS) 1987
1. "Let Me Love You"
What I was expecting when I got this cd in the mail was some headstrong,over-the-top guitar shredder disc with songs written simply to showcase Norum's guitar playing abilities. What I got, however, was an excellent melodic metal cd with some well written songs, pop-metal hooks, and surprisingly strong vocals. Imagine a slightly heavier Europe, or a mildly less heavy Dokken and you get an idea of what to expect. Having said this, there are plenty of mind-blowing guitar solos on this disc as well. There are several standout cuts on this disc, but the two that immediately grabbed my attention, of course, was the Thin Lizzy and Vinnie Vincent covers. Vincent's 'Back on the Streets' is one of the most infections pop metal songs ever written. The fact that it wasn't a huge hit for him or for John, just goes to show that there is more to getting airplay than just writing a good song. I can play that song and two hours later it will still be echoing through my head. Also, had Dokken or one of the other more well known pop-metal bands recorded "Eternal Flame" in '87 I would imagine it would have been a huge hit. This song sounds very much like something from the first couple of Dokken releases and has the same 'hit' potential. The Thin Lizzy cover is also well done and stays pretty close to the original Lynott composition. "Blind", a heavy boogie rocker is another standout cut. "Total Control" is a surprising cd. I received this disc as a gift from a friend in Norway. (thanks again Kurt)
John Norum - Worlds Away (Shrapnel) 1996
1. "Manic Distortion"
I confess I am writing this CD after only having heard this CD a couple of times. However, I was a bit disappointed with this CD considering how much I liked John's first solo CD. This one is sort of hit and miss. There are some good songs scattered throughout, but overall, the album isn't very strong or memorable, in my opinion. In other words, it's sort of bland. I suppose I might have been expecting a bit more shred, due to the fact that this release is on Shrapnel Records and because, well...it's John Norum. "Manic Distortion", "Make A Move", "Dogs Are Barking" and "Homeland (Peace Of Mind)" came across as the strongest songs. "Manic Distortion in particular features that guitar shredding wizardry the I had hoped would fill this CD. "World's Away" features a host of well known musicians including Kelly Keeling (Baton Rouge, King Kobra) Vocals, keyboards, Peter Baltes (Accept, Victory) bass and Simon Wright (AC/DC, Dio) on drums. Keeling does a commendable job on vocals and is one of the bright spots on this CD. Perhaps over time this one will grow on me some more and I will begin to appreciate it more but until that time I can only say that "Worlds Away" is dissappointing.