Allen – Lande – The Great Divide (2014 Spotlight) – An interesting band created to show the talents of Jorn Lande (Jorn) and Russell Allen (Adrenaline Mob, Symphony X, Star One) this record really sets the melodic metal world on fire. With Ring Of Fire drummer Jami Huovinen on the skins and Timo Tolkki (Timo Tolkki’s Avalon, Ring Of Fire) playing some tasty licks, there’s nothing on The Great Divide other than pure metallic majesty. The Great Divide was just one of those records that I heard early on and knew that I had to cover. It’s the kind of record that makes me want to continue to do this kind of work, and it’s the very reason that The Grim Tower even exists at all. With Jorn’s Dio-esque approach found in “Lady Of Winter 5:06”, the album’s title cut (6:42) and its massive closer “Bittersweet 4:40” you could buy the record just on account of his mesmerizing vocal work. But on the other side is Russell Allen, who just released one of the best damn hard rock albums that I heard all year in Men Of Honor (fuck what MA says) and it’s apparent that he’s shown no signs of slowing down. Years have passed, but he still sounds just as good as he did on The Odyssey and this record proves it. What more do I really need to say? Do I need to talk about how Tolkki kicks it into full gear on the solo efforts? Or the fact that Jorn blew my face off with the best nod to Dio worship that I’ve heard since the man himself first bellowed out Mob Rules? I mean, if you’re looking for a genuine heavy metal performance, then I really don’t think you can possibly go wrong with this one. It’s a record that had me exclaiming “damn!” several times during the duration of the listen, due to having been seriously knocked on my ass by such an amazing display of power, vigor and unhinged energy. This is what metal is truly about and by all means; let’s not lose it in all the noise.
(10 Tracks, 52:00)