ALLEN / LANDE -'The Great Divide'
Jorn Lande: vocals
Russell Allen: vocals
Timo Tolkki: guitars, bass, keyboards
Jami Huovinen: drums
1.) "Come Dream With Me" - There was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of this intro arrangement. Some of the notes of the minor lead guitar solo might have been double-tracked. The way the notes of the lead guitar solo were arranged gave it a lead guitar scale feel. There was a small musical rest connecting the musical intro with the musical verse. There was a small arrangement change for the musical verse. The third and sixth lyric lines of the verse had a small echo attached to the end of the line. For the musical pre-chorus Timo switched the guitar pattern from an electric picking arrangement to a strumming arrangement. For the musical pre-chorus, the chord arrangement Timo used was basically the same type of guitar arrangement you would use for a fill-in rhythm. Because of this, it allowed the bass and drum line to bleed through. Jami played a snare drum fill to connect the musical pre-chorus with the chorus. If I am not mistaken, the only musical change between the pre-chorus and chorus was Jami switching from a hi-hat pattern to a pattern that was played on his ride cymbal. To connect the first chorus with the second verse the band used the same minor lead guitar solo arrangement as the one that was over the top of the intro. There was a tom-tom fill connecting the second verse with the second chorus. The major lead guitar solo connected the second and third choruses. After the third chorus there was a repeat of the minor lead guitar solo. Over the top of the lead guitar licks there was a vocal accent. The coda consisted of the rhythm guitar, bass and snare drum playing the same pattern.
2.) "Down From The Mountain" - The rhythm guitar riffs of this intro arrangement were very reminiscent to some of the riffs KK Downing and Glenn Tipton has written for Judas Priest over the years. Underneath the riffs that open the intro section Jami plays two huge tom-tom fills. At the end of the second tom-tom fill there was a snare drum fill. This snare fill kicked-in the main body of the musical intro. There were two snare fills separated by a musical rest that connected the intro with the musical verse. There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse. The pre-verse consisted of just a rhythm guitar and vocals. The way some of the lyrics were sang reminds you a lot of early eighties Rob Halford. For example like some of Halford's sang on Judas Priest's 'Screaming For Vengeance' released on July 17, 1982. There was a musical rest that consisted of a cymbal choke connecting the verse with the pre-chorus. For the chorus Jami switched from a single bass drum pattern to a double-bass drum pattern. It sounded like there was a very short echo at the end of each lyric line of the lyrical chorus. Right before the last lyric line of the chorus there was a huge tom-tom pattern. The cymbal crashes of the second pre-chorus were placed exactly where they needed to be. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. Instead of backing vocals the choruses of this track consisted of an echo at the end of each lyric line. These echo's ran underneath the next lyric line within the lyrical arrangement.
3.) "In The Hands Of Time" -This intro consisted of a minor lead guitar solo over the top of a rhythm guitar arrangement. The drum line consisted of a double-bass drum pattern. At the end of the intro there was a small snare drum fill. Connecting the musical intro with the musical verse there was a strange little keyboard effect. There was a rhythm guitar arrangement change for the musical verse. The way Jami plays the drum line of the musical verse sounded a lot like Scott Rockenfield of Queensrÿche from the early eighties. There was tom-tom fill connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. For the musical chorus Jami switched from a single bass drum pattern to a double-bass drum pattern. For the musical chorus Timo added a keyboard arrangement to fill-in the empty gaps of the rhythm guitar. There was a tom-tom fill connecting the second verse with the second chorus. The lead guitar solo began underneath the last lyric line of the second chorus. The lead guitar solo had a huge intense feel to it. There was a minor lead guitar solo underneath the lyric lines of the third chorus. The coda consisted of the same keyboard effect that connected the intro with the musical verse.
4.) "Solid Ground" - This intro opened with a keyboard arrangement. As the intro progressed Timo overdubbed a rhythm guitar arrangement over the top of the keyboard. The band kept the same keyboard arrangement for the musical verse. Timo changed the rhythm guitar to more of a fill-in rhythm. There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical pre-chorus. The band changed the time of the musical chorus. There were times when the lyric lines had an Arabic musical feel to them. After the second chorus there was an Arabic influenced lead guitar solo. The coda of this track consisted of a string arrangement effect that was done on the keyboards.
5.) "Lady Of Winter" - This track was written in the style that was very reminiscent to the late great Ronnie James Dio. From beginning to the end I was completely blown away by this song.
6.) "Dream About Tomorrow" - This track opened with a rhythm guitar arrangement. The effects that were used gave it a mono sound. Underneath this arrangement there were several tom-tom fills and bass drum kicks. As the intro progressed Timo overdubbed a second rhythm guitar arrangement. This second rhythm guitar arrangement was different from the first one. There was a short musical rest connecting the musical intro with the musical verse. The musical verse consisted of a rhythm guitar change. For the musical pre-chorus Timo overdubbed a second rhythm guitar arrangement. The chorus had a huge Lande hook attached to it. The last lyric of the chorus had an echo attached to it. The choruses sounded very similar to a lot of the stuff Dio was written right before he passed. After the second chorus there was a small breakdown section. This breakdown section lead to the lead guitar solo. The lyric lines of the choruses had an echo attached to them. This track does not consist of a lead guitar solo.
7.) "Hymn To The Fallen" - This intro arrangement was very reminiscent to Dio's "Holy Diver". The music arrangement connecting the intro with musical verse consisted of the guitar, bass and drums playing the same notes. There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse. The vocals of this track had a David Coverdale sound to them. The third lyric line had an echo attached to it. There was an arrangement change for the musical chorus. The rhythm guitar for the verses was basically fill-in chords. After the second chorus there was a very laid back melodic lead guitar solo. There was a minor lead guitar solo underneath the third chorus running up to the coda. The coda consisted of a couple of keyboard chords.
8.) "The Great Divide" - This track was amazing!!!
9.) "Reaching For The Stars" - This track opens with a very simple intro arrangement. There was a rhythm guitar arrangement change for the musical verse. As the musical verse progresses it slowly builds up. Though there was a rhythm guitar change for the musical chorus the keyboard stayed the same. The vocals of the chorus had a very simple hook attached to it. There was a lead guitar solo after the second chorus. All in all this was a very simply structured song.
10.) "Bittersweet" -This was the only ballad on the release and it was amazing!
'The Great Divide' is the fourth CD released from the powerhouse vocal duo of Russell Allen (Symphony X ) and Jørn Lande (formerly of Masterplan). Over the years, one of the many things that has made me become a fan of Allen/Lande goes all the way back to their first release titled, 'The Battle' released on September 19, 2005. It is the fact of just how well these two vocalists complement each other. Vocally, in many ways you could say Allen/Lande is the Lennon/McCartney of the progressive/ melodic metal genre. Therefore, my worry was not going to be about the vocals. As far as I was concerned, Russell and Jørn are at the top of list of being two of the greatest vocalist since 2000. My concern with 'The Great Divide' was that this was the first CD released from the duo that does not consist of Swedish heavy metal songwriter, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Magnus Karlsson. I do not want to make it sound like Timo Tolkki was not an adequate replacement. Because looking at just the work he has done with the band Stratovarius over the years shows that he is more than qualified. However anytime you replace a member within a band it changes the chemistry make-up of that group. Yet Timo really did not change the sound of the band much. In closing 'The Great Divide' is just as good of a release as any of the other Allen/Lande releases. This CD would be a great addition to your CD collection. If you are not familiar with Allen/Lande while you picking this one up I would suggest you pick their other releases also.