Jono - 'Requiem' (Musicano Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Michael Anthony   
Friday, 20 December 2013 03:40

jonocoverJono are a five-piece Swedish band whose ranks include Within Temptation guitarist Stefan Helleblad, and drummer Nicka Hellenberg who played on Within Temptation’s 2011 album 'The Unforgiving'. The band was initially the brainchild of singer and songwriter Johan Norrby – hence the Jono moniker. The line-up is completed by Johan Carlgren and Janne Henriksson on keyboards and bass respectively.


'Requiem' has been a long time in the making – with financial and time limitations delaying its recording, production and release. But the band persisted and deserve our admiration for that. So, now it’s with us, what have we got? Well, by and large we have an album full of preposterously camped-up, theatrical rock, tempered now and then by some finely tuned AOR sensibilities. If I also tell you that at various points I thought of Freddie Mercury and Queen, Abba, Muse and Sparks, you should be in no doubt about the musical terrain over which Jono prance and stomp.


There is, however, no doubt that 'Requiem' is a very competently crafted and delivered set of tracks. It’s “a kind of bombastic, but always melodic, production” say the band, and they’re certainly on the money there!


There’s a touch of rock opera about opener ‘I Was The One’, which never fails to raise a smile – though if I start singing along I find myself segueing effortlessly into the theme tune to The Life of Brian. ‘Judgement Day’ is very ’70s in feel, and features some cool gospel backing vocals to fade. ‘Letting Go’ and ‘Symphony’ are very Mercury-influenced tracks with dominant piano and vocals. They’re well done, but at times a little too close for comfort. The latter (‘Symphony’) is lifted by some superb choral work and orchestration, and seems to end with a nod and a wink to Pink Floyd’s ‘Us and Them’.


Overall, 'Requiem' is probably a bit lightweight in places for my own taste. (The Starship-esque ‘Nothing’ and ‘Best Thing’ are cases in point.) The album does, however, end on a sustained high. ‘Requiem’ itself is the album’s longest track, and has a bit more ‘gravitas’. It’s followed by the uplifting theatricality of ‘Dead or Alive’, which rocks a bit harder than most. Album closer, ‘Love Again’, a jazz-tinged ballad, is also a winner and had me checking the sleeve notes to see if there was a guest female vocalist.


Plans are already afoot for a follow-up as the band modestly prepare to “conquer some of the countries out there”. It’s a modern conception of ‘conquering’ for sure. Prepare to man the metaphorical defences. Or, if it’s more to your taste, just lie back and think of Sweden.


To pick up your copy of 'Requiem' - CLICK HERE