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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Swedish band JONO started out as the solo project and creative vehicle of composer and musician Johan Norrby back in 2006, and an initial album was released under that moniker back then. Since then Jono has evolved into a real band. "Requiem" is the second full length album by Jono, released through the Swedish label Musicano Records in the summer of 2013.

While Jono's second album "Requiem" may not be regarded as a progressive rock album per se, it is an extremely well made production of the kind that easily merits a description as fairly sophisticated and accessible hard rock. As far as references go, the lead vocals, as well as some theatrical flairs and occasional arrangements and lead motifs, emphasizing that association, Queen and Freddie Mercury are names that come naturally as far as associations go. I suspect the greater majority of fans of those will highly enjoy this album, as will those who know how to appreciate well made, melodic and catchy sophisticated hard rock in general.

Report this review (#1117771)
Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars The sophomore album from JoNo is a huge improvement over the debut album, featuring excellent compositions that are enhanced thanks to the instrumental arrangements that clearly sound more like a team effort.

Unlike the debut album that was in fact a solo record by the band's front man Johan Norrby, Requiem features arrangements and recordings that were clearly made by a band. This makes Norrby's already strong compositions even stronger and gives JoNo the opportunity to deviate from the verse/chorus/verse blueprint that was prominent on the previous record. This means that we actually get a few instrumental interludes, guitar solos and overall a richer musical experience.

My favorite moments are the pompous and melodically rich compositions and there are quite a few of these on Requiem. Some of the best ones are the magnificent guitar-driven opener I Was The One, Nothing which features more of the same greatness plus a nice keyboard solo and the two power pop tracks Best Thing and Dead Or Alive. The rest of the album is a bit more low key, with Letting Go and Love Again being the most obvious links to the band's debut album.

Requiem is definitely a more polished version of JoNo than what we've experienced on their debut record. I really like that this transformation has managed to make their music influences less prominent and thus making their material sound a lot more original. There are still a few moments that remind me of Queen, Supertramp and Muse, but nothing that distracts me from enjoying the compositions that JoNo is presenting me with. This is a great record and a sign of the things to come!

***** star songs: I Was The One (3:49) Nothing (3:59) Best Thing (4:05)

**** star songs: Judgement Day (5:20) Letting Go (6:00) Symphony (4:01) Requiem (6:11) Dead Or Alive (3:48) Love Again (4:16)

Report this review (#1444536)
Posted Friday, July 24, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars JONO is a superb addition to the Swedish prog-rock contingent. The group consists of Johan Norrby (lead vocals & keyboards), Stefan Helleblad (guitar, b/v), Johan Carlgren (keyboards, b/v), Janne Henriksson (bass, b/v), Nicka Hellenberg (drums & percussion). They demonstrate an admirable command to exhibit a fantastic soundstage. Compositionally, their album 'Requiem' gives a nod to the past, while its feet are planted in the present. This amazing venture does echo back to the 'good old days' of classic Queen (70's era), yet with a side order of Kansas. Some riffing and quirky moments can remind about fellow countrymen A.C.T. The first thing that struck me was the captivating vocals of Johan Norrby. His singing, on most occasions, evokes the passion and magnificence of Freddie Mercury. The music is setting the scene for incredible voice to lead the way towards a shore. Definitely, Jono has what it takes to catch many, many ears. There's a full blown affair with quite well handled changes in pace. There are passages with abundance of keyboards, inventive guitar patterns and masterful rhythm section. This five-piece is capable to weave a musical texture that's dynamic and melodic, intense and laidback, purposeful and dramatic. Their 'Requiem' bursts with accessible heartache and splendor! Highly recommended.
Report this review (#1802537)
Posted Thursday, October 12, 2017 | Review Permalink

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