Sjak : The Swedish progressive metal band Jono is originally started as the solo project of singer Johan Norrby (hence the name JoNo!), who was already active as a singer and song-writer in multiple bands and projects for quite a number of years. As a solo artist he has released an eponymously entitled debut album in 2006, but during the course of the years the solo project has grown into a real band. Best-known band member is of course Within Temptation guitar player Stefan Helleblad, but also drummer Nicka Hellenberg, keyboard player Johan Carlgren, guitar player Leo Olssen and bass player Janne Henriksson are well-known musicians in the Swedish scene. As a band they have already released two albums, being ‘Requiem’ from 2013 and ‘Silence’ from 2015, but these have never been brought to my attention. This ‘Life’ is therefore already the third Jono album, but the first one that they release on the Italian label Frontiers Records.
It’s not that strange that the band is named after Johan Norrby, because he’s determining the sound of the record to a great extent. He has a good control over his voice, has power and puts a lot of emotion in his vocals. Supported by the great guitar parts of both guitar players on duty this accounts for the fact that tunes like for instance ‘My Love’, ‘The Magician’ and ‘Downside’ sound very good. The best track of the album is however the fantastic ‘To Be Near You’, in which the band really shows what they’re capable of. As said this is my first acquaintance with Jono, but on the basis of what I’ve heard on this ‘Life’ record, I will certainly go out and look for the first two releases, because this album is definitely recommended for the fans of progressive metal.