John Norum

Slipped Into Tomorrow

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Ex-Europe guitarist John Norum proved his integrity when he abandoned his pop-metal cohorts at the peak of their The Final Countdown fame. He then proved his pedigree by releasing a series of unfailingly solid solo albums steeped in 1970s hard rock tradition, which more often than not made up for whatever they lacked in remarkable songwriting with tasteful execution and technical prowess. And 2000's Slipping Into Tomorrow finds the Swedish axe hero expertly updating these classic rock origins with a number of modern 1990s trends, without hardly ever sounding forced or contrived. Songs like "Still in the Game" and "Tico's Life" somehow name-check both Thin Lizzy and Alice in Chains, and "Nobody Answers" sounds like a King's X number. Sadly, Norum's semi-decent tunes and competent yet unremarkable vocals rarely live up to the high standards set by his six-string prowess, and one has to wonder whether his popularity will ever extend beyond his homeland and Japan. More significantly, the album concludes with a note-perfect rendition of Lizzy's "Killer Without a Cause," as well as a live recording of perhaps his most memorable composition, "Center of Balance," from 1997's Worlds Away.

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