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Astral Doors - Astralism

=Staff's pick

Black Rain
London Caves*
From Satan With Love
Fire In Our House
Raiders Of The Ark*
Tears From A Titan
Oliver Twist
The Green Mile
In Rock We Trust*
Apocalypse Revealed

Genre Heavy Metal
Patrik Johansson
Tracks 13
Martin Haglund
Runningtime 55 Min.
Joachim Nordlund
Label Locomotive Records
Mika Itäranta
Release 24 March 2006
Johan Lindstedt
Country Sweden
Joakim Roberg
Similar artists Dio, Black Sabbath

Swedens answer to Dio/Black Sabbath of the earlier years are back with their third album and it is pretty obvious that Astral Doors are not planning on move away much from their concept, since this release takes off again where the other two left us. The only difference is that the production this time is a little bit different (thinner but not really weaker) and the guitars have a little bit sharper sound and are at times not as heavy. The musical approach remains the same, however: classic and riff based simple heavy metal with great hooks and refrains.

Following the tradition of opening with a fast and catchy song, usually always also the best song of the album, it kickstarts with EVP. An uptempo smoker with a catchy refrain and great guitars. After this follow a couple of normal and midtempo songs (Black Rain, London Caves) both with strong and catchy bridges and choruses being their biggest asset. So far very good and completely as we are used to and had expected from Astral Doors.

Despite the fact that Fire In The House is a great uptempo song with all necessary ingredients, the album loses a bit of its momentum at this point since it is surrounded by two slower songs and no matter how many times I hear these songs (From Satan With Love, Israel), they will not do much for me. I can appreciate the good craftmanship and since Astral Doors' lowest level is extremely high it doesn't go as far as me wanting to press skip on my cd player, but they do not lead anywhere. Raiders Of The Ark brings it back to normal Astral Doors standards again. Straight forward, groovy and catchy with a good punch, even though the main riff sound a bit familiar. Tears Of A Titan takes it down to a slower level again. Heavy guitars and a bombastic refrain and the vocal lines are a bit unusual but work great.

From this point and onwards there is a 50/50 mix of uptempo songs and more slow and epic ones. Oliver Twist, with its Black Sabbath riff and contagious bridge and refrain, and Vendetta with a high tempo and a classic and catchy build, are the two with most energy. The seven and a half minut closer Apocalypse Revealed is wrapping it up in a worthy way, heavy and epic in midtempo and The Green Mile is a well performed song in the same style but it falls a bit between the chairs compared to they others. In Rock We Trust is the most Dio-like song on the album this time, both title- and musical wise. A great heavy metal hymn exactly in vein of Time To Rock from the previous album. Perhaps not as good, though, but it certainly has qualities.

The word epic pops up a lot in this review and that is a bit of the feeling and the keyword on this album. While not really having any more slower songs than on previous albums, it still feels a bit more "big" and confident. We have heard it before, and certain riffs and passages sound familiar, but Astral Doors always manage to mesmerize me by forging such great and catchy songs from such simple ingredients and still make it sound rich and full. A solid buy for fans of the band and of the genre in general. I still hold Astral Doors as one of Sweden's finest and as crown bearers of classic heavy metal of today.

See also review of: Notes From The Shadows , Requiem Of Time , Of The Son And The Father , Evil Is Forever , Raiders Of The Ark






7 chalices of 10 - Tommy

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