Released: 2008, Violent Journey Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
There´s always room for some traditional metal on Metal-Rules.com as some of you may have noticed over the years. Adastra, coming out from the capital of Finland, Helsinki (or Hell-sinki as some of us want to spell it out every now and then, ha!), plays a traditional metal with a nice catchy touch. These fellows´ roots are in some of the dinosaurs of heavy metal - in bands like Priest, Sabbath, Maiden (especially!), Metallica, Dio and such, and they don´t even bother to hide their influences anywhere but lets them also surface in their stuff without any guilt.
Adastra´s 2nd follow-up album, DEATH OR DOMINATION, to last year´s successful debut album THE LAST SUNSET, basically follows the same musical masterplan that these guys set determinedly for themselves on their debut album already - trusting firmly in the power of the traditional metal approach with a modern touch, yet cooking all these musical ingredients in something that could be considered as their own.
What´s very well noticeable also, there are lots of more dynamics in Adatsra´s new songs on D.O.D. compared to the efforts on their previous album. Adastra´s 6-string power duo, Olli and Jari, is undoubtedly the carrying force of the band, having been strongly influenced by Maiden´s legendary Murray-Smith team, showcasing somewhat clearly a thing or two that they have learned from the direction of their main heavy metal tutors. I really love these two fellows´ guitar playing thoroughly on D.O.D.. Their guitar work is overall very enjoyable and admirable; the leads, the riffs - and just everything…
Also, in order to reach as many pairs of hot ears as possible, every band needs a good singer, right? Adastra can consider themselves as a lucky bunch for having one. Ville sounds like a sort of cross between Vince Neil and Martin Walkyier, kind of trying to sing through his nose quite much and simply sounding great. His voice really fits very nicely into the sound of Adastra - and hopefully they can make even more pairs of ears hot than just mine only (undoubtedly they will do).
There are a couple of songs on this brand-new Adastra album (“Helsinki 1939” and “The Longing”) that are both over 9-minutes long, and that try to imitate some of that same epicness that has become Maiden´s trademark in a big cavalcade of their songs over the years. I have to admit, Adastra have done quite an admirable job with those 2 particular songs in question - especially with “Helsinki 1939”, which tells a story about an air raid on the capital of Finland, Helsinki, by the Soviet Union. In these two songs, Adastra´s obvious Maiden presence comes to the surface in the most invincible way, and I cannot personally complain a bit - being the huge, longtime Maiden fan that I am.
DEATH AND DOMINATION is definitely a better and more dynamic album than Adastra´s debut, both music- as well as lyric-wise. Other than that, it´s a stone-hard fact that there´s always been demand for this type of traditional metal that has its origins deep down in some of the godfathers of the whole genre ála Maiden, Priest, Sabbath and the like. So, to end this review somehow, all I can say the fans of traditional heavy metal shouldn´t hesitate to check this band out - and yes, long live heavy metal, too!