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Astral Doors
Evil is Forever
September 2005
Released: 2005, Locomotive Music
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Madman

EVIL IS FOREVER is the sophomore release from Sweden’s Astral Doors. The band’s debut album, OF THE SON AND THE FATHER was released in 2003 by Locomotive Records to some mild reaction. I mean, I heard a few people talk about them but for the most part I’d never talked to any fans of the band so of course, OF THE SON AND THE FATHER went completely unnoticed by me, and I’m sure quite a few others. Then about a few months ago I was tuning into a metal radio show, I think someone on the Metal Rules board posted a link to their show online, and I happened to catch an Astral Doors song and was just blown away.

One of Astral Doors main selling points is vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson (Wuthering Heights, Space Odyssey) who sounds a hell of a lot like Ronnie James Dio. He certainly isn’t a copy but the Dio influence is definitely obvious, as is a strong Rainbow/Dio influence in the music. I’d even argue that much of Astral Doors’ material reminds me of what Rainbow would sound like if the original line-up was still writing and recording today. The band even incorporates a full-time organ player seamlessly into their music, accompanying and adding to the riffs, rather than playing something completely different or adding more melodies. As far as production goes, it’s good, very vibrant and warm giving all the instruments enough room not to overshadow each other, even the organ gets a rather strong presence in the mix.

The album kicks off with its fastest track, “Bride of Christ”, which is instantly rocking and rather surprising in that the organ instantly adds to the feel of the album; giving the band maybe just a touch more originality in this day and age. The open verse riff with ample stops and starts is very reminiscent of that old rock vibe in a lot of the classic metal bands while the ample double bass and power metal styled riffing in the chorus keeps things “up to date” if you will. “Time to Rock” reminds me of some of those old mid-paced Dio tracks (“Holy Diver” anyone?) with its bouncing drums and simple chorus. The title track, “Evil is Forever” is very much a straight up fist pumping metal anthem. It’s certainly melodic but drawn out and pounding; driving along with its methodical rhythm. The opening lines are classic Dio, honestly, if I heard this song without knowing prior, I might even mistake it for a long lost Dio track; I think it’s the slight echo in the vocals and the way they just soar overtop that simple guitar riff.

In “Pull the Break” there’s a definite upswing in speed. Going back to that classic rocking riff that lets the drums and vocals drive the song forward with the guitars accenting things. By the time the chorus pulls into the station one better watch out because things just flat out rock with the guitar/organ duo taking over with gang vocals for an instantly catchy vocal line meant for fans to scream along to live. The epic of the album is found in “Stalingrad”. Opening with acoustic guitars before bringing in the electrics, the song builds a certain amount of tension even before the vocals come in. The big verse riff with organ interplay is a very nice touch while Nils vocals just completely take over the song; driving it into the stratosphere. Sure, it’s not overly long like most “epics” but it still gives more of that grandiose, over the top, feeling than most of those songs ever will.

Astral Doors carry that classic rocking heavy metal sound and they carry it extremely well. EVIL IS FOREVER is one of the many “must buys” of 2005.
Track Listing

1. Bride of Christ
2. Time to Rock
3. Evil is Forever
4. Lionheart
5. Praise the Bones
6. Pull the Break
7. Fear in Their Eyes
8. Stalingrad
9. From the Cradle to the Grave
10. The Flame
11. Path to Delirium


Vocals: Nils Patrik Johansson
Guitar: Joachim Nordlund
Guitar: Martin Haglund
Organ: Jocke Roberg
Bass: Mika Itäranta
Drums: Johan Lindstedt

Next review: » Astral Doors - Jerusalem
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