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Astral Doors
January 2012
Released: 2012, Metalville Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

In purely critical terms, Sweden’s Astral Doors has had quite a strange career arc. I can’t speak for their sales (I assume they do OK, considering that JERUSALEM marks their 6th studio album), but critically I clearly remember everyone, myself included, going gaga over the band’s debut, especially the incendiary “Cloudbreaker”, which remains the band’s best song to this day. Since then, the reception has grown frostier with each successive album, “peaking” with the downright hostile reactions afforded REQUIEM OF TIME. For me, the band’s debut OF THE SON AND THE FATHER didn’t hold up to repeat listens, and I confess that I haven’t heard a note from these guys since then. That’s a long way of saying that I came into my first listens of JERUSALEM with open ears, and was pleasantly surprised with what I got.

From what I can tell, the critics that say that Astral Doors haven’t progressed at all since their debut are absolutely right – they haven’t. But, and this is a big but, I don’t give a shit. Fact is, Astral Doors nailed their sound (basically a slightly more power metal version of Rainbow and Dio) early and haven’t messed with their formula at all. Well, that’s fine by me! Although the album is hampered a bit by an overly boomy production, each song just rips along as though Blackmore and Dio were still at the height of their powers. I mean, a song like “Suicide Rime” just sinks deep into your brain – I’ve been playing it seemingly non-stop for weeks! The riffs are so catchy and Nils Patrick Johansson’s thespian vocals work so hard to get the songs over that I just believe in these Swedes’ convictions.

That being said, I completely understand why some would write these guys off as copycats – there isn’t exactly a ton of original thought going on here. I don’t care about that though; sometimes you just want to turn your brain off, head bang, and enjoy the music. For those times, JERUSALEM definitely fits the bill.
Track Listing

1. Seventh Crusade
2. With a Stranger’s Eye
3. Child of Rock ‘N Roll
4. Pearl Harbor
5. Lost Crucifix
6. Babylon Rise
7. Suicide Rime
8. The Battle of Jacob’s Ford
9. Operation Freedom
10. The Day After Yesterday
11. Jerusalem


Nils Patrick Johansson: Vocals
Joachim Nordlund: Guitar
Ulf Lagerstrom: Bass
Jocke Roberg: Keyboards
Johan Lindstedt: Drum

Next review: » Astral Doors - New Revelation
Previous review: » Astral Doors - Jerusalem

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