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Astral Doors - Notes from The Shadows

Label: Metalville
Format: CD download
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 7.5/ 10


Seventh release from Swedish outfit, as usual the main calling card is the clean (albeit unique) voice of Nils Patrik Johansson. Musically, this is a continuation of the style dominated by another three named singer: Ronnie James Dio (albeit a bit more keyboard accentuated), which is no slouch comparison, and not made lightly. That said, there are also hints of Van Halen (‘Desert Nights’) and bluesy Whitesnake (‘Walker The Stalker’) mixed in. The countrified, guitar-only introduced ‘Shadowchaser’ breaks from that mold, but also features some of the most spirited soloing of the dozen (including acoustic, instrumental bonus: ‘Shadow Prelude In E Minor’).

 

Thunderstorms and acoustic guitar kick off the massive (9:13) ‘Die Alone’, the one track you would play someone to convert them to Astral Doors. Speaking of conversions, the lyrical themes are once again drenched in religious history/imagery. Even the 84 second instrumental ‘Hoodoo Ceremony’ sounds like a liturgical organ solo. Highlights include a rousing, opening anthem, ‘Last Temptation Of Christ’, the aforementioned ‘Die Alone’ and ‘Southern Conjuration’. Good stuff!

 
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