ASTRAL DOORS - Black Eyed Children
May 26, 2017, a year ago
Still fronted by the well-traveled Nils Patrik Johansson (ex-Civil War/Wuthering Heights, several guest stints), some claim the luster is off the Swedes, now on their eighth studio platter. True, there was a brief lull, but over the last six year (now encompassing a trio of strong releases), Astral Doors have righted the ship. A blend of traditional metal, along with keyboards, the late Ronnie James Dio is often a comparison, not so much for Johansson's prominent voice, but the classic sounding compositions.
“We Cry Out” is precisely the type of song Dio would use as an opener. Haunting Hammond organ opens “Die On Stage”, before kicking into gritty, guitar dominated number. Another full blown speedster “Good vs. Bad” is definitely on the positive side of the ledger. “Suburban Song” begins acoustically, then rides a synth wave, as Johansson (temporarily) adopts a tone lower than his usual nasal register. Aptly entitled “Lost Boy” is the “sore thumb” sticking out from the others, practically pop, at least by their standards. “Slaves To Ourselves” sounds like its neighbors, apart from a keyboard passage (solo?). Rest assured, the guitar gets a longer/fester spotlight, just a verse later. The bonus track “Jesus Christ Movie Star” takes a rather cynical look at religion. In a nutshell, if you like Astral Door before, there's nothing to alter that opinion here.