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Astral Doors - Notes From The Shadows Award winner

Astral Doors
Notes From The Shadows
by Jeff Legg at 25 July 2014, 7:06 PM

For a band that’s garnered any success at all in the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal genre, the next album is always the most important one. Continuing to grow musically and put out quality material is what separates many a band from being classified a “flash in the pan” or becoming one that has a long and storied career, usually resulting in a greatest hits collection somewhere along the way.  It’s the hard truth, but the “what have you done for me lately” rule rings true for anyone trying to make their way through the cruel music industry of late. Building on a successful career and living up to the expectations of putting out another quality album is the challenge facing any and all headlining bands, and with the release of “Notes From The Shadows”, ASTRAL DOORS have met the challenge head on. In August, they are set to unleash their astounding piece of Power-Metal magic that should prove to the world that these guys are here for the long haul and strengthen their status as one of the most talented metal bands on the planet.

Hailing from Sweden, ASTRAL DOORS are comprised of Patrik Johansson on vocals, Joachim Nordlund on guitar, Ulf Lagerstroem on bass, Johan Lindstedt on drums, and Joakim Roberg on organ. Anyone who is familiar with this talented Power-Metal outfit, have experienced the pure strength of Johansson’s vocal range and have undoubtedly heard the comparisons to the late, great Ronnie James Dio. And though the comparisons are justified, this guy is way more than just a DIO sound-alike; he has a style of his own to go along with the prideful similarity to one of the greatest vocalists in heavy metal history. He is well on his way to becoming a heavy metal legend, and as great as he is, the band behind him is equally as talented. Nordlund is an amazing axe wielder that delivers rock n’ roll wizardry with every lick, and to me, his style is reminiscent of a modern day, power-metal version of Jake E. Lee or Randy Rhoads. Lagerstroem and Lindstedt flex their muscle on the bottom end and bring the heaviness that is sometimes overlooked in a great metal band, and with Roberg putting just the right amount of keys over the top, this band is the real deal.

Notes From The Shadows”, the phenomenal seventh offering from ASTRAL DOORS, picks up right where “Jerusalem” left off, and I personally feel it contains some of the best-written songs in their discography. The music is melodically powerful and has no weak moments anywhere on this 11-track release, solidifying the fact that bands like DIO, RAINBOW, DEEP PURPLE, JUDAS PRIEST, and BLACK SABBATH have heavily influenced their souls over the years. All of these influences shine through on “The Last Temptation of Christ”, a really catchy, up-tempo song that will be extremely pleasing to JUDAS PRIEST fans everywhere and there couldn’t have been a better selection to start this album off on the right foot. “Shadowchaser” is a blues infused, pure power-metal track that is hauntingly DIO-esqe to the core and may very well be my favorite ASTRAL DOORS song of all time. The rest of the songs are equally as heavy, dark and haunting and sound better the louder they get. Playing power-metal like it was meant to be played, “Notes From The Shadows” is a collection of songs that will hit the old school Metalhead in the heart and bring back memories of some of the great headliners of the 80’s. With the death of RJD a few years ago, it has become more important than ever for bands like ASTRAL DOORS, as well as others like JORN and EXORCISM, to carry on the sound that has become increasingly void with his passing. I’ve waited for the release of this album for a long time and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome. If you’re an ASTRAL DOORS fan, or a fan of Power-Metal in general, this is a must have. This is easily one of my favourite releases of 2014.

5 Star Rating

1. The Last Temptation of Christ
2. Disciples of the Dragon Lord
3. Wailing Wall
4. Shadowchaser
5. Die Alone
6. Hoodoo Ceremony
7. Southern Conjuration
8. Walker the Stalker
9. Desert Nights
10. In The Name of Rock
11. Confessions
Patrik Johansson– Vocals
Joachim Nordlund – Guitar
Ulf Lagerstroem – Bass
Johan Lindstedt – Drums
Joakim Roberg – Organ
Record Label: Metalville Records


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