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Articles Home » 2003 Articles » Astral Doors - 2003 Of God And The Father
Astral Doors - 2003 Of God And The Father

ARTIST: Astral Doors
ALBUM: Of God And The Father
LABEL: Locomotive Music
YEAR: 2003


LINEUP: Nils Patrik Johansson - vocals * Jocke Roberg - organ * Joachim Nordlund - guitars * Martin Haglund - guitars * Mika Itaranta - bass * Johan Lindstedt - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Cloudbreaker * 02 Of The Son And The Father * 03 Hungry People * 04 Slay The Dragon * 05 Ocean Of Sand * 06 In Prison For Life * 07 The Trojan Horse * 08 Burn Down The Wheel * 09 Night Of The Witch * 10 Rainbow In Your Mind * 11 Man On The Rock

WEBLINKS: www.astraldoors.com

As I write this, it's the very end of 2003. I'm in a corner of England and a band called The Darkness are huge right now. For those of you in foreign climes, or those of you living in blissful ignorance, The Darkness are a joke - or at least I think they are. They've not admitted as much, but the whole thing smacks of Spinal Tap, except it's not funny. When I hear them, I hear things stolen from great bands of yesteryear, the difference here being that, to my ears at least, the results are no more than average. Thousands and thousands of young people love this band, just because Keraang! Magazine and the great god MTV tell them they're cool. Talk about slaves. I'll bet you could play the same bunch of teenagers a classic Judas Priest record, or Tygers Of Pan Tang's 'The Cage' and they'd hate it, even though it's spawned from the same old school roots. As the Scorpions warned us a handful of years ago, it's a crazy world. Astral Doors - like The Darkness - care not for musical fads or in vogue hip. They're happy to be defiant and fly the flag for old school rock music. But, unlike The Darkness, these guys are completely novelty free, completely in tune with their art and fantastic ambassadors for a classic metal sound. Sadly, due to this hype-filled world of ours, MTV probably will not care and a lot of magazines will probably pass them off as irrelevant to today's music. I'd like to set the record straight: this is one of the best debut metal albums I have heard for a very long time.

The Songs
The band aren't going to break you in gently either. 'Cloudbreaker' is a thunderous, fist-pounding mass which takes me straight back to the 80s. It's made of the same stuff that gave us 'Stand Up And Shout' by Dio (and vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson, is a dead-ringer for Ronnie James during parts of this album - though I suspect somehow he's probably taller) and its a cracking way to get things rolling. If the promise of that kind of metal floats your boat, you'll be in your element here, as there's more than a tip of the hat to Dio throughout (in particular, 'Burn Down The Wheel' which is uncanny in places). The title track is slower, more brooding and is more in the spirit of Black Sabbath's 'Heaven And Hell'. Once again I'm completely sucked in. These guys can really play - the guitar solo leaves me smiling and almost believing it's the early eighties all over again. With a knowing wink, the intro to 'Slay The Dragon' bears an uncanny resemblance to the riff from Deep Purple's 'Strange Kind Of Woman'. Again, the band follow this through with some decent chops, a great vocal and a chorus which will get the better of most of us eventually! I love the twin lead parts and the main solo here, it takes me back to my past as a die-hard Iron Maiden fan, hearing 'Number Of The Beast' upon its release and being blown away. The Iron Maiden inspired twin leads carry over into the intro of 'Ocean Of Sand', which is another solid affair, promising no nonsense. Again, early Rainbow/classic Dio comparisons must be made, but I see no problem. I think this is partly a sound which a band like Ring Of Fire strive to emulate, but fall short. 'In Prison For Life' turns the thermostat up a couple of notches and turns the speed dial down. You want a chunky riff? You got it. Alongside the opening track, I love this - it's everything old school melodic metal should be. While listening to this track, I recall the album by WWIII from the early nineties. I remember being impressed by the solid sound of that album and particularly Mandy Lion's growling, slightly threatening vocal style. The overall structure here is very similar and the song has a chorus which has stuck in my head - it was after hearing this, the album went from being a good solid effort to being genuinely great. 'Rainbow In Your Mind' is has a lighter approach (but not much) thanks to the keyboards being a little more prominent. Again, as you've probably come to expect, it's very much in the Deep Purple meets early Rainbow mould. By this late in the game, I'm so into it, I'd hate for the band to surprise me and try something different! 'Man On The Rock', closing the album, is slightly bouncier and a good way to finish the album on a high. It's so Dio in places, I can imagine Nils pointing and scowling like little Ronnie as he sings.

In Summary
I really believe there's an audience out there who'll really be into this (Glory Daze's very own Alun Thomas among their number). Plagiarism never sounded so good.

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Astral Doors - 2003 Of God And The Father
Astral Doors - 2005 Evil Is Forever
Astral Doors - 2006 Astralism
Astral Doors - 2010 Requiem Of Time

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#1 | trillion1999 on October 29 2011 18:42:12
The only thing I can not stand by the joke/novelty-band referred to earlier in the review is the voice of Justin Hawkins.
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