ASTRAL DOORS Of The Son And The Father |
(Locomotive Music) (2003)
If I was asked to mention some of the biggest Hard Rock/Heavy Metal bands in
the history of music I would probably go for Black Sabbath, Dio, Judas
Priest, Accept and Rainbow. Their work has influenced an army of musicians
throughout the years, and will continue for as long as people are willing to
appreciate good music.
One of these bands is Astral Doors from Sweden. The band was formed when Joachim Nordlund (Guitars) decided to join forces
with Johan Lindstedt (Drums), a relationship based on their common
appreciation for all the "giants" i mentioned earlier. They soon recruited
Jocke Roberg (Organ), Martin Haglung (Guitar), Mika Itaranta (Bass) and a
very talented vocalist called Nils Patrik Johansson.
The sextet entered Peter Tagtgren's (Hypocrisy) Abyss Studios, and recorded their debut album
"Of The Son and The Father" (The Japan/South East Asia release is called
"Cloudbreaker" after the opening track of the album, and has a totally
different cover - The European/USA release cover shows a group of Catholic
priests crucified in the middle of a desert!!!).
The band sounds like Rainbow (Rising) and Black Sabbath (Headless Cross) and
the main reason is Johansson's vocals - Nils has studied the techniques of
Ronnie James Dio and Tony Martin, but also managed to add his own character
to the vocals. Joachim and Martin unleashed their guitar attack based on
classic heavy riffs and with the precious help of a strong rhythm section
created an album which will be flirting with my CD player for quite a long
The opening track of the album "Cloudbreaker" is the best way to introduce
you to the album - a classic Dio/Rainbow song with a great heavy riff and an
excellent vocal performance from Nils (check out the solo too - it's a
killer). "Of The Son And The Father" reminded me exactly why I consider the
"Headless Cross" to be one of the best Heavy Metal albums ever recorded. If
you think that by that stage you'll be able to catch your breath, you're
sadly mistaken - "Hungry People" has other plans for you.
A nice keyboard melody will introduce you to the Rainbow-influenced "Slay The Dragon", a
catchy song with beautiful band vocals and a great refrain. "Ocean Of Sand"
is a modern song destined to put many "true metal" bands to shame. But the
album also has songs with more progressive melodies like "In Prison For
Life". The melodies of that song reminded me of Kamelot (what a great band)
and Shadow Gallery.
Every album has the song that makes the difference and in this case the vote
goes to "The Trojan Horse". The next four songs "Burn Down The Wheel",
“Night Of The Witch", "Rainbow In Your Mind" and "Man On the Rock" continue
in the same manner and quality as the previous songs and will leave you with
the best of memories.
There are many bands nowadays who claim to be the "defenders of true metal".
I seriously doubt that they will ever be able to achieve half the things
that "Astral Doors" did with "Of The Son And The Father" - and hopefully
this is only the beginning!
Review by John Stefanis