Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Astral Doors -Jerusalem



"Yeah...right," I remember muttering as I read their press kit. I may have giggled a little bit, too.

Ronnie James Dio (rest in peace) was one of the greatest vocalists of all-time, in my opinion, so when Sweden's Astral Doors mentioned, "the sound’s unmistakable kinship to Dio-fronted Rainbow and Dio/Martin-fronted Black Sabbath," when describing their new album, I had more than a few doubts.

Then I heard the 11 tracks of power-metal on Jerusalem and all those doubts disappeared. Poof.

Astral Doors sure backed up their claim about sounding like Dio, and then some. The similarity is so strong that it's almost uncanny, but if you ask me, Jerusalem sounds more like Dio's solo work, Last In Line and Holy Diver. Maybe that's just me 'cause I'm partial to those two albums. Whatever the case, I think Jerusalem is freaking fantastic.

I'm treated to all the power-metal essentials on this one. Clean, powerful vocals (as if you coudn't tell already) with emotional lyrics inspired by war, fantasy and personal struggles. Fiery guitars with electrifying solos. Amazing bass and drums. Got organs? Astral Doors does.

I had no idea about this band until a month ago, but they've been around the block.

BIO: 'In early 2002, Swedish guitarist Joachim Nordlund, drummer Johan Lindstedt and singer Nils Patrik Johansson teamed up and decided to write some metal songs in the spirit of the old heroes Rainbow, Dio, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. They completed the band with organ player Jocke Roberg and with Martin Haglund on the bass....Jerusalem is a journey through good and evil. Mixed by Daniel Bergstrand, the music of Astral Doors reaches new heights. Blistering hits like "Seventh Crusade", "Babylon Rise" and "With a Strangers Eye" meets up with the epic title track and the video hit "Child of Rock'n'roll"...'

That's a coincidence. Two of those songs I decided to include so you could hear them for yourselves. Just listen and tell me this band isn't Dio reincarnated. And just check out that album artwork. Awesome. I can't tell whose side the dragon is on, though. Is it the Crusaders? Muslims? Must be Jerusalem.

What was I thinking? The Dio-inspired power-metal that I loved when I was growing up hasn't gone anywhere - I just haven't been looking in the right places. I'm glad that I finally found it again, and that Astral Doors have opened up and shown me the way.

Jerusalem is released through Metalville Records. Any fan of Ronnie James Dio will dig this music a lot. Highly-recommended.

--Heddbuzz



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