Astral Doors newest (and 7th album!) Notes From The Shadows will appeal to any fan of classic metal like The Rods and Saxon or of course RJD (r.i.p.), who vocalist NPJ’s inflection and cadences have often been compared to over the years this Swedish band have made their mark. Nils Patrick Johansson as a vocalist likes to do those kind garble things at the end of his words like Ronnie did when he really meant it as in Dio epic moments like where Ronnie sang “You’re a rainbow…in the daaaahhhhhhhhhhk/ no sign of the morning” from near the end of that classic solo Dio song, for example. That said, Astral Doors stand firmly on their own heavy metal feet though love is displayed for the greats, of course. It is very cool they have done so many records in just over a dozen years, as many bands just don’t have that kind of output. (Tool, stop making wine and watching wrestling and get finished in the studio please, hahaha).
As in the past, Astral Doors hit hard with big heavy metal riffs and crisp dueling guitar action topoped by NPJ’s firm vocals up front. Religious and occult imagery abound, though it is a shame the cover art is so hack and silly looking it will probably make some people think this record is more sub par than it really is. That cheezy lich looking wizard and dragon on the cover could have been rendered with a lot more skill, since the band obviously care about the music on this record. Crystal Viper have also fallen under criticism recently for their deteriorating record art quality, which is a shame as they are another band who rock the heavy metal sound of yore to great effect.
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