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Astral Doors
Black-Eyed Children
May 2017
Released: 2017, AFM Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Erich

The metal clock ticks on, and before you know it, Astral Doors has released their 8th album with 2017’s BLACK-EYED CHILDREN on Metalville. It is refreshing to see a band’s lineup remain intact over the course of the last 3 albums, and the chemistry has certainly played its role in the consistency of the new album. Nils Patrik Johansson continues to channel a higher pitched Dio, while the music is classic and mid-paced. Thus, Astral Doors remains unchanged and predictable, carrying the torch of classic and traditional metal unashamedly.

Musically, BLACK-EYED CHILDREN is a slightly darker offering than past releases. “Tomorrow’s Dead” sounds like mid 90’s Black Sabbath “Cross Of Thorns”, being fairly slow in tempo but buttressed by Johansson’s stellar effort. The title track is one of the signature tunes, again a bit slow, but melodic and stodgily traditional, complete with organ. “Slave To Ourselves” is a welcome shift into higher gear and aggression on an album where mid-paced rules the day. “Good Vs Bad” would be the only other up-tempo sibling and a worthy tribute to Dio/Rainbow. “Lost Boy” delivers the goods as the type of song the band is capable of when the planets align.

The sound of the album is nearly perfect, with Erik Martensson capturing and mixing the band to elite levels. Additionally, there are some fantastic guitar solos from the Nordland/Gesar duo. Sadly though, many of the songs are simply ordinary, with nothing that stands out that made me want to repeat any tunes, and more than a few got a premature skip to the next track. The execution is blameless, but the songwriting is just not up to a high enough level to deserve one’s undivided attention. Recommended for serious fans of the band, but optional for the rest of us.
Track Listing

01. We Cry Out
02. Walls
03. God Is the Devil
04. Die On Stage
05. Tomorrow’s Dead
06. Good vs Bad
07. Suburban Song
08. Lost Boy
09. Slaves To Ourselves
10. Black Eyed Children
11. Jesus Christ Movie Star (bonus)


Nils Patrik Johansson- Vocals
Joachim Nordlund– Guitars
Mats Gesar- Guitars
Jocke Roberg - Keyboards
Johan Lindstedt - Drums
Ulf Lagerstroem - Bass

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