Label: Metalville - MV0133-V • Format: Vinyl LP Green • Country: Sweden • Genre: Rock • Style: Power Metal, Heavy Metal
Best viewed without Internet Explorer, in x resolution or higher. After looking into the band a bit I was surprised to see they had been around sincewith an impressive eight full-lengths under their belt, but yet somehow I had never heard of them. After listening to this release I quickly discovered why.
Walls - Astral Doors - Black Eyed Children songs are essentially interchangeable, the same catchy choruses, shredding guitar solos and synth tracks over and over again, without any build up whatsoever.
Sure, there are a few songs that stand out, the title track, Lost Boy and the aforementioned We Cry Out come to mind, but clocking in at 55 minutes, the entire album just ends up dragging on for far too long. There is nothing wrong with the individual songs however. Astral Doors actually pulls the blend of traditional metal with power metal influences off quite well.
They strongly reminded me of Canadian band Striker, while also hearkening back to Dio-era Sabbath and Rainbow. After doing a bit more research on Astral Doors it became clear that their releases after what is considered the peak of their career, Astralism, are known for being notoriously boring.
Instead Black Eyed Children will be banished to purgatory with the other releases that fail to do anything memorable. Astral Doors deserve a little bit more credit than they actually get. As a band though, Astral Doors are far more than a throwback from a different era, able to chug it out with a modern twist that would also appeal to fans of Jorn, Primal Fear and Iron Savior.
Since their inception inAstral Doors have had a steady release of albums. However, this progress was slowed down by vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson joined Sabaton alumni in Civil War before leaving in As you would expect, Astral Doors start 'Black Eyed Children' with keyboard soundscaping, building up and up into what feels like a live concert intro tape before a pickscrape announces the start of 'We Cry Out'.
It would seem that being a member of Civil War has had a lasting impact on Johansson. But with Civil War, Johansson sang with a higher, exceptionally unique squeal and it is this voice which Johansson chooses to use consistently on 'Black Eyed Children'.
Lyrically, 'Black Eyed Children' is actually closer to Civil War than Astral Doors, tracks such as 'Walls', 'God is the Devil', 'Lost Boy' and title track all bear the hallmarks of the historically tinged lyrics that is put forward by Civil War, in fact, 'Walls' is possibly the best track that Civil War never Ive Got You Under My Skin - The Art Van Damme Quintette* - Cocktail Capers. Whilst there is some excellent playing throughout with Johansson showing what a talented vocalist he can be with his range of dynamics, there is a lack of sustenance giving the feeling that 'Black Eyed Children' was a little rushed.
One Long Glance - The Pretty Things - Emotions Nils Patrik Johansson unceremoniously left Civil War a few Walls - Astral Doors - Black Eyed Children My Buckets Got A Hole In It - Various - Big Wide World Of Country Music, I just assumed he'd dropped off the map completely - forgetting of course about Astral Doors, who have been constantly active since The Swedes have had their fair share of ups and downs over the years - with 's Requiem Of Time being a particularly low point - but always fly the flag proudly for melodic heavy metal.
Here inNPJ and co. There is less of a power metal influence here than on, say, Evil Is Forever - but although the epic flair has been diluted, it's still present on certain tracks. If the cover art is anything to go by, this might be their attempt to darken their sound. In which case, it both fails and succeeds depending on what you look for in an Astral Doors album.
Firstly, I'll address what succeeds. The production quality is superb: a beefy guitar tone which thrives on the deep chugs; an incredibly powerful drum sound which really drives the whole affair; and Nils, the vocalist who defines 'inimitable', sounding hungrier than ever.
Walls - Astral Doors - Black Eyed Children , despite the etherealness of the opening moments, the keyboard too often utilizes a rock organ timbre, thereby erasing any dark atmosphere they had previously established. Occasionally, the keyboard stands out effectively - like the mysterious Walls - Astral Doors - Black Eyed Children of "Walls" - but otherwise, it's just a button-press away from being the right sound.
For all the average tracks like the one just mentioned, at least there is the sprawling title-track; an eight-minute crawler that succeeds in both its atmosphere and songwriting prowess. The songwriting has suffered a little, but it's hard to explain why.
There's no sense of build-up and release, rather verses simply plough into choruses - making it difficult to tell which is Walls - Astral Doors - Black Eyed Children . Some choral vocals, added symphonics, or even just being louder, would've helped.
There are exceptions, like the rocking "Die On Stage", and the epic title-track - but otherwise, each track passes by semi-monotonously.
This is one of the few times I've craved a ballad on an album no, "Tomorrow's Dead" doesn't count. Also, I know this is primarily a heavy metal band, but the power metal flavours would have been welcome if they were more prevalent.
The tempo only ever picks up on "Good vs. Bad", but even that isn't to heights I know Astal Doors are capable of. This song is definitely where the rock organ is at its most offensive.
But thank heavens for the insane synth brass in "Slaves To Ourselves"! There's nothing inherently bad about this album. It's just a shame that such an awesome production quality was wasted on this limited one-tone songwriting. Some of the riffs are memorable, like "Lost Boy" or the previously-mentioned "Good vs.
Bad"; the solos are absolutely blazing - Joachim Nordlund and Mats Gesar deserve praise for their perfect execution; and the occasional track will jut out as being more exciting than the rest.
Otherwise, Black Eyed Children would make amazing background music at Story From My Heart And Soul - B.B. King - Complete Recordings 1949-1962 metal party - but doesn't quite hold its own as a memorable heavy metal album.
Write your own review. SengionSeptember 19th,
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