Rating:
7.3
Astral Doors - Notes From The Shadows
28 August 2014


01. The Last Temptation Of Christ
02. Disciples Of The Dragon Lord
03. Wailing Wall
04. Shadowchaser
05. Die Alone
06. Hoodoo Ceremony
07. Southern Conjuration
08. Walker The Stalker
09. Desert Nights
10. In The Name Of Rock
11. Confessions


It's been a while since we last heard any studio activity from Wuthering Heights. Since 2010's recording in Salt, Nils Patrik Johansson has directed his vocal efforts and leadership to Civil War and his initial band Astral Doors, who continue to deal downright Dio derived heavy metal in their latest album. Yet Ronnie James has a lasting legacy for a reason, and Notes From The Shadows presents quality of song writing that clearly benefits from Dio's influence within the more traditional forms of the heavy metal genre.

What's more, this Swedish band is again finding their feet in terms of discographical consistency. This reassurance comes in the two records after the lacklustre and misguided work in Requiem Of Time, which saw a shift toward more of a rock inflected style and structure that significantly subverted the band's prior blend of traditional heavy metal and power metal. While that rock 'n' roll attitude continued to be a demonstrable aspect on 2011's Jersualem, as it does so here in their most recent album, they seem to be finding themselves the right balance upon which they capitalise with Notes From The Shadows.

While Notes From The Shadows moves on from the war drawn thematics and NWOBHM fury which re-energised the band in Jerusalem, this new album aims for a well versed mix of Axel Rudi Pell's chorus catchiness and more closely Dio associated rhythms. Tracks like "Shadowchaser" bring in a hard rock nature to the heavy metal, with a distinguishing Americanised twist which draws from Rainbow as much as Dio's eponymous band.

Given the tight focus the band have found on Notes From The Shadows, Johansson's delivery is at its most obviously Dio influenced, minimalising his potential range which he better and more fully demonstrates in the varied performances with the progressive and folk enthused diversity of Wuthering Heights. That's not to say that Johansson doesn't demonstrate some variety in the vocal arrangements here, providing his distinctively ranged character to the heavy metal rhythm section.

With this track-list being collected in an all inclusive production, Notes From The Shadows contains more consistent song writing from Astral Doors, here reasserting the strength of their studio performances.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Production: 9


Band profile: Astral Doors
Album: Notes From The Shadows


 



Written on 04.09.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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