When I heard, Astral Doors was releasing a new album I was very excited for two reasons. First, I am a Swedish Metal fan and second, the last time they released an album was in 2014, Notes from the Shadows. Astral Doors’ sound is very much classic Metal and the band tends to stay true to their influences which include Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio. Their new album is called Black Eyed Children and like any great Metal Album, it would not be complete without amazing album artwork. Black Eyed Children definitely has an album cover that grabs your attention and at the same time creeps you out a bit.
To begin with, if you have never heard Astral Doors, when you first hear vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson you may think that you are listening to a band fronted by Ronnie James Dio. The first track on the album “We Cry Out” showcases those similarities. Throughout the album, you continue to hear hints of Dio in Johansson’s vocals but the more you listen to him, the more you realize how talented he is in his own right and not just because he sounds like the great Dio. This guy has amazing pipes.
As the album continues some of my favorite guitar work can be found on the song “Die on Stage.” This song is catchy, heavy and fast paced with great riffs and blazing guitar work. I found myself listening to this track multiple times; however, my favorite track on the album is the title track “Black Eyed Children.” It is a dark track that uses classical organ to make it sound even darker. It is a fairly long song with a couple of shifts in momentum that help it get more ominous as the track progresses. “Jesus Christ Movie Star” is a very good track and does not deserve to be listed as a bonus track. It opens with a preacher addressing a congregation asking them to open their hearts and their wallets. The song is up beat with some catchy satirical lyrics. It is perfect way to end a great album. Amen.
Black Eyed Children is the perfect album to celebrate the return of Astral Doors to the metal scene. If you are an Astral Doors fan you won’t be disappointed. If you have never heard Astral Doors it is time for you pick up Black Eyed Children and be prepared to become a fan. Black Eyed Children will be released on March 31, 2017.