posted on 1/2012 By:
Astral Doors began life with the stated intent of paying homage to the likes of Dio, Dio-fronted Black Sabbath, and Dio-fronted Rainbow. So it’s safe to say that they sound a lot like Dio.
But that’s far from a bad thing.
Jerusalem is the band’s sixth full-length, and it doesn’t deviate from their mission statement. With tracks like “Lost Crucifix,” “Babylon Rise” and “Child Of Rock ‘N’ Roll,” these Doors more-than-adequately ape all things Ronnie James, in loving tribute to the Elf King and all his various projects.
Given the nature of their secondhand sound, Astral Doors has never been among my favorite bands, but of course, I love Dio so I dig what these guys do, even if I seldom reach for it when I’m cherry-picking from my collection. (I own Holy Diver and The Last In Line and Sacred Heart, among all others, so I don’t necessarily need another one – but that said, Astral Doors is still as good as or better than a large majority of power / trad metal outfits, borrowed aesthetic or not, and Jerusalem is among the best of the handful of Astral Doors records I own.)
Where Jerusalem succeeds above its brethren is simply in the quality of its songs – these are some great trad metal tunes, with Nils Patrik Johannson’s leathery vocals and a series of catchy riffs. Originality be damned, these tunes just rock – the belated G.W. Bush-baiting of “Operation Freedom,” the soaring chorus of “Suicide Rime,” the nearly Dio-quoting “Child Of Rock ‘N’ Roll,” which evokes the man’s own “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children” without blatant plagiarism. The production is solid, polished without sounding slick, and the performances fit the songs perfectly.
Those looking for anything remotely approaching progression won’t necessarily find it here – this is power/trad metal, plain and simple, well done and enjoyable, and that’s all there is to it. Traditional metal fans (and particularly Dio fans) in search of a sound-alike glory will find Jerusalem a very enjoyable platter of classic metal, a quality paean to yesteryear that feels fresh and vibrant even as it openly revels in days long past.
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