ASTRAL KINGDOM – The Astral Kingdom

ASTRAL KINGDOM - The Astral Kingdom
  • 7/10
    ASTRAL KINGDOM - The Astral Kingdom - 7/10


Release date: October 12, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Wow, that was fast. This is already the third demo from the Swedish Power Metal guys in just over one year! Their first sign of life was the decent, but also unspectacular, Demo Power Metal Through The Universe, followed by Into The Fire, which showed a significant step forward for the band. Now they released demo number three, called The Astral Kingdom. If the improvement between demos one and two was significant, the increase in quality between demos two and three is a quantum leap for the band.

But, better to take this one step at a time. There has been a change in line-up, as the band tried to pursue their ambitions more seriously, which one of their guitarists obviously was not able to do. Erik Wallen is the new guy on the six string, but apart from that everything remains more or less the same. More, because they do not stray from the path of their chosen style, less because their songwriting considerably has become more sophisticated.

Already the opening track “Face Your Demons” demonstrates the new abilities: straight, powerful Metal with singer Robert Nilsson exhibiting the greatest step up in quality. Where his voice and his singing was a point of criticism, he now hardly leaves anything to be desired. He is more powerful, his melodies are better, and also the production is several notches up from last time, so that this song is the best they have written so far. But, the other four songs are not much worse: “Standing In The Light” hits the same spot as the opening track, and the long band hymn “The Astral Kingdom” is a song that will certainly be played live for the years to come and is a sure bet to be a highlight of every gig Astral Kingdom will play.

Special mention is deserved for the last song “The Field Of Honour,” where the band explores a more epic terrain and performs a fine, although almost a bit corny, Power Ballad. Even the weakest track on the EP, “Escape Your Fate,” is better than any song they released on the other two demo CDs. This song just suffers from the lack of memorable guitar parts where a bit more variety and originality could improve the songwriting, something that is to some extent true for most compositions.

The Astral Kingdom is a real surprise, and genre fans need to check this out. Remember, this is still a self-recorded demo, so the question will be when will the band be signed, and by whom. A debut album based on this recording promises to become a potential Power Metal classic in the future. It should be only a matter of time until we can hold a regular, professional release in our hands.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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