ASTRAL DOORS – Black Eyed Children

ASTRAL DOORS - Black Eyed Children
  • 5.5/10
    ASTRAL DOORS - Black Eyed Children - 5.5/10


Release date: April 28, 2017

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For their eighth album, Black Eyed Children, veteran Swedish rockers Astral Doors have released an album steeped in dark themes of despair, death and spiritual struggle.  Much has been written regarding the band’s lead singer, Nils Patrik Johansson’s, similarity to Ronnie James Dio.  His style is similar, but he has a distinctive rough edge.  Perhaps a better comparison would be Mike Howe from Metal Church.  Johansson’s vocals reflect the band’s apparent musical influences of Ronnie James Dio’s work with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and as a solo artist.

Sonically, the guitar tone is full and heavy and the band often employs the use of a rock organ to create a unique, full sound.  Unfortunately for this album, a song writing propensity for lyrical overload leaves little room for the music to breathe and a production mix strong on vocals and lacking depth for the drums leaves the overall sound harsh and brittle.

Despite these challenges, there are strong songs on the album.  The song “Walls” is a plodding riff monster that doesn’t get overwhelmed by too much lyrical presence.  It’s the best constructed song on the album featuring an atmospheric intro, a chorus complementing the guitar riff and a lonely keyboard outro.  The mid-tempo “Die On Stage” leads with a heavy rock organ which eventually pairs with the guitar to provide a thunderous back drop for a lyrically positive song despite the song’s title.

Fans of Melodic Metal who enjoy songs dominated by RJD style vocals will enjoy Black Eyed Children. Others may feel the album needs more breathing room between the vocals.



  • Zac Halter

    Zac was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. His interest in heavy music began in the 70s with his father’s Johnny Cash albums. After cousins introduced him to Steppenwolf, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, KISS, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, Johnny Cash didn’t stand a chance. The 80s were spent in full pursuit of everything Metal: searching for new music at record stores, listening to albums, studying the covers and sleeves, and attending concerts. In the 90s, he preferred Death Metal over Grunge and hosted the Death Metal Juggernaut on WUPX in Marquette, Michigan. It was advertised as the only prime time Death Metal radio show in the country.

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