Astral Doors – ‘Worship Or Die
Album Review By Adam McCann
Metalville Records/Heavy Metal
When vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson stepped down as vocalist of Civil War in 2016, it promised a return to form for Astral Doors, Johansson was now able to fully concentrate on just one band, but unfortunately the subsequent album ‘Black Eyed Children’ failed to live up to the expectations of fans and therefore left something of an anti-climax in anticipation of the bands latest album ‘Worship Or Die’.
The lack of pressure on Astral Doors seems to have paid dividends, ‘Worship Or Die’ is a welcome return to form for the band. As a group, Astral Doors seem to be re-energized and firing on all cylinders with an album which delivers catchy songs and a well-crafted atmosphere. Furthermore, Johansson no longer sounds as if he’s going through the motions with his powerful voice back on top of its game. Yet, with ‘Worship Or Die’, there is a swing in change of subject material, ‘St. Petersburg’, ‘Desperado’ and ‘Triumph And Superiority’ have all the commanding authority of Civil War getting the Astral Doors treatment and it works exceptionally well. However, the full plaudits for this album go to the magnificent ‘Concrete Heart’ and ‘Forgive Me Father’; the former is a superb slice of hard rock which drips with all the memorability and power of an 80’s rock ballad, whilst the latter oozes with melody, an open scar worn on the sleeve of Johansson that really allows the listener to empathise with Astral Doors.
Yes, some of the songs here are quite weak compared to others, the opening track ‘Night Of The Hunter’ does little to capture the listener’s attention, but what Astral Doors have delivered is an album which not so much turns the band back in the right direction, but rather takes a huge leap forward. ‘Worship Or Die’ is a solid album of heavy metal and is a worthy addition to any fan of this genre.
Rating : 76/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann