By Colonel Angus

Astral Doors is one of those bands that always seems to put out good quality metal but never seems to get to that next step in creating that signature sound.  I like their material and Jerusalem is quite the solid release but (and there is always a “but”) they still live in the land of Dio .  Now, normally that would be a good thing if this was their first or second album but having a half dozen albums under their belt makes it a bit repetitive.  I know some fans will love this record, especially after "Requiem Of Time", but I like to hear a band grow.  It’s great that they picked a formula and stuck with it but I would love to hear them move out of the box once in a while; stay traditional metal but start adding their own little twists so that when I hear part of a song, I know it is Astral Doors.  I’m being harsh on what really is a good CD.  Songs like “Suicide Rime” and The Battle Of Jacob’s Ford” are just two of the tracks that stand out as being well written, well played songs.  I just can’t get past the Dio-esque “ Pearl Harbor ” and “Babylon Rise”.  The latter has “Stand Up And Shout” written all over it.  Let’s not forget that you have to have the epic sounding tunes also so here we get “Lost Crucifix” and album closer “ Jerusalem ”.

I’ve read that Nils Patrick Johansson sound like Ronnie James Dio but I don’t hear it.  His vocal performances have always been really solid and "Jerusalem" is no different.  I like his vocals and he does sing in Dio’s style but he does have a voice of his own.  Joachim Norlund is definitely channeling the Vivian Campbell of 1983.  If you like the guitar sound and playing on "Holy Diver" and "The Last In Line", then you’ll love "Jerusalem" .  Ulf Lagerstroem (bass) and Johan Linstedt (drums) put in quality performances and to round things off, Joakim Roberg adds keyboards to finish off the tunes.  All of these guys know their way around the respective instruments, I just wish they were a little more imaginative when it game to song writing.

Metalville (their record label) has a good album on their hands and Astral Doors will always deliver a quality solid release.  I just wish they would develop their own style and stop repeating what has already been done.  These guys certainly have the talent to make a great record.  I just feel that Jerusalem is just not that CD.  It’s good but not great and in these times when fans don’t have as much extra cash, good is just not good enough.