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Requiem of Boredom - 35%

Darth_Roxor, March 20th, 2010

Wait a minute. Is this band the same people who recorded Of the Son and the Father and Astralism, the two pretty good and asskicking old-school-ish power metal albums heavily inspired by Dio? Because I don't quite believe that. Requiem of Time feels like the band gathered around and said 'Hey guys, let's produce *THE!* most generic and lifeless power metal album in existence'.

While the cd starts off more or less promising with Testament of Rock, which is an up-tempo 'metal anthem' the likes of Astralism's 'In Rock we Trust', even there, we can spot certain signals about what is to come. First, the track is too long, and after two or three minutes it just gets repetitive, since it's basically just re-hashing the same riff and 'we're so metal!' feel for the rest of the track, and the fairly often repeated 'We'll never stop; forever strong, it goes on and on and on ' line of the chorus becomes quite ironic. Second, while the lyrics were never really a high point of Astral Doors because they were often silly and made no sense, here they're often downright idiotic, like this passage from Testament of Rock:

Get lost you posers of fraud; low life you run with the pack
Stay true, no mainstream betray;
We live as we learn
Let us take you to burn

'Look at us folks, we're so metal'.

And after Testament of Rock, it only gets worse, with a small incline by the end. Basically, nearly each song here is done in the safest way possible: most of them start kind of promising with some fast riffs to get your interest, but then the 'introes' stop, and everything just... slows down. But it doesn't slow down to a 'power ballad' or something like that, no. All the songs are kept at a pace not too fast, but not too slow either, like the musicians were afraid that going further down either line would be too dangerous and people might not like it, but the ending result is that the songs lack any characteristics other than some particularly cringe-worthy moments, like the horribly candy-coated chorus of Power and the Glory, pretty much the whole track Blood River, which has a rather bad and out-of-tune riff, a horrible acoustic interlude and verse structure, with the guitars playing single and seldom notes while Johansson yaps about, or the overly jolly 'put your hands in the air!' feel of Call of the Wild, which also shoves incredibly stupid lyrics into your face:

You must go, you're no good
I'm so tired of the creatures only here to ruin my world
Shut your mouth, nobody cares; this is the call of the wild
...and I'm still alive.

And that's basically how the whole album feels. The songs are either idiotic and bad, like Blood River, Power and the Glory, Call of the Wild and Metal DJ (which is another 'metal anthem', but I think the title alone says a lot about its quality. It's so cheesy it's not good for anything other than a laugh, really), or completely generic and forgettable like anything other than the tracks mentioned previously, and the ones mentioned two paragraphs below.

As for the musicianship, bass is very much non-existent, drums are actually pretty good all around, but forget about double-bass other than for a couple of songs, guitars are 'somewhere out there' with an occasional solo thrown in. Nothing to really write home about, since the instruments *can't* really shine or experiment anywhere, because song structures are streamlined and 'safe' to the point of stupidity. Nils Johansson still sounds like Dio, but here he also tries to pour in some originality, with a bit higher-pitched vocals here and there, but... it doesn't really do him any good (again, Power and the Glory. This track will probably haunt me for the rest of my days).

So what exactly *is* acceptable about this album to warrant a score of 35? Well, of all the fourteen tracks, at least four are somewhat okay, with one being really good. Testament of Rock is ok when you forget about the stupid lyrics and repetition. So Many Days So Many Nights is another ok track, with some fast riffing and nice drumming, the same with The Healer, but that one also has a pretty catchy chorus, and a neat keyboard line that somehow reminds me of Eric Brosius' soundtrack for the video game System Shock 2. And the fourth is Greenfield of Life - definitely the only real highlight of the whole cd. Fast, aggressive, explosive, it's very akin to Black Rain from Astralism, and perfectly shows that Astral Doors should really focus on releasing nothing other than such speedy rockers, because everything other ends up so hideously uninspired and generic it makes you fall asleep.

So in the end, what is Requiem of Time? It's a bland... oh, sorry, I mean *blend*, of a 45-minutes-long soporific drug, 8 minutes of 'something else' (Testament of Rock and So Many Days So Many Nights), and 7 minutes of quality material (Greenfield of Life and The Healer). My advice would be to only get the 'quality material', add it somewhere to your Astralism folder and pretend they're obscure Japanese bonus tracks, because all the other songs here could make a dictionary entry for the phrase 'Generic Power Metal'.