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A band gone and died. - 20%

Empyreal, June 15th, 2010

What is the deal with Astral Doors? Every few years they come back to…well, I don’t really know why they come back. They just do. Their last album New Revelation was pretty terrible, and I was not looking forward to this one because of that. I mean, I don’t think I’ve seen a band go further downhill without majorly changing styles or losing prominent songwriters, and this album deeply, deeply pisses me off, as I used to be a pretty big fan of this band. But all good things must come to an end, so let me put the final nail in the coffin of my appreciation for Astral Doors as I review Requiem of Time.

Rockish guitar riffs and catchy choruses - pretty much the only musical description necessary - is a good formula on its own, except it takes a lot of talent to make it work at 59 minutes like this album is. Talent that this band does not have. Fuck, this is vapid. That’s the best word for it. The songs chug along lifelessly without cooking up a pulse, like some kind of geriatric Dio rip off, with as grating a guitar tone as these guys ever had; still as annoyingly crunchy and oversaturated as ever I see. Nils Patrick Johansson continues wasting his time singing these dullard vocal lines, but to be fair, even he’s starting to sound bored, so maybe there’s hope he will move on to somewhere better worth his talent. I know he can do much better than the yapping crap he is singing on this album.

There’s just nothing about this that is in any way interesting. I mean…honestly, this is what you’re giving us? There is no drama built up here, no tension to be found, no power flowing through my speakers…where’s the substance? Where’s the passion? This is heavy metal by numbers, only a billion times worse than what that entails. These songs aren’t even well written. Every once in a while you get an okay chorus or a set of riffs that isn’t bad, but the band just doesn’t know where to go with them at all anymore – they seem to have lost their flame entirely. Listen to awful clunkers like “Blood River” and “St. Peter’s Cross,” or complete annoying shit like “The Healer,” all of which are practically textbook examples of how not to do this kind of heavy metal. Riffs that go nowhere wrapped up in an almost nonexistent structure with choruses that are mostly annoying when they’re not just completely unmemorable…seriously, guys, demo bands do better stuff than this!

There is a dubiously tame rock influence at hand here that serves only to dilute the material further of any kind of flame. That’s the thing with this – where in a normal band the combination of instruments and musical influence would strengthen the mix and make it stand out more in proportion to how varied, powerful or well written it was, here it’s like some sort of vile electrical charge effect, where everything introduced cancels out everything else, resulting in a clean, flat line of emotional and textural absence on all fronts. Nothing about this is in any way worth your time. An album so devoid of anything redeeming that it might as well not exist at all. It wouldn’t even matter if this wasn’t an hour long; it would still suck no matter what with the way these guys are putting songs together. As transparent, hollow and fraudulent as they come, I think it’s safe to say Astral Doors is done.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com