"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Astral Doors - "Testament of Rock - The Best of Astral Doors" (CD)

Astral Doors - "Testament of Rock - The Best of Astral Doors" CD cover image

"Testament of Rock - The Best of Astral Doors" track listing:

1. Cloudbreaker
2. Time to Rock
3. Of the Son and ...
4. Black Rain
5. Power and the G ...
6. Bride of Christ
7. Slay the Dragon
8. New Revelation
9. London Caves
10. Evil is Forever
11. Lionheart
12. Quisling
13. Victory
14. Testament of Rock

Reviewed by on December 20, 2010

"Mighty riffing, majestic vocals and supreme solos are the order of the day on 'Testament of Rock - The Best of Astral Doors,' a greatest hits collection that hits harder than most."

Since 2002, Astral Doors has been rocking across its native Sweden and the rest of Europe, with riffs and vocals that put the power in power metal. Several albums, tours, festivals and appearances with the likes of Grave Digger and Doro Pesch later, the band has come out with its first best-of collection, "Testament of Rock - The Best of Astral Doors." With tracks mostly picked by fans (a previously unheard track, "Victory," completes the collection), the album truly is a testament to the band's ability to combine near-operatic majesty with the ability to rock the hell out.

The press kit explains that guitarist Joachim Nordlund and drummer Johan Lindstedt were inspired to create songs in the vein of Dio, Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Deep Purple. Mission accomplished, boys. Of course, that mission wouldn't have succeeded without a superb singer, able to project the same sort of power as the late, great Ronnie James Dio. Nils Patrik Johansson fills the bill nicely, with a Dio-esque growl on tunes like "Bride of Christ," which has him also exploring some higher-range vocals.

The dual-guitar assault of Nordlund and Martin Haglund is particularly potent on faster songs like "Black Rain" and the definitely Dio-inspired "Time to Rock." Also impressive is the keyboard-playing by Jocke Roberg, which has a Jon Lord feel, with some excellent fills on "Time to Rock" and an excellent, if all-too-short solo on "Slay the Dragon."

Given that this is a greatest hits package, it's probably not surprising that there's only a couple bum tracks out of the 14. "New Revelation" has Johansson singing in a far different manner than on any of the other tracks, with an over-reliance on way-too-polished-sounding synthesizer. The previously unissued track, "Victory," is also not particularly noteworthy, other than for its big Viking-style chanting in the opening.

Mighty riffing, majestic vocals and supreme solos are the order of the day on "Testament of Rock - The Best of Astral Doors," a greatest hits collection that hits harder than most. This is some of the most powerful power metal out there.

Highs: "Bride of Christ," "Slay the Dragon," "Time to Rock" and "Black Rain."

Lows: "New Revelation" and the previously unissued "Victory."

Bottom line: An excellent greatest hits collection full of powerful power metal.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)