EXCELLENT - is the first word that springs to mind, when I am listening to this debut album from Swedish band Astral Doors.
Playing traditional heavy metal like we know and love from Rainbow (Long Live Rock 'n' Roll-era), Black Sabbath (Tyr-era) and the master himself Ronnie James Dio (first 3 albums).
And with a vocalist (Nils Patrik Johansson) in their ranks that is a perfect combination between Ronnie James Dio and Tony Martin, big words I know, but he's that good! He sings with emotion, power and is a blessing to listen to and with the rest of the band also doing a excellent job, makes this album one of the most impressive debut albums all Year.
All 11 tracks are great, played with a lot of emotion, melody and excellent mixed by Peter Tägtgren. Produced by the band itself, this is how traditional metal should sound and I would pick Astral Doors over any new true metal band any day, because eventhough they aren't that original, they still makes so much fun listening to. Just take a track like "Hungry People" (could have been on Dio's Holy Diver) or "The Trojan Horse" with it's excellent Hammond organ and I could continue picking tracks because this is such a great album without any weak spots at all.
So to cut this review short - this album should be on your shopping list, if you like METAL (PERIOD). It's as easy as this, and I am not kidding you - IT ROCKS ALL OVER THE PLACE.