Astral Doors - Worship or Die

Astral Doors Worship or Die cover
Astral Doors
Worship or Die
Metalville Records
Astral Doors have been around for a while, releasing albums that seem to hardly have managed to register with fans around the world. Their singer Nils Johansson, whose voice sounds like a hoarse Biff Byfford, attempting to impersonate Dio, had more success while fronting Sabaton’s offshoot band Civil War, before being substituted by Darkology’s former singer Kelly Sundown Carpenter, has been with them since the beginning, while trying to also keep other bands “happening”, but with little success.
Nothing changes with “Worship or Die”, their eighth effort; it is typical heavy metal, which quite often strays from being dark and heavy, and sounding more cheery and europower-like than what would make sense with the type of vocals they have. Think, Dio (the band) with bits of Saxon, as they started to wither up a bit and insert more modern influences from bands like Dream Evil, Firewind and Hammerfall, only not as good or memorable.
While they are not terrible, their inability to write truly original and memorable riff that would drive their songs and Johansson’s rather monotonous delivery that you’re either bound to love or hate (and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I tend to side with the haterz…) keeps any good ideas that they have from taking flight. There are quite a few nice passages in songs like “This Must be Paradise”, the title track, “Ride the Clouds” and even the UDO like “St.Petersburg”, but they’re only ideas, a nice chorus here or a nice solo there, with hardly a full song that managed to win me over.
As such, the band hardly manages to further their fandom, let alone expand it… with bands old (Tad Norose) and new (Bloodbound) managing to pull this style much better, this feels like a release by a band which is likely only to pray to the converted.