If one listened to Testament of Rock: The Best of Astral Doors without knowing anything about the history of this Swedish band, it would be easy to assume that the material was recorded in the 1970s or 1980s. Astral Doors are a melodic heavy metal outfit whose main influences include Rainbow, mid-'70s Deep Purple, the late Ronnie James Dio, and Dio-era Black Sabbath (as in 1980's Heaven and Hell and 1981's Mob Rules). In fact, lead singer Nils Patrik Johansson favors a gruff vocal style that is right out of Dio and David Coverdale (who was a member of Deep Purple and, after that, Whitesnake). But despite all the '70s-isms and '80s-isms that are heard on Testament of Rock, none of the 14 songs on this 60-minute CD were actually recorded in the '70s or '80s. Astral Doors didn't exist before 2002, and Testament of Rock consists mostly of previously released recordings from the 2000s. Astral Doors are retro all the way and make no bones about their allegiance to one of metal's bygone eras; they are proudly oblivious to post-'80s developments in the metal/hard rock world. But if you're going to be derivative, at least be enjoyably derivative -- and everything picked for this best-of is enjoyable. From the melodies to the infectious hooks to the lyrics, Testament of Rock is very easy to like if one is a die-hard fan of old-school ‘70s and ‘80s metal. Astral Doors' albums can be quite predictable, but the tunes chosen for Testament of Rock are solid and are delivered with plenty of passion and conviction. For headbangers who have never acquired an Astral Doors album and want to check them out for the first time, Testament of Rock: The Best of Astral Doors would be the best place to get acquainted with these Swedish retro-metallers.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson