Norway’s Ghost Avenue – formerly known as Ghost many moons ago – are returning to action with a second album a full four years after their self-titled debut hit the streets, and pretty solid stuff it is too.

As with so many releases these days, it’s a concept album dealing with a dystopian future wherein Aliens rule the earth leaving mankind to fight a tooth and nail battle for survival, et cetera et cetera, but you needn’t let that put you off from having a listen as, a few sound effects acting as segues between tracks apart theres nothing here to suggest you’re in the middle of a grand storytelling event.

Which is good, because all we’re really interested in here at Sentinel Daily is metal, and there’s plenty of that on offer to keep most fans of the genre happy.

Riffy, muscular hard rock-tinged metal is actually the order of the day, with both guitarists – André Berger and Øystein Wiik– standing front and centre in a spectacular mix that really punches out of the speakers with clarity and power. Even bassist Magnus Liseter gets a look in which is often not the case with metal of this type, his driving style propelling songs like Affection with real gusto.

Affection is actually the album in microcosm; Great riffage, flashy solos, a booming rhythm section and some strident vocalising from Kim Ihsak Sandvik. If there’s any complaint, it’s that, as they do on this song, the band tends to hammer the chorus into the ground if they think they’re onto a good ‘un. This over repetition gets a bit tiresome after a while, especially as Sandvik doesn’t really vary his delivery as he sings the same lines over and over again.

But that’s a small complaint really, with songs like the pounding Dancing With the Devil and excellent closer The Ace offering more than enough by way of happy diversion for the listener.

Polished, classy stuff all round then, and Ghost Avenue show that they have a firm grasp of what makes a classy heavy rock album throughout. It might drag a little in places, but overall this is high quality material delivered with oomph and passion.