Review Summary: The climax of Blind Guardian's career, or just the beginning of something even more special...?
When Blind Guardian reached Imaginations From The Other Side in 1995, the band was already regarded as one of the best power metal acts in Europe. When the album was released, they were known to be the masters of the genre.
Strangely enough, the album has a feel of not quite slotting together. All of the songs are absolutely fantastic, but when you listen to the album as a whole there is some feeling that it doesn’t quite flow correctly. This may well be because of it’s more “heavy” metal orientation, rather than the fact any of the songs let the album down.
The album kicks off with a great piece in the 7-minute long title track. This song for me goes on that little bit too long (which is quite strange, as I generally love the long 6-minute plus Blind Guardian tracks!), mainly because it doesn’t offer anything new after the second chorus. The end of the second verse - “Do you know If Merlin did exist…” – is possibly one of the best pieces of songwriting in Blind Guardian’s vast repertoire, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. There are no poorly written songs throughout, and in fact it is perhaps fair to say that since this album there have only been a couple awful songs by Blind Guardian.
I’m Alive never fails to impress, with its powerful chorus and fantastic guitar solos, whilst A Past And Future Secret continues the much-loved power ballad sequence started by the magnificent Lord of the Rings (from Tales Of The Twilight World).
My personal favourites of the rest of the album are The Script For My Requiem, which features some of Hansi’s best vocals; Bright Eyes, which, despite the instruments not being harmonious in any regard whatsoever, every time makes me want to pick up a guitar and play along (if only I could!!); and finally my favourite from the album, And The Story Ends, which features the best of Hansi’s vocal abilities on the album, and two absolutely stupendous guitar solos which never fail to impress and amaze!
There is but one minor flaw in the album, Born In A Mourning Hall, but even this song has enough in it to be ranked as a middling Blind Guardian song. The song just doesn’t quite have the power or vocals of any of the others, and surrounded by such an incredible array of classics and masterpieces, it feels rather lonesome and tired.
This album is in my humble opinion the best Blind Guardian have ever been. Others would argue that Nightfall In Middle Earth is better, but for me the flaw of that album is the annoying interludes. Only their latest album can threaten Imaginations’ superiority as the pinnacle of their musical career. For me, it is Blind Guardian’s duty to match and better this album – and even if they cannot, they will always come up with some fantastic songs along the way!