Blind Guardian
Beyond the Red Mirror


4.5
superb

Review

by Trevor Schneider USER (22 Reviews)
February 1st, 2015 | 170 replies


Release Date: 02/03/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Beyond the Red Mirror is the best album Blind Guardian has released since A Night at the Opera, and a triumphant middle finger to Father Time"

Time is a cruel master.

Metalheads like me have continuously witnessed our favorite bands fall from grace at the hands of Father Time. Even some of the biggest, best, and most talented artists to ever grace the stage were unable to hide from his bewitching grasp. Childhood favorites of mine including Metallica, Slayer, and Sabbath released a flurry of downright embarrassing material, and even the lucky ones (Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, to name a few) faced noticeable hiccups and difficulties. One band, however, has inexplicably managed to cheat Time himself, and still boasts an untarnished legacy after almost three decades of existence. This band, of course, is Blind Guardian, a power metal quintet hailing from West Germany.

Their latest album, Beyond the Red Mirror, is exactly how you would expect a Blind Guardian album to sound in 2015; soaring vocals courtesy of Hansi Kursch, blistering guitar work, relentless double bass drumming, and a suitably bombastic orchestrated section. If you’re not a fan of the band’s over-the-top style, this record will do nothing to change your mind. However, to those well-acquainted with their previous work, this will likely be one of the most fulfilling releases of the year.

The album opens with "The Ninth Wave," a heavily orchestrated track that begins with distant chanting before devolving into the tried-and-true Blind Guardian formula, albeit with slightly more technologically-generated melodies than in previous releases. As should be expected, the song is gloriously drawn-out and pretentious, which is where the band truly shines. It’s a worthy opening track, although doesn't quite reach the incredibly high bar set by their last opener, “Sacred Worlds.”

From there, the record delivers everything one would expect from Blind Guardian. A welcome blend of old and new, songs such as “The Holy Grail” would have been right at home on Nightfall in Middle-Earth while first (and only) single “Twilight of the Gods” has a feeling reminiscent of A Night at the Opera. Due to this, this is an album that will have something for everyone; an attribute that I would argue is quite welcome.

Along with the aforementioned “The Holy Grail,” highlights include the orchestra-heavy “The Throne,” (which is highly reminiscent of “Sacred Worlds”) and triumphant closer “Grand Parade.” By far the most impressive quality Beyond the Red Mirror boasts is its remarkable consistency; every single song on here is worth listening to, even the bonus tracks.

The only criticism I have regarding Beyond the Red Mirror is its lack of “classic” Blind Guardian songs, as nothing on here will absolutely blow your mind in the same way as “Into the Storm” or “Mirror Mirror” did in 1998 (although “The Holy Grail” comes damn close). However, the album’s consistency more than makes up for it, even if the tracks are consistently “superb” rather than “classic.”

Beyond the Red Mirror is the best album Blind Guardian has released since A Night at the Opera, and a triumphant middle finger to Father Time, who has seemingly no control over the power metal giants. Though it’s not likely to change the minds of those unimpressed with the band’s previous work, BG’s latest offering will firmly plant itself in any power metal fan’s rotation for months, even years, to come.



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user ratings (223)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
kvltwalter (4)
More symphony, more epic, and more power is on this plate of metal deliciousness...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Ebola
January 31st 2015


2812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

First review, constructive criticism is welcome.



The Holy Grail kicks so much ass.



Titan
January 31st 2015


17856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I enjoyed At The Edge Of Time more than this, particularly because of the opener which you mentioned, Valkyries, and Wheel Of Time. This album doesn't really pick up for me until the 5th track, Ashes Of Eternity. With that said, The Throne is my favorite song here and i will admit, the album is a slow burner and is getting closer to a 3.5. The Holy Grail is a great tune as well like you mentioned but I do find Grand Parade to be overrated.



Enjoy a pos my friend, this record was screaming for a review.

Titan
January 31st 2015


17856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

'Kurcsh'



Kursch

Ebola
January 31st 2015


2812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks mate!

And didn't catch that, damn foreign names

Sabrutin
February 1st 2015


4422 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, enjoyable to read and informative about the music, pos'd. I will probably check this out.

Digging: Paradise Lost - Medusa

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2015


10454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great write up man, have a pos.



I'm not a big fan of the album even though I haven't listened to it as much as I should. However, that's reasonable since I enjoy their pre-ANATO albums significantly more than what followed it. I think this has serious issues with its production and the opening two tracks are pretty sub par for Blind Guardian.

Ebola
February 1st 2015


2812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks for the positive feedback!



I would definitely give it a few more listens before coming to a conclusion; it's a grower, for sure. I'm not sure if you have the CD yet, but if you don't, the official production is much better than it is on YouTube or wherever else one might find it. I listened to it many, many times on the Internet before the CD was officially released, and it's certainly a noticeable difference.

emester
February 1st 2015


8137 Comments


Great review. pos'd

Really wasnt a fan of this record, even considering how much I usually dig Blind Guardian. The production is just so weak imo.

Digging: White Ward - Futility Report

Titan
February 1st 2015


17856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

for those that enjoy this band, nice 15 minute track by track commentary from Hansi and Andre.......pretty cool artwork as well



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRsACh9ut9U

Tunaboy45
February 1st 2015


15496 Comments


Great review, pos. Might have to check this out.

Digging: The National - Sleep Well Beast

Titan
February 1st 2015


17856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Throne man, The Throne

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2015


16355 Comments


These album covers are really visually overwhelming

Tunaboy45
February 1st 2015


15496 Comments


[2] always thought that haha

Ebola
February 1st 2015


2812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

[3] I absolutely cannot argue with that. Imaginations' cover is especially insane.

donovan909
February 1st 2015


27 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Sorry, the songs just aren't there. I absolutely love Blind Guardian and they have never left my regular rotation in 15 years. This album is weak. The song quality is not indicative of a 5 year wait....this sounds recycled and just plain uninspired. I've gave it 3 spins all the way through and nothing really grabs me...every album has had a least 2 or 3 tracks that were immediate. As others have noted, the production is partially to blame, the album sounds muddy compared to the stellar sound of the last few.

Ebola
February 1st 2015


2812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I appreciate that opinion, but I just don't hear it like that. Even on the first listen, multiple

tracks really stuck out to me, and I have since grown to enjoy every single song immensely.

The production also doesn't strike me as particularly bad, but I've never been much of an audiophile

so that's not something I can give a great opinion on.

Hopefully the album will grow on you, and thanks for reading!

LepreCon
February 1st 2015


5419 Comments


Good review man. Stoked as fuck to hear this, 'Twilight of the Gods' was a beastly jam.

Titan
February 1st 2015


17856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@donovan, i agree with you and felt the same..... took me about 7 spins before it started to grab......first few tracks are the weakest which is part of the problem

elcrawfodor
February 1st 2015


1264 Comments


First sentence should be "Time is a cruel mistress of her own lust"

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 2nd 2015


10454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

TIME WHAT IS TIME



I WISH I KNEW HOW TO TELL YOU WHY



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