Blind Guardian
Nightfall in Middle-Earth


5.0
classic

Review

by Hitroshimite USER (1 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 102 replies | 26,830 views


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist


10 of 15 thought this review was well written

This is my first review, so I can guarantee it's going to be pretty bad. Not that I care, I just thought it was fair to warn you.

Blind Guardian is one of the most well known power metal bands out there, and with good reason: they are an amazingly talented group of individuals. For those unfamiliar with Blind Guardian's style, they're what you'd get if you mixed the pseudo-operatic vocals of Iron Maiden, Speed and Intensity of Metallica, the catchy chorus's of Queen and ungodly amount of kickass. Formed in 1985 in Krefeld, Germany, Blind Guardian originally went by the name "Lucifer's Heritage". Since then, they've released 10 really kickass albums that everybody should own (especially their later works). This particular album is a concept album of sorts, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Silmarillion.

Anyways, the band is:
Hansi Kursch - Vocals/Backing Vocals
Andre Olbrich - Guitars
Marcus Siepen - Rhythm Guitars
Thomas 'Thomen' Stauch - Drums

Guest Musicians on this Album:
Oliver Holzwarth - Bass/Fretless Bass
Mathias Wienser - Keyboards/Sound Effects
Micheal Schuren - Grand Piano
Max Zelzner - Flute/Alto Flute

Now, onto the Tracks

Note: Some of the tracks on this album are nothing more than short monologues/skits, or short instrumental interludes. While they certainly are enjoyable, there's really no point in reviewing them.

2. Into the Storm (4:24)
After the little intro skit, were suddenly thrust into the Albums first real song. There’s a dong, then the opening riff comes in like a swift kick to the nuts (which is a good thing in a musical context). On this track we’re introduced to the vocal harmonies and catchy hooks that are part of Blind Guardians signature sound. There’s some very melodic lead work near the middle of the track, which works very well. A very high-energy track.
4/5

4. Nightfall (4:35)
The polar opposite of Into the Storm, this is a nice power ballad from BG. At first I didn't like it, but now I love it! Blind Guardians songs are always well crafted and arranged, and this is no exception. It is, simply put, a masterpiece of music! From the haunting flutes, so Hansi's dynamic vocals (the man can sing like an angel, bark like a hell beast and do everything in between) to the brilliant lead work, everything flows and fits together to create one absolutely brilliant song!
5/5

6. The Curse of Feaner (5:41)
Another song that has grown on me. More dynamic vocals and lead work! Andre Olbrich's use of lead guitar is very unique. Instead of just playing shred-solos, he plays melodies almost the whole song. Also, his solos are amazingly crafted, being a series of melodies and harmonies instead of just scalar runs and wank. Also, this song has some of my favorite lyrics ever.
4.5/5

8. Blood Tears (5:23)
Blood Tears starts off with an almost hypnotic sounding intro. It begins with an acoustic guitar (with some weird echo effects), some keys and Hansi's unique voice. The whole thing feels quite laid back, having an almost 'dreamy' quality to it. At the 0:57 mark, the electrics and drums come in and things get heavier. At the 3:00 mark we get another brilliant guitar solo from Andre. A great track, but nothing compared to.
4/5

9. Mirror Mirror (5:07)
My favorite song, not just off this album, but off all time. There's a rather restrained intro, with some nice keyboard/guitar harmonies. Then, the vocals come in and everything gets kicked up a notch. The chorus on this song is really good (it has officially replaced Run to the Hills as "the song with my friends when we are wondering around aimlessly"). The lead work on this is really upbeat and catchy, in the fact this whole song is rather up-beat, even by power metal standards. The guitar work on this song always have off an almost 'renaissance-ish' vibe, which is really cool. I really can't say enough about this track, everything about it is absolutely breathtaking!
97/5 (And no, that’s not a typo)

11. Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns) (6:51)
A slower song, and at 6:51 the longest one on the album. More progressive sound than the rest of the album, but I still dig it :). I can't say I like Marcus's clean tone though. Oh well. There's a cool use of synths on this track, and some weird vocal effects. A good song.
4/5

13. Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill) (4:53)
Another great track! The intro slowly builds up with some keyboards, into what is one of the coolest riffs/leads on the album. Hansi's vocals really add to this track. He uses some interesting tones that emphasis the lyrical themes (especially the 'Slowly in fear' part). Lyrically, I believe the song deals with Fingolfin riding alone to face the Dark Lord Morgoth. If I’m not mistaken, and I may be, he lost the battle, but managed to inflict seven wounds, and basically turned the Morgoth from an ominous death-bring to a limping coward (I don’t think he ever fought again after that).
4.5/5

15. Thorn (6:18)
A more somber song. Starts off slower, than it explodes into a heavier section, then it goes back to the softer parts again near the end. Nothing really makes this track standout form the rest, but it’s still a good song.
4/5

16. The Elder (3:39)
A ballad, this song features only a moody piano and Hansi’s vocals. It’s a very melancholy track that has a lot of emotion to it. Very similar to Black Chamber from their album Somewhere far Beyond, only this one is much better.
4/5

18. When Sorrow Sang (4:25)
A faster, more aggressive song. It’s more speed metally than most of the songs on this album, which makes for a nice change. Catchy chorus (on of the best on the album), more amazing lead work, tight rhythm work, what more is there to say?
4.5/5

21. A Dark Passage (6:01) Heavy, yet oddly upbeat at times. Another slower song, but still great! Lyrically, the song deals with the 5th battle. Morgoth was fighting the Elves, and won only because the humans came and betrayer their Elvin brethren, or something like that. The song sounds oddly upbeat for such sad lyrics, but the song is still great. The outro seems kind of out of place and weird though.
4.5/5

Wile song are stronger than others, all the songs on this album are worthwhile. There are some amazing power metal tracks on this album. One of Blind Guardians best, an album that will surely become a classic. I suggest everyone check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

FINAL SCORE: 5/5


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Comments:Add a Comment 
peruviantrooper
July 20th 2004



7 Comments


Awesome Review Man!!.. Poer Metal 4 Ever!!!!!.... Lets keep putting some more Power Metal around here!!.. I already did my part!!!..

ExitWound
July 20th 2004



40 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Have you read the Silmarillion? If you haven't, I suggest you do. The songs will make much more sense. Noldor and The curse of Feanor are the BEST on the album. They are some of the more complex tracks BG have done, next to A Night at the Opera.

Blind Guardian have left their speed behind, grasping the melodies and harmonies and stretching them to new limits. If you're looking for fast=good, which is what this review seems to point to, then you're missing the point of the album. Nightfall in Middle Earth is BG's crown, it's what other power metal bands strive to produce. The songwriting is completely different from their other discs. It broke the barriers of metal into other genres and alerted the world that metal doens't have to be filled with angst to be popular. Nightfall IS a masterpiece, but not because the "drums are cool" or the "riffs rock". It's tells the tale in a light that metal fans should be able to understand, even if it doesn't fly like previous BG albums.

There are no bland tracks on the disc. You can't single out Mirror Mirror as the best when it's not even part of the Silmarillion. Go read the book.

Hitroshimite
July 20th 2004



24 Comments


Have you read the Silmarillion?

Nightfall IS a masterpiece, but not because the "drums are cool" or the "riffs rock". It's tells the tale in a light that metal fans should be able to understand, even if it doesn't fly like previous BG albums.


No, and I don't plan to. I find Tolkien’s writing to be boring. Much like Noldor and the Curse of Feanor

If you're looking for fast=good, which is what this review seems to point to, then you're missing the point of the album.


I'm fast does not = good. But then again, neither does telling a tale in 'a light that metal fans should be able to understand'. If I wanted to listen to a story being told, I'd buy the god**** audio book.

Noldor and The curse of Feanor are the BEST on the album. They are some of the more complex tracks BG have done, next to A Night at the Opera.


Look, the bottom of the line is, Noldor and Feanor bore the hell out of me. They're not awful, but 9 times out of 10 when they come up I hit the 'skip' button.

You can't single out Mirror Mirror as the best when it's not even part of the Silmarillion.


Sure I can! I just did in this review!

ExitWound
July 20th 2004



40 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well then. If you say so....

Skipping tracks on Nightfall is like skipping chapters while reading Lord of the Rings. It just shouldn't happen. I suggest a read of The Silmarillion to better understand the material. Do you even know who the Noldor are or who Feanor was? It just seems silly to rant or rave if you have no clue what the writing is about, that's all.

Mirror Mirror is one of the simplest tracks on the album. Not that simple equals bad, but it is the oddball on the disc for its simplicity.

Hitroshimite
July 20th 2004



24 Comments


Do you even know who the Noldor are or who Feanor was? It just seems silly to rant or rave if you have no clue what the writing is about, that's all.


I could see your point if my review commented on the lyrics, but it doesn't. I'm not rating the lyrics or how well it works as a concept album, I'm rating it by how much I enjoy the music. I don't know anything about Aleister Crowley and I've never read Johnny Got his Gun, but I still enjoy 'Mr. Crowley' and 'One'.

I suggest a read of The Silmarillion to better understand the material.


Eh, we'll see. I'm not sure if my love of Blind Guardian can overcome my...dislike of Tolkiens writing.

The Stormbringer
July 20th 2004



2 Comments


One of the absolute masterpieces and cornerstones of modern Power Metal, just like... any album Blind Guardian have made since Tales from the Twilight World.
ExitWounds put it into words fairly well... BG left a little of their speed behind to explore melodies and complex structures. Although I question ratings for single songs in general, I especially like the songs you (Hitroshimite) don´t see to enjoy too much, e.g. the more progressive ones such as "Noldor" and "Thorn".

ExitWound
July 20th 2004



40 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The point of a CD Review is not just to put into words your opinion of the music, but rather the music as a whole. The Disc is like a book, and each song is a chapter (excluding the cookie cutter pop genre where single ARE made to sell). Even though all discs don't have a conceptual design like Nightfall in Middle Earth, all discs need to stand alone from all others and be judged on their entire content, including songwriting, lyrics, emotions, design, etc. It's a work of art. To exclude one of these parts and have a complete review is not possible. If done, it's a complete personal response to the work, not factual in any way at all.

I don't enjoy Tolkein's writings either. But the Silmarillion is a fantasy marvel. Nothing I've ever read comes close to its power. It's huge, and very long and biblical in nature..but if you can get past that and see the story, it's quite good.

Hitroshimite
July 20th 2004



24 Comments


I did judge the lyrics. I judged that I don't care enough about them to write anything detailed about them.

ExitWound
July 20th 2004



40 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Then leave the masterpieces to someone else to review. This is not a personal attack on you, but rather just a recommendation for future reviews. If you don't care enough about lyrics on a disc, then please don't review the disc. Leave it for someone else who will provide a better foundation for new listeners to judge the purchase on.

The disc rocks in all ways.

Hitroshimite
July 20th 2004



24 Comments


If you don't care enough about lyrics on a disc, then please don't review the disc. Leave it for someone else who will provide a better foundation for new listeners to judge the purchase on.


No.

Penny Lane
July 21st 2004



2 Comments


[QUOTE=ExitWound]...

The disc rocks in all ways.[/QUOTE]

:thumb:
that´s the point...
BG rocks, and everybody who saw ´em live, has to agree...
(btw, the best live song ever is "the bard song")

Mekkalayakay
July 21st 2004



167 Comments


I've been looking for this album for quite some time.

ExitWound
July 21st 2004



40 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The bard's song is overplayed. In all ways, in all forms, it's been played out. I really have come to dislike it.

Nightfall in Middle Earth can be ordered from www.centurymedia.com for $12 US.

Iai
Emeritus
August 10th 2004



3553 Comments


I just had to revive this thread because the argument above is so funny.

"I did judge the lyrics. I judged that I don't care enough about them to write anything detailed about them."

Genius.

On a constructive note - can anyone tell me how this album compares to A Night At The Opera? I bought that purely on the strength of internet reviews, and it's all the Blind Guardian I've ever heard.

Hitroshimite
December 23rd 2004



24 Comments


I gave this album another listen, and I discovered some of the songs I didn't like before were better than I remembered, so I changed the review accordingly. Also, I commented on the lyrics this time

Iai
Emeritus
December 23rd 2004



3553 Comments


On a constructive note - can anyone tell me how this album compares to A Night At The Opera? I bought that purely on the strength of internet reviews, and it's all the Blind Guardian I've ever heard.


Over 4 months later, anyone care to respond?

Hitroshimite
December 23rd 2004



24 Comments


Well, for one the production on this one is clearer. In ANATO, there's a lot going on and sometimes certain elements get overpowered and it's difficult to hear all the parts. In Nightfall, there's a lot going on, but the production is crystal clear so it's easier to hear all the parts. With regards to song writting, Nightfall uses less keyboards and choir effects. I suppose you could say Nightfall is more straightforward than ANATO, while still maintaining some progressive elements.

I hope that helps

RCA
December 23rd 2004



5 Comments


Ah, not a bad review for your first one. This album is one of my favorite from BG.

Per Ardua Ad Astra
December 23rd 2004



106 Comments


Hansi's voice owns, good review.

Dancin' Man
December 23rd 2004



719 Comments


I've not really taken the time to get into power metal yet. I suppose it's time. Blind Gaurdian seems like a good band. I head Iced Earth and Nightwish were good too.



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