Blind Guardian
Battalions of Fear


4.0
excellent

Review

by Shadows USER (89 Reviews)
July 26th, 2006 | 20 replies | 9,985 views


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist


5 of 5 thought this review was well written

In a small venue in Ludwigshafen, Germany in 1988, a speed metal quartet began to play. This band was on their first tour ever in support of their debut album. Despite the fact that there was literally only 10 people in the audience, that band wasn’t ready to let a slow start ruin their chance for a long, productive career in music. Nearly 20 years later, that crowd of ten people has escalated into thousands. That band, Blind Guardian, has come a long way since their modest beginning in the mid 1980’s. Their debut album, Battalions of Fear, only now garnishes the acclaim that it deserves. Blind Guardian has earned the title of definitive power metal band over their eight-album career, and it wouldn’t be at all possible without the persistent speed metal debut. Battalions of Fear is a solid 40 minutes of raw, fast, aggressive, melodic speed metal. This isn’t the same epic power metal they play now – this is heavy stuff. The band may have been young at the time, but their musical skills were decades ahead of other bands surrounding them.

The album immediately comes off with the in-your-face, indisputably metal sound. Riffs are fast and melodic, yet fierce. Guardian of the Blind fires off with a barrage of double bass and thrash metal guitar riffs while Hansi Kürsch’s youthful, vigorous voice echoes beyond. Run for the Night and By the Gates of Moria both start with dark, menacing guitar riffs before progressing into rhythmically enchanting tracks, the former of which features epic power metal choruses resounding in the black chamber. The title track, Battalions of Fear begins with a low, percussive onslaught of metal riffs while Hansi begins his demonic verbal assault of heavy metal mayhem. The song soon ascends into a realm of guitar shredding madness, one that all musicians would gladly reside in.

The lead guitars and melodies make up the familiar yet diverse aspect of Blind Guardian’s original works. Instead of the constant guitar/keyboard-led melodies, the memorable sharp notes come in fast, aggressive bursts in between trashing instrumental and vocal assaults. Majesty, arguably one of Blind Guardian’s finest moments (certainly their best speed metal performance), is a relentless display of mercilessly catchy melodies and raw, shredgasmic solos clear through its 7:32 duration. Just as well, The Martyr begins slowly and progresses into a perilous journey through orc-laden passages down the darkest of corridors. Nothing could more fittingly ensue than the song’s saddening guitar lick and harmonized solo. As if listeners hadn’t already been beaten into metal oblivion by the nonstop onslaught of riffs and lead guitar antics, Wizard’s Crown launches its solo with a festival of tapping into a harmonized bout of six-string lunacy.

To break up the impenetrable wall of brutal battery, several shorter instrumentals are dispersed throughout. The first, after soaring through two of the album’s more notable songs, is Trial by the Archon, and epic lead guitar display. A calm, peaceful tincture flows directly into the beating of Wizard’s Crown. The album closes with the final two instrumentals: By the Gates of Moria, a hauntingly melodic 3 minutes of wonderful guitar harmonies, and Gandalf’s Rebirth, an uplifting smorgasbord of guitar techniques and basslines.

Battalions of Fear may not be A Night at the Opera, but by god, it can hold its own against any other album in the Blind Guardian discography. It’s a wonder why such a commendable speed metal album is so often forgotten, but one look at Blind Guardian’s later power metal albums leaves no doubt that this German quartet has earned their keep and proved their worth. If you dare break out of your luxurious prison, delve into the world of aggressive riffs, incredible guitar solos, and harmonious clean singing. Prepare yourself for the Battalions of Fear!

Summary:
- A faster, heavier, more unpolished side of Blind Guardian
- Great combination of heavier riffs and melodic leads
- Classic speed metal!

Personal Favorite Moments:
- Majesty (1:55) A brutally memorable guitar lick
- The Martyr (:56) A sort of mini guitar solo precedes a very evil riff
- By the Gates of Moria as a whole is a very fitting instrumental

Recommended tracks:
- Majesty
- The Martyr
- Battalions of Fear



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user ratings (266)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
kno_kontrol
July 26th 2006



448 Comments


hmm, havent heard this, but good review, Im going to have to check this out as Nightfall was brilliant. great review

Stormrider
July 26th 2006



55 Comments


Once again, nice reivew :p

I love the song Guardian of the Blind. Awsome chorus

3.5 looks kinda low :-(This Message Edited On 07.26.06

Darkness
July 26th 2006



67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gandalfs Rebirth is so sweet guitar wise... I love this album.

Shadows
Moderator
July 26th 2006



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks people. Blind Guardian = power metal kings m/

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 27th 2006



17920 Comments


Any album with a song called "Gandalf's Rebirth" is a must for me. I gotta check this out.

Bron-Yr-Aur
July 27th 2006



4405 Comments


Cool review.

Stoic
July 27th 2006



161 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

OHHH OHHH OHHH OHHH MAJESTY!!!

Speed metal (ala Walls of Jericho) at its best. It's impressive how much they've progressed since then

Shadows
Moderator
July 27th 2006



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Teh Stoic hath spoken!!!!!

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 28th 2006



3709 Comments


Excellent album, much better than I expected.

Altmer
December 24th 2006



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of my first BG albums. Excellent stuff.

Ayashi
October 11th 2007



267 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review mate!

Im thinking of buying the remaster, are they any good?

Zizzer
September 11th 2008



915 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This review makes me want to look into this album as soon as possible. I have most of their albums now and my favorite by far is Nightfall in Middle Earth. I love concept albums.

BludgeonySteve
September 13th 2008



558 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's amazing the change that took place between this and A Night At The Opera. Both are great, but this is so simplistic and raw in comparison.

Zyhaal
September 20th 2010



193 Comments


Good stuff, but still falls short of their mid to late work. NIME is my fav power metal album ever.

dr2den
November 28th 2010



1342 Comments


yeh

Dreamflight
November 28th 2010



1760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

OHHHHHHOHHHHHHHHOHHHHHH MAAAAJESTYYYYYYYY

manosg
October 5th 2013



5961 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is some damn fine speed metal.

Digging: Saviour Machine - Saviour Machine I

InFlamesWeThrash666
January 9th 2014



1093 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

OHHHHHHOHHHHHHHHOHHHHHH MAAAAJESTYYYYYYYY [2]

Digging: Solstafir - Otta

manosg
January 9th 2014



5961 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First two Blind Guardian's are very underrated.

DikkoZinner
February 10th 2014



3014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album jams

Digging: Skinless - Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead



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