They come from Germany's movement of power-metal, bands like Gamma Ray
were two of three very successful bands, but this review will be focusing on probably one of the worlds most well-known power-metal bands, this band is called Blind Guardian
. The band created power-metal with influences from fantasy books, the gothic music, some splashes from speed-metal and progressive metal. The band was focusing more on the speed-metal formula at the beginning but with time the band started to play more progressive power-metal. The band was called Lucifer's Heritage
from the first start but they eventually changed their name into Blind Guardian
, the band has always been a group of four people but that changed in the year of 2005 but we will come back to that later.
ALBUM INFORMATION / LYRIC MESSAGES
This album you are about to read about is called ''Nightfall In Middle Earth''
, this album is probably the most well-known power-metal album and the biggest Blind Guardian
album of all time. The band was inspired by this book called The Silamarilion
written by J.R.R Tolkien
, though I haven't read that book, but just by listen to the songs or even look at the track titles you can imagine what type of music this is. This album contains alot of classic elements from the power-metal genre, things like excellent lead work, powerful and skilled vocal work plus melody and mysterious overall material.
The lyrics in this album is only inspired by this book, or at least most of the times from the book. Most of Blind Guardian's
lyrics is about ancient legends, old stories, religions and of course fantasy. I have not looked deeper in their lyrical storage but I can say that these guys does not sing about violence, hatred, ''anti-stuff'' or anything else that would point to violence or stuff like that. Though I can't admit that they sing in big words about god, peace or love. My knowledge about Blind Guardian
is not so big but the lyrics is very classic and/or typical for the power-metal genre.
- He is the vocalist and bassist of this powerful band, I must admit that he has a great singing voice. It sounds though that his vocals sounds a bit strained or forced but he does a perfect vocal performance, he actually sounds like the singer from Queen
is also the bassist, but I almost can't hear his bass on this album. I most say that the bass is very overshadowed by the guitars, unfortunatly, the bass is not clear or loud but it goes along good with the guitars.
- Guitarist, a very good guitarist as well. Marcus
is the rhythm guitarist, the riffs are though quite solid in all of the songs. But I have to admit that the riffage is not so catchy, and that the rhythms are also a but overshadowed by the lead guitars. But, the shredding and riffing is played with skill and the quality is good, excellent work in other words.
- He plays both lead, rhythm and acoustics in this album. A very good guitarist, not one of my favorites but he does a flwless work with that guitar. The lead work is crystal clear, the solos are advanced and melodic and the acoustics are calm and beautiful. I would say that this guy is the standout memeber next to Hansi
when it comes to great performances.
Tomas ''Thomen'' Stauch
- The drummer in this band, also a good musician. He plays basically every sorts of drum patterns in this album, though there are not any super high-tech drumming but the variety among the patterns are great. There are heavy and light patterns, fast and slow pounding and ''normal'' heavy-metal drumming. I would say that the patterns are most of the times catchy and easy to endure, nothing appears to be overdone or too sloppy. But as I mentioned before, this member is no longer a member of Blind Guardian
THE GUEST MEMBERS
I didn't notice that there was more musicians on this album, I thought that I could include these people too so here we go. We start with Oliver Holzwarth
, he plays bass guitar and fretless bass guitar. The second guest is Mathias Wiesner
, he is responsible for the orchestral and keyboard effects. Michael Schüren
plays something called grand piano and the last guest member is called Max Zelzner
, he plays flute and alto-flute.
Don't be fooled by the huge amount of track titles, there are eleven short filler tracks and eleven full songs. Let's focus a bit on the full songs in first hand, though this was boring to have a lot of fillers everywhere but there was some highlights in this album. The variety among the songs was pretty good, first we have the track called Into The Storm
. This song might be one of the strongest songs, the song has great drum work and a catchy guitar work along with ''proud'' singing. And then we have Nightfall
, probably the best track on the whole album or at least a standout track. This song is very powerful and atmospheric, this would be a power ballad becasue of the song pattern. The song starts off with a slow acoustic intro and later bursts out in a forceful and proud power ballad, definitely one of the best tracks. The Curse Of Feanor
is one of the faster songs, with smashing lead work and powerful drumming. The song has a catchy song pattern which is easy to follow, also one of the standout songs. Sorry if I don't mention all of the songs but this is the basic song structure in this album, more atmospheric songs would be Blood Tears
and Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns)
. More of these faster and heavier songs would be Mirror Mirror
and Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)
. Maybe the variety isen't that hgue but the songs are really powerful and energetic even though that some of them are slower.
I don't know if you call these ''tracks'' as fillers but I thought that I could give you some information about these ''fillers''. Basically every short filler track is spoken story lines or just filled with nature sound effects, some melodic vocal work pops in here and there in some of them. War Of Wrath
is a filler based on a huge battle, swords clashes, people screaming and dying and a door opens in the silence. A man tells the king that the battle is over and then the king orders the servant to go away, then he speaks for himself. Lammoth
is just a filler based on a storm of some kind, rain or snow but nothing more. The Minstrel
is a very short song with calm acoustics and some singing and in the back ground you can hear rain drops falling to the ground. Captured
is also based on weather effects, there is also a man who talks to a frightened prisoner. Now you know how the remaining seven fillers might sound like, none of them are real songs, just short cuts with speach, sound effects and maybe some short musical sections among them.
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS ALBUM
Well what did I think about this album? I thought it was good and maybe great as well, not my style of power-metal but this was good indeed. One thing I liked about this album was the vocals, the vocals felt very powerful, strong and enthusiastic. Even the short filler songs felt good even though that Hansi
was just talking or singing, but the songs were very good just becasue of the powerful vocal work. A second thing that I liked was the flawless lead work from Andre
, every solo was technical, melodic and energetic. It was some of the most entertaining guitar work I have heard of all power-metal bands that I have heard yet. A third thing I liked was the incredible fantasy atmosphere in the album, you can definitely hear that the band was inspired by one of fantasy's greatest writer. The whole album felt mystic, enjoying, inspired and very enthusiastic.
Now to the negative things I found in this album, we start with the fillers. Why expand an album with eleven fillers when there are already eleven songs, though this might seem like a good move or even great move but I thought it was bad. I couldn't find any filler that was good, maybe The Minstrel
but nothing more, I thought that these fillers or whatever was unnecessary. A second thing I didn't like was the overwhelming lead guitar, I thought that it made the the rhythm guitar and the bass to fade away. It made the overall sound a bit flat and uninteresting, the lead work was indeed excellent but it became too much with the time.
Time for the final judgement, but don't worry, I'm not going to bash this album. I thought that this was a great album, maybe one of my personal favorites now but not an absolute favorite. Not my field of power-metal but this was good, I will recommend this album to the fans of Blind Guardian
because this is one of power-metals greatest gems. Power-metal people in general should get this album as well by the same reason. This is definitely one of Blind Guardian's
greatest albums, and this might also be a classic in the reams of power-metal. I hope that this wasen't a waste of time for you dear viewers and reviewers but I did my best and this is the final result, any comments are welcome.
-- Into The Storm
-- Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)
-- The Curse Of Feanor
This album will be given a 4/5 because of the huge fantasy atmosphere that surrounds the album, the excellent lead guitar work and the powerful vocals