Dear god, how rare is good power metal anymore? While metal itself is flourishing in a great many forms across the world, power metal specifically seems to be a bit lagging. Metal bands seem to be gravitating more towards the Americanized metalcore sound or a relative of death metal while the other quality metal genres – thrash, black, power and the like – fall behind in creativity and support. Thank the valkyries for bands like Blind Guardian, a German power metal quartet who hasn’t dropped their technique for decades. Shifting through sounds including raw speed metal, classic power metal, epic symphonic metal, and now to a unique style all their own, Blind Guardian has been a sterling icon in the metal world for quite some time. Few bands can match this kind of consistency and originality. Three years ago they released their highly controversial album A Night at the Opera
, an album that showed their experimentation in intricate symphonic metal arrangements. While the opinion of the masses was general popular, no one knew where the band could possibly go from there. With songs like And Then There Was Silence
, it seemed as though Blind Guardian had used their entire bank of symphonic ideas on A Night at the Opera
It has been said that "faith can move mountains". All that can be said in return is that Blind Guardian has surely moved mountains this time around. A Twist in the Myth
is easily one of the greatest albums, bar none, of 2006.
If any metal band can be called the single most reliable, consistent, creative, and all-around best band ever, Blind Guardian is it. Their progressive experimentation on each album is what keeps their 22 year reign exciting through every move they make. After doing the speed metal, power metal, symphonic metal, and throwing in progressive elements here and there, A Twist in the Myth
comes along as a sort of musical blend of everything. Twist
is arguably the most hard-edged Blind Guardian album yet, featuring powerfully heavy songs such as Another Stranger Me
and The Edge
, both boasting sing-along metal choruses and epic climaxes topped with the much-needed André Olbrich guitar solos.
The entire album seems to follow that trend of belligerent epic power metal. The album opener This Will Never End
is a perfect individual insight into the album, as it features the atmosphere, technicality, melody, and brutality that the proceeding music is comprised of. Otherland
and Turn the Page
both follow paths of the unnamable atmosphere that flows through A Twist in the Myth
, oftentimes delving into the world of folk metal (the latter of which sounds as though it could’ve been sung at an old pub somewhere). Carrying on the Blind Guardian tradition of forestry in music is Skalds and Shadows
, an evident successor to The Bard’s Song
, a band classic.
Strewn throughout A Twist in the Myth
are songs rich in a form of emotion that metal bands rarely exhibit. The first single Fly
is six of the most dreamlike minutes any Blind Guardian fan will experience, bearing absolutely gorgeous vocals by the mythical Hansi Kursch. Similarly, Dead Sound of Misery
, one of them many variations of Fly
that the band had written during the album’s initial stages, is made darker by the enclosed captivating vocal melodies singing, "the blood of sirens, on my hands; I can wash away". Meanwhile, Straight Through the Mirror
seems to be a throwback to the classic Nightfall in Middle-Earth
style power metal, featuring lead-guitar abound with the album’s most distinctive vocal melodies. Bringing up the album’s sappiest and needless to say weakest point is Carry the Blessed Hom
, an overtly emotional yet undeniably Blind Guardian song that seems to miss the mark that A Twist in the Myth
has set. With somber clean guitars echoing, The New Order
closes with emotionally entrancing guitar solos and catchy metal riffs.
Metal in the modern times will not likely see a release as subtly significant as A Twist in the Myth
. A genre has never seemed so secure while at the same time so unpredictable. If listeners thought that St. Anger
syndrome was inevitable for bands who have been around that long, Blind Guardian’s eighth full length will more than change their minds. Can A Twist in the Myth
be hailed as the best Blind Guardian album? Will it become a classic? Both of those are very possible. A Twist in the Myth
is, for metalheads or fans of music in general, a beyond solid album with unique tinctures and enthralling substance.
Personal Note: it’s extremely hard for me to single out songs on this album. I’ll try to star the ones I consider to be the best of the best, but keep in mind this is one of the strongest 4.5 ratings I’ve given.
- This Will Never End*
- Turn the Page
- Another Stranger Me
- The Edge*