Blind Guardian
A Night at the Opera



by Shattered_Future USER (51 Reviews)
January 24th, 2006 | 106 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

We all know power metal. It"s a hard to listen to genre if you aren"t familiar with it. It"s fast, irritating, and cheesy to the uninformed. Those who listen to it, however, will tell you otherwise. They will state it as one of the greatest genres of metal. Personally, I think it is. Although you will find quite a few generic bands throughout here (as you would any other genre), there will always be those who defy all the boundaries, doing stuff no one has done before.

Ask any power metal head for a recommendation of bands in the genre, and 9 times out of 10, you will hear Blind Guardian. Many people consider Blind Guardian one of the best bands to ever come out of Germany, which isn"t that far from the truth. The group has been around forever, forming in 1984. Their first albums flirted with an almost speed metal esque style, but they truly broke out of the mold with their 1992 effort, Somewhere Far Beyond. Widely regarded as a power metal masterpiece, it made the group almost instant stars. Since then, the group has released many more albums, each never failing to let down their audience. Numbered among those were live albums, a concept album based on The Simalarron (or some spelling like that), a book by J.R.R. Toliken, and the point of this review, a little album called A Night At The Opera.

Blind Guardian - A Night At The Opera

Released - March 19th, 2002, on Century Media records

Hansi Kursch - Lead and Backing Vocals
Ande Olbrich - Lead/Rhythm/Acoustic Guitars
Marcus Siepen - Rhythm Guitars
Thomas Stauch - Drums/Percussion

Guest Musicians:
Rolf Kohler, Thomas Hackman, Olaf Senkbiel, Billy King - Choir
Oliver Holzwarth - Bass
Matthias Wiesner - Keyboards/Orchestral stuff
Pao Bender, Boris Schmidt, Sascha Pierro - Keyboards/Sound Effects
Michael Schurien - Piano on "Age Of False Innocence"

So. Blind Guardian. Crazy German power metal on roids. Easy enough to remember, yes?

Like most power metal bands, Blind Guardian have that level of cheese to them that only a power metal band can obtain. Case in point: name one other band that has an entire album based around a Lord Of The Rings book. I dare you.

While A Night At The Opera still has that cheese factor in it, it"s more subtle, more hidden. You really have to analyze the lyrics to find out what the band is really talking about, and what they really mean. THEN you find out that it"s quite cheesy.

Be forewarned though: if you do not have a large amount of metal listening (or music listening, for that matter) under your belt, your body will spontaneously combust the instant this record is put on. There is so much going on at once, it"s almost impossible to listen to at points. You need to let the album grow on you a bit.

However, once you do, that"s it. All other music will cease to be classified as "the greatest thing you"ve ever listened to", barring a few extreme cases. A Night At The Opera may be one of the greatest albums (that"s right, ALBUMS) ever released. There is literally NO flaw to this album whatsoever. It is filled with eleven cuts of absolutely mindblowing music, on all fronts.

First, you have Hansi Kursch, considered by many to be a modern day Bruce Dickinson. I personally think this is a poor rationalization; Hansi is ten times a better singer than Bruce will ever be. Don"t get me wrong, I love Bruce, but Hansi is seriously the best vocalist in power metal today. His range is unmatched, his vocal style unmistakeable, and his capability endless. He can go as high as anyone, low as anyone, and anywhere in between. He can sing operatically, has an incredible harsh voice as well (not growled, not screamed, harsh. There"s a difference...think grungy, almost, except good), and his power will blow you back in your chair. He"s seriously that good.

Now, on this album, Hansi alone should be enough to sustain it. But the band added a choir as well, which gives not one, but 4 more depths to the music. The choral work is impeccable. They manage to fill in the parts that Hansi would normally do without much notice. Which is a good thing, considering Hansi"s ability.

And then we get onto the full time members of the band. The guitars first; Olbrich is an extremely underrated guitarist, considering he wrote nearly all of the material on this album. His leads aren"t really meant to stand out, they serve as more of yet another addition to the multifaceted aspect of the music. If you really listen to them, though, they are excellent. Siepen does a good job of rhythm guitaring, about as well as a rhythm guitarist can do.

Stauch, on the other hand, truly stands out. He may be one of the greatest things to happen to power metal drumming ever. His fills are absolutely ridiculous; he almost seems to call to mind a death metal drummer, or the grand walrus himself, Gene Hoglan of Strapping Young Lad, Death, Dark Angel, etc. His drums are in the back when they need to be (yet still crazy), and when he shines, he fucking blinds everyone. He"s crazy. His attitude, if it were publicly known: Death To False Drumming.

On top of all of these (another fact: the guitars are often multilayered in the songs), there"s the orchestra. And goddamn, when there"s an orchestra, there"s a goddamn orchestra. In every single song, the orchestra adds so much to the music, its nigh impossible to describe what they do. There"s 500 different things going on at once, all blending together to immerse you in sound, and completely shattering the notion of what music should sound like. Think an actual, famous orchestra, placed on top of an almost folky power metal band. There"s your sound.

Also, every song except the bonus track (which isn"t listed on the album that Sputnik has up, for some reason; it"s called Mies Del Dolor, a Spanish acoustic track) is over 5 minutes long. It"s the length of a normal album as well. That"s something an extremely low number of bands has ever done before. It shows that the band can write some longer material, and yet still keep you captivated.

Recommended Tracks:
Honestly, just go out and buy the album. I actually bought this one, and this is truly one of those albums that you can buy and be proud of owning, even 5, 10, 30 years from now. It"s that good.

It"s hard to pick recommended tracks...but, if you must:
Precious Jerusalem
Sadly Sings Destiny
The Soulforged

All are written in somewhat of the same style, which, in the case of this band, is a good thing. They all feature absolutely perfect instrumentation and vocals.

Not to say the rest of the tracks are any step down at all (they aren"t), but these are some of my favorites.

However, one song that you absolutely must check out if you claim to like music at all is And Then There Was Silence. Clocking in at 14:05, it"s absolutely astonishing. It covers everything Blind Guardian is capable of, and it will leave you speechless for days to come. Need I say more?

Overall: If you"re new to metal, power metal, or even Blind Guardian, don"t start with this. It"s too overwhelming to handle at first. If you ARE a fan of these 3, you still need some time with this to completely sink in. Once it does, that"s it. You"ll be hooked forever, and will claim almost all other music unworthy. One album that truly deserves 500 times more praise that it deserves, and one of the most original releases I"ve ever heard.

Final Rating - 10/10

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user ratings (656)
other reviews of this album
OllieS (5)

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This is Blind Guardian at either their very best -- or very worst -- depending on how you look at it...

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 24th 2006


I've got the Middle Earth album, the full name leaves me now. Maybe this will be m next purchase. Great review, too.

January 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

good review


January 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Nightfall in Middle Earth?


Amazing review man, you never give me reasons to stop loving you. You work is so consistently high quality and informative that a single review of yours makes me want to burn the nearest mailbox. Please, for the sake of metal, keep reviewing the same incredible way you have been.

I love this album too! Good symphonic stuff. Not too crazy, but very catchy and very metal.

January 24th 2006


A classic album that I never get tired listening to.
I really should pick up the official album, but MP3 work until I get a chance.
Nice job Mike.

January 25th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

I heard this album once and was pleased with it. I should probably start picking up some Blind Guardian albums soon.

Great review, too.

January 25th 2006


Excellent review. Nice job

Youve just made me want to pick the album up even more...This Message Edited On 01.24.06

January 25th 2006


your review is better then mine :upset:
but hey thats okay. awsome review :thumb:. the only point i would have to disagree with you is "Wait for an Answere" that song just doesn't belong on this album at all IMO

January 25th 2006


great review. sounds like a really cool album. im gonna download "And Then There Was Silence" to see what i think

January 25th 2006


ok i downloaded the song you said was really good, and it is awesome. This Message Edited On 01.24.06

January 25th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

Going back to your review when you said when people reccomend power metal bands, that's pretty true. People always say Blind Guardian, along with Iced Earth and DragonForce.

January 25th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks much guys.

Ace Of Bass, I don't see why Wait For An Answer shouldn't be on sounds pretty much like the rest of the songs.

Eh, differing opinions, I guess.

Your review was quite good as well, I enjoyed it.

Ben =

January 25th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

How good's 'and then there was silence' on the live DVD they play it perfectly

unfortunately, its the only song i really like from the album. Precious jerusalem's good as well.

January 26th 2006


Nice review. ANATO was my first BG album and it was indeed an unexpected blast of musical talent. I'm still blown away each time I listen to it. And Then There Was Silent is by far my favorite and Punishment Divine does the trick for me too :D

January 31st 2006


I agree with Deth. NIME is my favourite, the sheer scale and effort put into that is immense, but And then there was silence is majestic. Gr8 review and a gr8 album

February 8th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

It really is...the different levels the album is capable of are immense.

February 12th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Great review.

So, when I got this album i put it n and was listening to the intro to Precious Jerusalem and was thinking "Wha?". Then the choir and guitar kicked in, and i 'bout creamed myself. Amazing album, really can;'t think of a bad song on it. Always listenable.

June 11th 2006


I've heard 5 tracks from this must be the best album ever if And Then There Was Silence is better than those!

Battlefield is hideously underrated...why!? It's one of those songs that, no matter what mood I'm in, makes me smile and jump around.

June 11th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Trust me, if you think that the 5 tracks you've heard are amazing, ATTWS will make them sound like mainstream pop. It's that fucking good.

Battlefield was the first Blind Guardian song I ever heard, and is still to this day one of my favorites. Something about it is just brilliant.

June 13th 2006


I got the whole album. Hooooooly monkey, I can already tell I'll be listening to this for years.

I can't understand how Dragonforce can call themselves "fast" after hearing Punishment Divine. Best power metal I've heard.

And Then There Was Silence still has yet to grow on me, it's a lot to take in.

September 4th 2006


[quote=Werny] And Then There Was Silence still has yet to grow on me, it's a lot to take in.[/quote]

indeed it is, but it always seems to find its way onto my playlist. I have always been a fan of Unseeing Protecters, and this album is an epic master piece in the way of power metal.

If you are a fan of power metal you should do yourself a favor and pick up some Sightless Sentinal.

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