Posts tagged ‘blind guardian’

January 15, 2013

Album 0219: Blind Guardian – Memories Of A Time To Come

BlindGuardian-MOATTC

Release Date: 2012
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

DISC ONE

1. Imaginations From The Other Side (07:13)
2. Nightfall (05:37)
3. Ride Into Obsession (04:48)
4. Somewhere Far Beyond (07:35)
5. Majesty (07:31)
6. Traveler In Time (06:03)
7. Follow The Blind (07:13)
8. The Last Candle (06:03)

DISC TWO

1. This Will Never End (05:09)
2. Valhalla (05:15)
3. Bright Eyes (05:17)
4. Mirror Mirror (05:11)
5. The Bard’s Song (In The Forest) (03:29)
6. The Bard’s Song (The Hobbit) (03:43)
7. …And Then There Was Silence (14:06)

DISC THREE

1. Brian (02:40)
2. Halloween (The Wizard’s Crown) (03:23)
3. Lucifer’s Heritage (04:38)
4. Symphonies Of Doom (04:04)
5. Dead Of The Night (03:30)

Total Length: 01:52:27

This is definitely a bit out of the norm for a best of compilation. For one thing, it’s a bit longer than most, and I even cut out some tracks, but I’ll get to those in a minute. Blind Guardian undertook a fairly large project here, and I only know one other band that did something as large for their best of record, and I kind of like the way Blind Guardian handled it a bit better. With the exception of four tracks listed above, every track on here is remixed from the original sources, and those remaining four were completely re-recorded. It’s pretty great.

Imaginations From The Other Side still sounds great here, though I think I may prefer how the drums sounded on the original. There was a bit more airiness to it. Nightfall seems to have a similar issue, it seems a bit dark compared to the original, but the cool thing about this is that the songs are so great that that is what you focus on and it totally makes up for it. Ride Into Obsession was actually released on an album only a year before this compilation, which is why it is kind of surprising that it was remixed. This time though I do kind of prefer this mix, and the song is great. The cool thing about remixing all the songs and juxtaposing them together is that songs recorded decades apart sound like they go together completely.

Somewhere Far Beyond is when we start delving further back into the catalog, and as such it and the next couple songs have a bit more of a makeover going on than the first few tracks. This one sounds great, and again the remix helps it fit better in this album. Majesty does the same thing with its mix, though I still don’t love the early speed metal BG days. Traveler In Time still sounds great and is a track I enjoy a lot. Follow The Blind sounds noticeably less polished at the beginning, but it’s nice to hear them trying to match the other tracks.

The Last Candle is a track that I’m supremely glad was put on here. I always thought it was kind of an underrated track and that the chorus was amazing. Now, Sacred Worlds technically starts off disc two, but it was unchanged from the album version, so I’m not including it. This Will Never End sounds pretty great and makes me sad that the whole album it is from isn’t getting remixed in the upcoming boxset. Valhalla is the first of those four other tracks I mentioned. It is a complete re-recording, and it is pretty cool that it could be put on one of their newer albums and not sound out of place at all.

Bright Eyes sounds similar to the track that started this album, still an amazing song. Mirror Mirror has the same issue as Nightfall, and it’s very noticeable at the beginning because of the complete change in tone and volume when the bass drops out. Still a great song however. The next three tracks are all re-recorded, starting with The Bard’s Song (In The Forest) which is a nice little track, but I’ve never really preferred it to many of the band’s other ballads. The Bard’s Song (The Hobbit) is a cool track as well, but I don’t know it very well.

…And Then There Was Silence was the highlight of its original album, and is still the highlight here. This version of it honestly feels a bit more epic, and it’s still some of the fastest fourteen minutes to pass by in all the music I’ve heard. The last disc contained more demos than I have, but I already had them on their respective albums. The five songs here are the band’s first demo when they were under a different name. These aren’t remixed or re-recorded, rather they were called “reworked”. From what I can tell, this means they were new transfers from tape, as they seem to be at a different speed than the other versions available. The new mastering also helps them sound better.

Brian has more in common with Iron Maiden than what the band would become, it’s okay. Halloween (The Wizard’s Crown) has a nice chorus at least. Lucifer’s Heritage is a fairly fun instrumental. Symphonies Of Doom has a pretty bad intro, but once it gets going it’s actually sort of fun. Dead Of The Night is decent, I suppose. Overall I really enjoyed this collection, but I think once the big set comes out soon, the novelty of the remixes on here will be gone, and the re-recorded tracks will be the only ones I pay attention to.

Final Rating: 8/10

November 3, 2012

Album 0153: Blind Guardian – Nightfall In Middle-Earth

Release Date: 1998
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

1. War Of Wrath (01:51)
2. Into The Storm (04:25)
3. Lammoth (00:28)
4. Nightfall (05:35)
5. The Minstrel (00:32)
6. The Curse Of Fëanor (05:42)
7. Captured (00:26)
8. Blood Tears (05:23)
9. Mirror Mirror (05:06)
10. Face The Truth (00:24)
11. Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns) (06:52)
12. Battle Of Sudden Flame (00:43)
13. Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill) (04:54)
14. The Dark Elf (00:23)
15. Thorn (06:18)
16. The Eldar (03:38)
17. Nom The Wise (00:34)
18. When Sorrow Sang (04:26)
19. Out On The Water (00:44)
20. The Stadfast (00:21)
21. A Dark Passage (06:01)
22. Final Chapter (Thus Ends…) (00:51)
23. Nightfall (orchestral version) (05:40)
24. A Dark Passage (instrumental version) (06:06)

Total Length: 01:17:24

War Of Wrath begins the story that is told on this album with sounds of a war and Sauron and Morgoth speaking. The actual songs start with Into The Storm which is a fantastically strong opening song. All sorts of melodies to stick in your head with fantastic vocals by Hansi. This is also when the band began incorporating more keyboards and synths into their heavier songs, to great effect. It adds a good bit of interesting things to hear and fills in their arrangements even more.

Lammoth is the scream of a dark lord, and that’s about it. Nightfall is a great track, the chorus always stands out to me, just pretty much classic Blind Guardian. The Minstrel is a short interlude song, I almost wish it could have been expanded on. The Curse Of Fëanor is entirely a heavy song, and it’s similarly fantastic. I do lose a tiny bit of interest by the end, but no big deal. Captured is another story track, nothing much to say about it. Blood Tears is a bit more of a ballad type song. It still brings in some heavy parts, but it builds up to them very well, and is a great track all around.

No interlude this time, right into another song. Mirror Mirror wouldn’t work half as well if the band hadn’t started using some more synths, and is a perfect example of how great the band became once they evolved a bit more. It still has their old fierceness, but everything is polished to perfection. Face The Truth is an interlude track, but these are short enough I don’t mind listening to them so I can hear the whole album through. Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns) is just entirely pleasant to listen to, I have no issues with it.

Battle Of Sudden Flame is basically an intro to how great the next song is. Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill) is big and amazing and I love every second of it. This was the first album by the band I listened to, and I had no clue what I was getting myself into. The opening song and this track are what convinced me that I needed all the Blind Guardian I could get my hands on, immediately. The Dark Elf is a short interlude as well, just a nice breather between these two tracks I suppose.

Thorn starts off heavy as crap before transitioning into a nice acoustic section. This song goes every which direction, even bringing in a nice piano moment. Very cool track. The Eldar is an incredibly somber track, utilizing only piano and Hansi’s voice. I love it though and feel that it really gets overlooked whenever anyone discusses this album. Nom The Wise continues the downtrodden feeling in this interlude. When Sorrow Sang kicks thing back up a notch though. I sometimes forget this song exists, but it’s not bad at all.

Out On The Water is a pretty nice interlude, I do really enjoy the ones with music. The Steadfast is another story track, but it’s remarkably short at least. A Dark Passage is the most Queen-like song on here, though sometimes I feel a bit disappointed because it honestly doesn’t go enough over the top. It gets up there, but doesn’t quite leap over the pole. Still great though. Final Chapter (Thus Ends…) is story-related, and so I don’t entirely care.

Both Nightfall and A Dark Passage are essentially instrumental versions, with all the backing tracks remaining (including backing vocals), basically just stripping out the lead vocals. This makes them neat to listen to if you wanted to hear certain bits, but since Hansi’s backing vocals are so layered there is still a huge amount of vocals on these two tracks, which is honestly kind of annoying. It’s not one way or the other, it’s in the middle which makes listening to them feel like you’re almost hitting a certain point and cannot quite get there. This album is insanely good though, even if I may personally prefer some other Blind Guardian albums. You are doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t heard it.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

July 20, 2012

Album 0073: Blind Guardian – Imaginations From The Other Side

Release Date: 1995
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Imaginations From The Other Side (07:19)
2. I’m Alive (05:31)
3. A Past And Future Secret (03:47)
4. The Script For My Requiem (06:09)
5. Mordred’s Song (05:29)
6. Born In A Mourning Hall (05:14)
7. Bright Eyes (05:16)
8. Another Holy War (04:32)
9. And The Story Ends (06:00)
10. A Past And Future Secret (demo) (03:38)
11. Imaginations From The Other Side (demo) (07:14)
12. The Script For My Requiem (demo) (07:01)

Total Length: 01:07:08

Alright, so I’ll just start off by saying that this album is one of those ‘turning point’ albums. I mean, I honestly think this is an incredible important album. But anyhow, Imaginations From The Other Side starts off fairly atmospheric, and the first time the band really uses keyboards combined with the fantasy lyrics (literally all about different fantasy literature and films) makes for a fantastic song. Hansi’s vocals are of course one of the highlights of any Blind Guardian album.

I’m Alive is just brilliant as well, especially the chorus. It just urges you to sing along. A Past And Future Secret is a softer track, which honestly sometimes the production gets ahead of itself in a sense. I still really like the song, and actually the first of 2 songs on the album regarding King Arthur in some way. The Script For My Requiem is historically influenced, and I just love all the little touches in this song. The vocals for sure make it.

Mordred’s Song is the other Arthurian song, and boy do I love it. The chorus and Queen-like guitars really stand out here. Born In A Mourning Hall is just a lot of fun, but I can’t really point to anything standing out. Bright Eyes takes a minute to get going, but is very cool. Not my favorite track on the album though. Another Holy War is brilliant though, just fantastic riffs and lyrics.

And The Story Ends has probably the best vocals on the entire album, so emotional. I just love this song to death. The demo version of A Past And Future Secret is pretty nice because I like it being subdued, but some of the flair was missing as well. The demo of Imaginations From The Other Side is a bit rougher but still works really well.

The demo of A Script For My Requiem has some keyboard stuff that I wish had been as pronounced in the final version, and is a bit longer. Overall this album is just amazing to listen through, every song gets your attention and has something to offer. Just a brilliant entry for the genre, and solidifies Blind Guardian as one of my favorite bands.

Final Rating: 9.5/10