Getting Into: Blind Guardian


Written by: Baz Anderson
Published: 26.12.2010


Every once in a blue moon one of these articles comes along. These "Getting Into" articles present a fair, full description of a band's discography of studio albums with a clear rating out of five, as a means of aiding people who want to get into such a band but have no idea where to start. Usually reviews have different authors and are written at different points in time - so this is a clear guide of how to get into the band in question.

Blind Guardian
Power metal
Germany

Blind Guardian are one of the longest running and influential power metal bands out there today, and are responsible for introducing many to the genre. Hansi's iconic vocals may be one of the band's features most accountable for their massive success through the years. Blind Guardian are a German power metal band that draw influence from folk music, but also bands like Queen with grand songs and epic layered vocals. Stylistically the band have changed a little through the years, but the backbone of the band has always remained the same.


Battalions Of Fear (1988)

The band's first full-length album is one of the band's most aggressive and consistently up-tempo. Battalions Of Fear is a fantastically raw album in comparison to the band's later works, but also contains the classic "Majesty" that even today still occasionally finds itself in their live setlists. This album is not representative of the band's works to come, but here with their speed metal origins they still present a solid album of top quality metal.

Follow The Blind (1989)

Just one year later, Follow The Blind picks up where the last album left off. Stylistically and production-wise there is no real difference. This album brings nothing extra to the table, and on the whole is not near the solid quality of the first. "Valhalla" is the landmark song on this album, still being one of the fan favourites today to sing along to live. This is by no means a bad album, but falls far short of the quality the band would raise the bar to in the coming years.





Tales From The Twilight World (1990)

The next year Tales From The Twilight World would be the band's last predominantly speed metal album. This album showed a massive leap in both song writing and quality, and also the sound and production is much increased. This album is perhaps the band's most up-tempo and double-bass-drum-friendly album, but as well as providing good material to headbang to, the songs here are also really memorable. This album showcases some of the best of Blind Guardian's two worlds - the gritty speed metal and catchy power metal.

Somewhere Far Beyond (1992)

In 1992 the band progressed further towards what the band would ultimately become. This album is perhaps the softest the band has ever put out, but even though this album isn't as musically harsh, it is slightly more folk-oriented and musically superior. The songs on this album are top draw, from the fantastic "Time What Is Time" to live favourites "The Quest For Talelorn" and ultimate singalong "The Bard's Song - In The Forest". Along with the amazing title track, Somewhere Far Beyond still remains one of the band's best ever works.






Imaginations From The Other Side (1995)

Three years later and the band found their equilibrium. Arguably, this is the quintessential Blind Guardian album; the best work ever offered from the band. Much harder than the previous album, this album combines their harder edge with the softer, folk edge introduced more prominently in their last album. Each of the nine songs on here are catchy but hard, and most importantly highly enjoyable. Straight and to the point, the band gave us a gem of an album here that sits amongst the highest in power metal, but also amongst the highest of nineties metal in general.

Nightfall In Middle-Earth (1998)

Perhaps the most well-known Blind Guardian album, Nightfall In Middle-Earth is a concept album based on "The Silmarillion". This album has all the hype and has some songs worthy of its reputation, such as "Nightfall", the fantastic "Mirror Mirror" and "Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)". This album has a huge amount of tracks, mostly filler, interlude tracks, and it has a negative effect on the whole flow of the album. With this album, Blind Guardian also started to successfully integrate more symphonic elements, but even with some flashes of genius, this album is far from the masterpiece its reputation has painted it as.





A Night At The Opera (2002)

This is the thickest, most dense Blind Guardian album there is. Each song has got so much orchestration going on, it is a very busy album. This album could be considered as over-produced comparing it to the band's 1990 and 1995 powerful efforts, but it is unique in its place as a Blind Guardian album in that the songs have never felt so thought-out and meticulously, carefully put together. Great songs such as "Battlefield" and the masterpiece that is "And Then There Was Silence" make this album one of the band's greatest to date.

A Twist In The Myth (2006)

Over the years, Blind Guardian have proven that they consistently put out top quality albums. A Twist In The Myth is therefore still a good quality album, but for some reason this album holds nothing memorable or particularly great. This is perhaps the band's worst album, but doesn't have any aspect that can be pinpointed as being the reason for that. This is a pretty average album from a vastly above-average band.




At The Edge Of Time (2010)

The latest edition to Blind Guardian's catalogue is a step up from the previous album, but much like the 2006 effort, this album seems unoriginal and stale. This album is another modern culmination of styles the band has utilised in the past, but there are no moments as great as the band used to offer. Strangely the two standout tracks are the two ballads; "Curse My Name" is a fantastic reminder of how wonderful this band have been in the past, as is "War Of The Thrones".


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Overview

Regardless of the band's last couple of offerings, it is fair to say Blind Guardian are legends of the genre. On their albums they have been consistently great throughout the years, which is a fantastic achievement considering the band's first album is coming up to being 23 years old. On CD the band are great, but in the live environment, especially surrounded by thousands of people, the experience can be somewhat magical. The live album Live and the DVD Imaginations Through The Looking Glass both do their best to bring that experience to your home, but it has to be experienced yourself in person. This band is held dear to many people, and with good reason. There aren't many bands out there that have proven their quality as this band has, and there aren't many as likeable either.

Written by Barry Anderson



 



Posted on 26.12.2010 by Member of Staff since 2006.


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 49   Visited by: 450 users
29.12.2010 - 17:09
atkmetal123
Great review Barry but I think it's little bit unfair for At The Edge Of Time , is a great album in my opinion . And A Twist Of A Myth too !
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30.12.2010 - 01:24
Wyrd
Written by Angelic Storm on 28.12.2010 at 05:45

Written by Wyrd on 28.12.2010 at 05:16
Yes! I agree with you. A lot of fans weather they accept it or not, are a little close minded when it comes to change. I wish more people would really try and sit down and listen to A twist in the myth and get rid of the "It's not metal enough' thoughts and get into the thing that maters, the music itself. Blind Guardian have one of the most diverse catalogues I know and I always find something amazing in all their works. But unfortunatly people like to complane a lot about how some of their stuff is in a differnt musical direction. But if they stayed the same all these years then people would say "All their shit sounds the same!" You can;t make everyone happy.


I for one wont accept that, because its simply not true. "A Night At The Opera" features the biggest and most radical change the band ever made to its sound, and I love almost everythng on that album. So that accusation, is far too much of a generalisation (and a wrong one) to apply to every fan who doesn't think "A Twist In The Myth" is a great album. If me criticising that album was purely down to being "narrow minded to change", surely Id be much harder on the previous album, which was far more of a bold step out of their comfort zone (and "less metal" *rollseyes*) than "A Twist...." was. I dont think it's a bad album... "Otherland", "Carry The Blessed Home", "Another Stranger Me" and "This Will Never End" are amazing to me, and actually among my fave Blind Guardian songs. For me, its just too patchy and disjointed an album as a whole for me to be able to class it among their best works. *shrugs*


I don't think it's and I never said any thing bad about "A Night At The Opera". But it's simply my opinion about one of the reasons some people don't look to fondly on "Twist". I respect the amazing and diverse musicianship in "A night at the Opera" so much! But I personally find "A Twist in the myth" somewhat more enjoyable to listen too as a whole. I had no intention to offend
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"The bands called Demon Hunter! They hunt demons!"
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30.12.2010 - 16:38
Angelic Storm
Melodious
Written by Wyrd on 30.12.2010 at 01:24
I don't think it's and I never said any thing bad about "A Night At The Opera". But it's simply my opinion about one of the reasons some people don't look to fondly on "Twist". I respect the amazing and diverse musicianship in "A night at the Opera" so much! But I personally find "A Twist in the myth" somewhat more enjoyable to listen too as a whole. I had no intention to offend


I never said you did say anything bad about it, I was just using my love for that album to disprove your assertion that people who criticise "A Twist In The Myth" don't like change, and think it's "not metal enough". When the previous album was more of a change musically, and less metallic than "Twist..." is. You didnt offend me, I just wanted to clarify that not all people who dont love "A Twist In The Myth" are narrow minded to change. As I said, there are some songs on the album I love, but it is pretty patchy, at least for me it is. lol
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30.12.2010 - 19:01
Vikcen
Metálico
@Angelic Storm: If you compare it with the current discography, ATITM is the most different, but if you compare it only until ANATO, then yes, this probably could be the most radical change record to date, but even the NIME was a radical change to date.
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30.12.2010 - 19:39
Angelic Storm
Melodious
Written by Vikcen on 30.12.2010 at 19:01

@Angelic Storm: If you compare it with the current discography, ATITM is the most different, but if you compare it only until ANATO, then yes, this probably could be the most radical change record to date, but even the NIME was a radical change to date.


I dont agree... ANATO is their most extravagant album, probably the least metallic. I think out of all the albums in BG's discography, ANATO is the one that stands out on its own the most musically.

ATITM might be their darkest album, but its certainly not the most different in terms of overall sound. At least not to my ears it isnt.
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04.02.2011 - 13:19
neonxaos
Fair enough, although I love Nightfall to pieces. I alto think that At The Edge Of Time is up there with their very best, at least in the top 3. It successfully merges elements from the back catalogue with a new proggy direction, and the production is also spot-on. They sound razor-sharp and surprisingly heavy. I enjoyed the early efforts from the band, but I think their sound used to be far too tinny. Not anymore, that's for sure
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09.02.2011 - 20:56
ErnilEnNaur
Account deleted
Written by Angelic Storm on 26.12.2010 at 17:10

I think you're a little hard on "A Twist In The Myth" although I agree it is a weak album by Blind Guardian's very high standards. I think the new album is a vast improvement over it. And a great album.


Totally true, At The Edge Of Time is a return to greatness. It's got everything you'd want from a BG album - it's got the balls to the walls speed metal reminiscent of their early days (Ride Into Obsession), it's got the cinematic orchestrated epics (Sacred Worlds, WoT) and it's got awesome sing-along ballads (Curse My Name) that come with your very own imaginary campfire from the other side of Middle-Earth.

Also, nice article, but NIME is a lot better than ANATO and not just because the abbreviation of ANATO sounds like a Japanese guy.
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04.08.2011 - 03:22
CrucifiX
This Article is just awesome, I don't understand why BG is so underrated I just adore 'em so much :-)
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Crucifix
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23.09.2011 - 13:17
Milena
Learning To "X"
Just came to say it's safe to presume we all want more of these articles, for they're awesome.
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"There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors."
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08.11.2011 - 11:01
The Shape 1973
After years of ignoring them I now love them. I was always a bit put off by Hansi's voice, but now it has just clicked for me.

After listening to the new album and liking the more epic tracks like Sacred World and Wheel Of Time I am going for A Night At The Opera next.

I have a lot of catching up to do.
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RIP NFFC
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08.11.2011 - 11:44
Baz Anderson
Haha, better late than never! Hope this article helps.
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08.11.2011 - 18:15
Spirit Molecule
spirit molecule
Nightfall might not be their best work, but for me it will always be special considering its the album that got me into metal I later heard Imaginations, which I loved as well. Man this brings back memories, I need to listen to them again
Great article, its always nice when articles make you want to listen to the band.
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If you never wake up from a dream does it become reality?

Last fm
Don't click here
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08.11.2011 - 22:26
Vikcen
Metálico
Written by The Shape 1973 on 08.11.2011 at 11:01

After years of ignoring them I now love them. I was always a bit put off by Hansi's voice, but now it has just clicked for me.




That sounds familiar to me =), a similar thing pass me some years ago hehe.
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09.11.2011 - 17:09
ErnilEnNaur
Account deleted
Written by Spirit Molecule on 08.11.2011 at 18:15

Nightfall might not be their best work, but for me it will always be special considering its the album that got me into metal I later heard Imaginations, which I loved as well.


Night-Fall didn't get me into anything, but it is their best work. Funny how the reputations of Imaginations and Night-fall have somehow been reversed on Metalstorm. It's like half the people think NIME is mediocre or even crap, but Imaginations is a gift from the gods of metal. I love BG, but I can understand people who listen to Imaginations and kill themselves out of boredom. No so much with Night-fall, it is a more consistent, better thought-out and more inspired album. I am alone in thinking so apparently, but that's the way I like it.
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09.11.2011 - 18:38
Baz Anderson
Written by Guest on 09.11.2011 at 17:09

Night-Fall didn't get me into anything, but it is their best work. Funny how the reputations of Imaginations and Night-fall have somehow been reversed on Metalstorm. It's like half the people think NIME is mediocre or even crap, but Imaginations is a gift from the gods of metal. I love BG, but I can understand people who listen to Imaginations and kill themselves out of boredom. No so much with Night-fall, it is a more consistent, better thought-out and more inspired album. I am alone in thinking so apparently, but that's the way I like it.

Indeed, opinion on this site was very much in the way of thinking Nightfall was some masterpiece a few years ago - so much so that in rage someone wrote a review giving it 2/10... I don't know why you think opinion has changed, or if it actually has, why it has. But for me, Nightfall was never amazing. "A Night At The Opera" will always be my favourite and considered their "best".
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09.11.2011 - 18:53
ErnilEnNaur
Account deleted
Written by Baz Anderson on 09.11.2011 at 18:38

Indeed, opinion on this site was very much in the way of thinking Nightfall was some masterpiece a few years ago - so much so that in rage someone wrote a review giving it 2/10... I don't know why you think opinion has changed, or if it actually has, why it has. But for me, Nightfall was never amazing. "A Night At The Opera" will always be my favourite and considered their "best".


For as long as I have been a member, Imaginations has maintained a higher rating. Also, in conversations I have had with my fellow BG fans on this site, Night-Fall has almost always been called overrated, everyone has complained about the interludes (rightfully maybe). OTOH, almost everyone I have spoken to has named Imaginations as the best BG album and also as the album that got them into the band. I have no nostalgic feelings about either album, because neither one got me into BG, so it is really bizarre to me that everyone I have talked to seems to think Imaginations is much better than NIME.

I did a pretty poor job of explaining myself there, so feel free to ignore this post.
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10.11.2011 - 00:14
Vikcen
Metálico
Written by Guest on 09.11.2011 at 18:53

Written by Baz Anderson on 09.11.2011 at 18:38

Indeed, opinion on this site was very much in the way of thinking Nightfall was some masterpiece a few years ago - so much so that in rage someone wrote a review giving it 2/10... I don't know why you think opinion has changed, or if it actually has, why it has. But for me, Nightfall was never amazing. "A Night At The Opera" will always be my favourite and considered their "best".


For as long as I have been a member, Imaginations has maintained a higher rating. Also, in conversations I have had with my fellow BG fans on this site, Night-Fall has almost always been called overrated, everyone has complained about the interludes (rightfully maybe). OTOH, almost everyone I have spoken to has named Imaginations as the best BG album and also as the album that got them into the band. I have no nostalgic feelings about either album, because neither one got me into BG, so it is really bizarre to me that everyone I have talked to seems to think Imaginations is much better than NIME.

I did a pretty poor job of explaining myself there, so feel free to ignore this post.


Nightfall In Middle-Earth is their best work without doubt. Their work more difficult, it is not easy to take the Silmarillion to the music and to be convincing. (More hard being so convincing like did Blind Guardian)
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26.10.2012 - 04:24
Dentura
Shadow King
I disagree with the ratings on the last two albums, but nonetheless, great article. A Night At The Opera is my favorite from them; an epic masterpiece to say the least.
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...And so death to the falsity of thy former rulers. Thy kingdom of "heaven" burns in a field of fire, and Dentura is the one true God thou must yield thy hearts and souls to in absolute submission. It is his ultimate decree and will unto thee..
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19.11.2012 - 14:37
Aristarchos
My favourite Blind Guardian album is "The Forgotten Tales", where they focuses on their slower songs, which I think often are their best, and the album also contains my favourite Guardian song, the Queen cover "Spread Your Wings". But I know that album doesn't count as a studio album, since most of the songs already had been released in other versions.
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