Blind Guardian - Live review
|Release date:||May 2003|
01. War Of Wrath
02. Into The Storm
03. Welcome To Dying
05. The Script For My Requiem
06. Harvest Of Sorrow
07. The Soulforged
10. Mordreds Song
11. Born In A Mourning Hall
01. Under The Ice
02. Bright Eyes
03. Punishment Divine
04. The Bards Song (In The Forest)
05. Imaginations From The Other Side
06. Lost In The Twilight Hall
07. A Past And Future Secret
08. Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)
09. Journey Through The Dark
10. Lord Of The Rings
11. Mirror Mirror
Blind Guardian, I think that band needs few words to be introduced. It's probably the most famous German band worldwide after a succession of excellent albums among which "Nightfall In Middle-Earth", "Imaginations From The Other Side" and their latest opus "A Night At The Opera" stand as metal classics. Despite a well-furnished discography, Blind Guardian has few live records. Before that one, "Tokyo Tales" was the only live performance recorded but that CD was poorly distributed and was an image of their early works. So finally, "Live!" is available and, no surprise, it's a true masterpiece.
First important point, the production is huge! I love the powerful sound of the drums, and the guitars sound heavier than on any previous album. André and Marcus absolutely blow my mind throughout the entire album. Of course, Hansi is perfect and that confirms my opinion that he's the best singer out there. Plus, the backing vocals are excellent, it's quite amazing! As for the lineup, Hansi Kürch [vocals], André Olbrich [lead guitars, backing vocals], Marcus Siepen [rhythm guitars, backing vocals] and Thomen Stauch [drums] are helped by touring musician Oliver Holzwarth [bass, backing vocals], Michael Schüren [keyboards, backing vocals] and also Oliver's brother Alex Holzwarth [drums, drummer of Rhapsody who played with them when Thomen had a health problem during the tour]. No need to say that the keys are essential to the wonderful sound of this live album.
Just a few words about the artwork. The cover is as usual magnificent. But the other nice aspect is the inside live and touring pictures of the band. Apparently it was cold in New York…
Talking of which, this album has been recorded in several places [Japan, Italy, Spain, Russia, Sweden and Germany of course!] but it sounds like it could have been in one place as the audience is always singing and Hansi is always talking to them.
Now, about the track list, it's difficult to do better than that! Not only Blind Guardian played essentials such as 'Nightfall', 'Into The Storm', 'Bright Eyes', 'Under The Ice', 'The Soulforged', 'Born In A Mourning Hall', but also older tunes such as the sumptuous 'Majesty', 'Welcome to Dying' or 'Lord Of The Rings' to name a few. And overall, the album totally rocks. Impossible not to talk about the song 'Harvest Of Sorrow', which exposed Hansi at his best level once again. What a wonderful song! Among the numerous highlights [there is no flaws at all…], 'Nightfall' has to be one of the best. 'The Soulforged' and 'Welcome To Dying' give me goose bump every time I listen to them while 'Born In A Mourning Hall', 'Valhalla' and 'Bright Eyes' turn me into a singing warrior… As for 'The Bard's Song (In The Forest)', the audience is totally awesome singing with or without Hansi. Now, that's a hit! And when 'Punishment Divine' kicks in, that's impossible to do something else than listening, petrified. But wait, there's more! 'Lost In A Twilight Hall', 'Mordred's Song', 'Mirror Mirror', 'Imaginations From The Other Side'… Jesus, go get that album now!
Not only this is an incredible live album, "Live!' is also a great introduction to those whose knowledge of the Blind Guardians is limited to the last studio albums. Plus, you don't want to miss the best singer on earth enlightening these audiences. That is what I call a live album! In the same category as Iced Earth's "Alive In Athens" and Therion's "Live In Midgard", this record has it all. Difficult to do better, good luck to the other bands!
Written on 02.06.2004 by
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