Blind Guardian - A Night At The Opera review
|Album:||A Night At The Opera|
|Release date:||March 2002|
01. Precious Jerusalem
03. Under The Ice
04. Sadly Sings Destiny
05. The Maiden And The Minstrel Knight
06. Wait For An Answer
07. The Soulforged
08. Age Of False Innocence
09. Punishment Divine
10. And Then There Was Silence
11. Harvest Of Sorrow [acoustic version] [Japanese bonus]
12. Mies Del Dolor [Spanish bonus]
13. La Cosecha Del Dolor [Argentinean bonus]
14. Frutto Del Buio [Italian bonus]
15. Moisson De Peine [French bonus]
They're back! Yes, finally we are getting more from Hansi and friends. Be warned, this album is brilliant but it takes some work to get into it. Going to the opera with Blind Guardian truly requires some effort on the part of the listener, so this is not something you want to play in the background!
Let me explain... Listening to the album for the first time, I knew I had just listened to something grand and outstanding, but I could not grasp onto anything. No song, melody, chorus, or guitar riff particularly stuck in my head to make me want to revisit that particular piece. However, being a loyal Blind Guardian fan, I just listened to the album whenever I could, and after about the third time around, things started to take shape, melodies and guitar work began to crystallize, and the album began to reveal its beauty.
Before I get into some of the songs, I need to tell you first off that there are two components to this album that make me give it a 10/10 rating right away: Andre's guitars and Thomen's drums. I don't know of anybody else who can play a solo on top of somebody else's (Hansi's) vocals the way Andre can. And Thomen, who was always good before, completely outdoes himself here with versatility, skill, and power.
Ok, favorites. Most definitely I have to mention 'Sadly sings Destiny', which contains work, once more, from the brilliant Choir Company, Blind Guardian's own group of background singers. 'The Soulforged' is another great song, as typical of Blind Guardian as any. 'Age of false Innocence' displays Hansi's mature lyric writing ability. This song, in my understanding, deals with somebody's struggle between religion and science - a topic someone could write a whole book about.
This album gives you (almost) no chance to catch your breath until the very end. 'And then there was Silence' is probably the most complex, multi-layered song Blind Guardian have ever done and it also must have taken the most work. There is more in this one song than many other bands are capable of putting into an entire album. The bonus track, a tender, melancholy ballad, 'Harvest of Sorrow' (not available on all releases) was recorded in different languages (French, Italian, Spanish). Hm, personally, I would have loved to hear it in German!
Again, show some patience with this album. What may sound at first like a little too much "sameness" is really packed full of surprises and versatility. And all components are linked together in bombastic grandeur that would not be complete if any of the songs were missing. Blind Guardian spent a lot of time recording this and it was definitely worth the wait. And one last tip: check out the photos from the recording session on the official Blind Guardian website (www.blind-guardian.com). They are really quite funny.
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