Saturday, December 19, 2009

Retrospective: Blind Guardian (Part 1)

Starting with their first release, Blind Guardian is a power-influenced thrash metal band, with alot more straight drum and guitar then the melodic, multi-layered sound that the group would be known for. Later albums move more into the power metal sound, but almost all of their albums still hold onto their origins of thrash - which is great if you have been listening to them from the beginning, but if you came in half-way (like myself) the further back you go, the less and less the band sounds like the band you love.
But aside from that, Blind Guardian is one of my favorite bands within the power metal genre. Their combination of speed, melody and epic vocals (especially in the later albums) are something of legend. Hansi K├╝rsch, the lead singer, has one of the most amazing voices in all of metal. His vocal range and ability to sing harsh and operatic within seconds of each other are truly amazing. This band is worth it, just to hear his voice and style.

Discography - Part 1

  • Battalions of Fear (1988)
As stated above, Battalions of Fear is a thrash album with power influences. It is the beginning of European power metal (only predated by the amazing band Helloween, at least within my collection) and it sets the foundation. While this is my least favorite of their albums, this album sets the stage, with songs about magic and mysticism - something that becomes common in later works, and the genre as a whole.

  • Follow The Blind (1989)
This album holds the beginning of the power-era of the band. While still quick and focused on the quick drumming and the simple vocals, Follow The Blind is a step into the right direction. This album jumps back-and-forth between the two genres, some coming off more melodic and power friendly, while others are all slam-dance thrash. It's an interesting blend, and they pull it off better with this release then their previous one.

  • Tales From The Twilight World (1990)
This album is the first to successfully blend the band's dual personalities into one cohesive idea. It is still thrash, it is still power, it is something grand. In Tales From The Twilight World, Blind Guardian stops the back-and-forth between their two genres, and instead sticks with a set sound and flow. This albums comes off almost NWOBHM at parts, sounding closer to a Iron Maiden album with layered vocals - oh yes, the first substantial sound of the layered vocals - something that becomes common on later releases. While still not their best work, this is the standard level that the band seems to stick close to for their further albums.

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