Monday, December 21, 2009

Retrospective: Blind Guardian (Part 2)

Continuing the discography breakdown of the thrash/power metal band Blind Guardian:


Discography - Part 2

  • Somewhere Far Beyond (1992)
Somewhere Far Beyond is Blind Guardian's first album that sounds (to me) as a 'Blind Guardian album.' Continuing with the blending of genres that was seen in Tales From The Twilight World, this album is a seamless collection of thrash-influenced power metal. The operatic elements are present, as well as a slight progressive feel within a handful of songs. This album is also the first Blind Guardian album to host an acoustic, 'campfire song,' a song that one could see being sung for generations; "The Bard's Song (In The Forest)." There is a second part, "The Bard's Song (The Hobbit)," but this song incorporates drums and electric guitars. It still is the dame basic tune and rhythm, but the sound is drastically different. On the special edition album there are two covers added to the track listing, "Trial By Fire" by Satan, and "Spread Your Wings" by Queen. While "Trial By Fire" is forgettable, "Spread Your Wings" is one of my favorite covers; once again Blind Guardian show us their love of Queen, and pull off a fitting tribute. This album embodies what I like about Blind Guardian, and while the previous works are decent, I feel that this is where the band grew into something to be reckoned with. The later works only get better.

  • Imaginations From The Other Side (1995)
 Imaginations From The Other Side continues in the trend set forth in Somewhere Far Beyond -  power metal with layered operatic vocals with just a hint of progressive strewn in. This style of becoming more power/symphonic will be brought to a head with the next release, Nightfall In Middle Earth, focusing on expanding the epic-sound that has become prevalent in the preceding albums. Imaginations From The Other Side is one of the band's most solid albums - very few throw away tracks - and also sees the arise of more thrash elements. It is impressive that while the band moves/moved into more power/operatic music, the thrash element that they cut their teeth on is ever present. They are truly a band that works hard on not alienating their old fans with their new musical direction. Not alot of groups put so much work as to not become stale and repetitive, but also keeping a grounding of their roots.

  • Nightfall In Middle Earth (1998)
Nightfall In Middle Earth is of my favorite albums, and as such I have a page dedicated to this album. Check it out.

  • A Night At The Opera (2002)
The only Blind Guardian album I had not previously heard, A Night At The Opera takes a step away from the symphonic sound that was forged in Nightfall In Middle Earth, instead heading back into the sound from the albums Imaginations From The Other Side and Somewhere Far Beyond, seeing a reemergence of the thrash/power blend, while keeping the layered sound and vocals. I've read that the group received several negative reviews from their previous release from long-time fans, so while I feel that Nightfall was their best album, people who have been in from the beginning do not share my tastes. Hence (in my belief) the new/old direction. The title of this album is another throwback to Queen, named after their album by the same name, continuing the groups affinity for the British legends. I have to say that I don't much care for this album, I mean it is decent, but compared to the other Blind Guardian albums I've listened to (all of them) this one just seems kind of 'safe.' Nothing stands out, all the songs seem similar; not what I've come to expect from their albums. I think this album was just a stepping stone away from their last album's sound, and into the sound that would become A Twist In The Myth, their next release.

  • A Twist In The Myth (2006)
Continuing with the resurgence of their previous sound,  A Twist In The Myth once again combines thrash and power into an interesting ball of metal awesomeness. While it cannot compare to Nightfall In Middle Earth (to me), this album is a solid effort. I like that they are headed back to their roots, but not so far as to alienate their newer fans. This album is the perfect blend of both worlds. I hope their next album (to be released next year (2010) supposedly) keeps up this new sound.

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