(9/10) There are some bands that releases on a regular base new albums which are all great. Gamma Ray is such a band, but also Blind Guardian belongs to this group. The guys from Krefeld, Germany don't have any bad or weak release in their discography. Eventhough their music changed during time they always improved their sound. The wild speed metal days from the "Batallions of fear" times are over since many years while the band added more elements to their music. But they managed to keep their trademarks and their uniqueness in the almost 30 years of Blind Guardian. They have created their own sound which makes them recognisable from the first note they play; and this is something very special in times when more and more bands start to sound similar.
Blind Guardian has been in the studio in the last months and the result was shipped in the meantime to your local record dealer. The name of the new masterpiece is "Beyond the red mirror" and it comes with 10 songs. Those give you more than one hour of pure Blind Guardian - value for money.
But also get 'quality for money', just as we know it from the band. The first song that was released was the single "Twilight of the Gods". This track was a good appetizer since it has the furious guitar riffs as well as the melodic parts, coming back mainly in the chorus. It's a track that reflects all you can expect from the band bundled in one track.
Blind Guardian takes their sound again to a next level. The songs are even more complex and multilayered. This is a joureny which started with "Tales from the twilight world" and it didn't end till know. "Beyond the red mirror" is again full of choirs, orchestrated sections, wild guitar riffs and on top of all this, the vocals from Hansi Kuersch. His unique voice is strong element of Blind Guardian's sound and the way he is singning reminds more to a narrator that guides you through the magic forest of "Beyond the red mirror".
My favorites on the album is next to "Twilight of the Gods" also "Sacred mind". It's a dark and gloomy song that belongs to the more straightforward ones on the album. But also the opener "The ninth wave" is a song I like a lot. It sounds a bit different than the other tracks which is the special charm of the tune. Starting with the known choir and dramatic classic music the song builds up to a bombastic nine minutes long 'ear candy'.
The album contains also a silent song. "Miracle machine" is the name of the tune that is piano based with the vocals from Kuersch. I was immediately reminded to Queen when I heard the track. Talking about Queen; I actually have more and more the feeling that Blind Guardian becomes a metal version of the iconic rock band when it comes to their sound.
The ending of this great album is called "Grande parade" which is another nine minutes long epos. The song is convincing with great melody lines and a variety of musical ideas. Compared to some other songs on the album the track sounds, even being bombastic, very much to the point and spreads a feeling of harmony.
Only small little remark from my side is, that Blind Guradian are close to overdo it with all the effects and different layers. It's no downer, but sometimes less could be more.
When it comes to the production of the album I must say that it couldn't be done better. It is a full-body sound that provides enough space for each element/instrument of Blind Guardian's sound. The album sounds fresh and powerful, what makes it to a real headbanger.
If 'progressive' means, that you develop constantly and never stand still, than "Beyond the red mirror" is a progressive album that reveals new details everytime you listen to it. And since the songs, eventhough they are complex, are still comprehensable, it is music that is highly entertaining for a broad group of metal fans.
- The ninth wave
- Twilight of the Gods
- At the edge of time
- Ashes of eternity
- The holy grail
- The throne
- Sacred mind
- Miracle machine
- Grand parade
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Heavy Metal