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Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red Mirror Award winner

Blind Guardian
Beyond the Red Mirror
by Saxon Davids at 26 January 2015, 3:26 PM

BLIND GUARDIAN needs no introduction to Power Metal fans, with a lengthy 30 years under their belts, the band are known as one of the most important bands to have shaped the genre, and with 9 albums to their name, they are about to release their heavily awaited 10th album, titled “Beyond the Red Mirror”, due for release at the end of January/start of February (depending on what side of the Earth you live on) and I can safely say that it has been well worth the 5 year wait! “Beyond the Red Mirror” is full of intense riffs, pulse raising melodies, In-your-face drumming, beautiful orchestration and as always, Hansi Kürsch delivers his distinctively unique vocals with power, grace and excellence. From the 9 and a half minute progressive epics, the fast-paced Power Metal anthems and the uplifting ballads, this album is trademark BLIND GUARDIAN from start to finish with stylistic reflections of each era of their sound over the past 30 years.

Much like the album prior to this one, the opening track is a lengthy 9-minuter with an atmospheric build up to the song, which when the drums, synth and orchestra kick in, actually slightly reminds me the introduction to the latest WINTERSUN record. “The Ninth Wave” is the perfect song to open up this album I think; The introduction and the dark sounding verses really do give you a feeling that something big is about to happen… which is when the chorus bursts in with a complete change of mood; the drums perk up to double time and it hits you hard, making you sing along and bang your head uncontrollably. The first thing you will notice about the guitar work is that they are quite drastically down tuned compared to all their previous albums, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it makes it feel different to all the others and also suits the music quite well.

“Twilight of the Gods” was the first glimpse of the album that anyone could feast their ears on, which was released as a single on December first last year and is a straight up Power Metal track, fast and furious with a huge chorus almost forcing you to sing along. There’s something in this album for fans of all eras of BLIND GUARDIAN’s career, “Prophecies” is a mid-tempo and very melodic track, which is fairly reminiscent of the “A Twist in the Myth” album, “At The Edge of Time” is a more progressive song using more orchestration and vocal harmonies which rather conveniently is fairly musically similar to the epics on their 2010 album with the same name. “Ashes of Eternity” and “The Holy Grail” are 2 of the fastest tracks on the album, which reflects heavily on their ‘classic style’, heavily driven by large choruses, fast double bass drumming and intricate guitar melodies and riffs. “The Throne” is another taste of the modern wave of BLIND GUARDIAN, focusing a lot of their attention on orchestration and inventive structuring; this song has a lot to offer their fans and is one of the most musically interesting and intriguing on the album. “Sacred Minds” is definitely one for the fans of the middle part of their career; it starts off fairly atmospheric and eerie quite alike the material on their possibly most famous record – “Nightfall on Middle Earth”, only to then pick up the tempo quite drastically whilst still upholding the haunting feeling at the beginning. “Miracle Machine” is the “ballad” of the album, which is mostly focused around a Piano, and once again shows off Hansi’s incredible vocal skills. I’m not sure I can think of a BLIND GUARDIAN song quite like this; they’re very well known for writing ballads, but “Miracle Machine” is unlike any of their previous work, it sounds as if it was under the influence of QUEEN; it’s beautiful. The album closes with another 9 and a half minute epic, “Grand Parade” and rather than the previous and rather dark sounding 9-minuter, this one has a very light aspect about it from start to finish; with huge orchestral sections accompanied by astounding lead lines from André Olbrich, this is definitely one of my favourites on this album; flowing from time signature to time signature and structured ingeniously, this is the most diverse and satisfying song on the album for me in terms of progressiveness. This album is a true testament and celebration of BLIND GUARDIAN's sound over their 30 year career and a masterpiece for their fans, and fans of the Symphonic Power Metal genre.
 

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Ninth Wave
2. Twilight of the Gods
3. Prophecies
4. At The Edge of Time
5. Ashes of Eternity
6. The Holy Grail
7. The Throne
8. Sacred Mind
9. Miracle Machine
10. Grand Parade
Lineup:
Hansi Kürsch - Vocals
André Olbrich - Guitars
Marcus Siepen - Guitars
Frederik Ehmke - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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Edited 29 November 2020
 

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