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Blind Guardian – Imaginations from the Other Side (25th Anniversary) Award winner

Blind Guardian
Imaginations from the Other Side (25th Anniversary)
by Jean-François Poulin at 15 January 2021, 1:30 PM

BLIND GUARDIAN is a German Power Metal from Krefeld, North Rhine-Westphalia. They were part of that second wave of German Power Metal, following in the footsteps of bands like ACCEPT, DESTRUCTION amongst countless others. They were formed way back in 1984 and they are often credited as one of the seminal and most influential bands in the Power Metal and Speed Metal subgenres.

This is the 25th anniversary of their landmark album ‘’Imaginations from the Other Side’’, they went all out with this edition, we have a live rendition of the album that was recorded in 2017, some demos, instrumental versions of songs and the 2012 remastered versions that we got partially on their Best of. As bands are concerned, they go out the extra mile with those releases and make it worthwhile for the diehard fans out there. Sometimes the fan can feel overwhelmed by this much material but I am happy it’s there so everyone can soak in the experience.

This album was the introduction to many fans out there, it was their breakout offering, something that marked the imagination (pun intended) of Metal fans. For me it was the genesis of the Power Metal genre, mainly the European Power Metal scene. You already had the early seeds of bands like RHAPSODY, STRATOVARIUS but BLIND GUARDIAN blew the doors open with their majestic operatic theatrical style of Power Metal. No other band sounds like them and for me they are the starting point of the genre, the be all end all of Power Metal. Everything goes back to them and they have influenced countless bands after them and still do to this day.

The live album version of the album is very good, some songs off of the album are rarely played live so it’s a nice way to offer these songs to a broader audience. The band is tight but Hansi does have some troubles hitting the higher notes and that’s kind of normal after so many years of singing these songs. His voice is still powerful but he adapts the riggers of the years into these songs. He is the heart and soul of the band and even if he can’t reach those notes, he still has the it factor he had back in time. I mean guys like Bruce Dickinson, Ian Gillan or even Rob Halford don’t have the range they had and when you have been singing your balls off for 35-40 years, your voice won’t be the same, you adapt and you survive.

The demos are a nice touch, some songs are pretty different from their finished versions and gives you a glimpse in their recording process and how they write songs. The production values are obviously limited but it’s fun to see how a song evolved from it’s infancy to the album version persay. The instrumental versions of the songs are something really for the biggest fans out there, yet, it shows how much depth you have as to musicians in the band. I mean we all know the vocal prowess of Hansi Kursch but we rarely talk about the backing band. They are extremely talented and such a wide array of workhorses. The sound of the band is so deep, it’s because of those members and it’s fun to hear those instrumental versions and show the world their immense talent.

As for the remastered versions, I am quite happy to see them here, I remember listening to their Best of (over and over again) and being blown away by those remastered versions. I am happy to be able to hear the other songs that were not on that compilation. I really don’t know who went in the studio and re-worked those versions from the original versions of these songs but they did a masterful job. The time, effort and heart that was put into this is outstanding. Future remastered from bands should take notes on these versions, for me it’s become the standard in production and mastering of older music.

This album and new version is for the diehard fans like previously noted but it also allows a glimpse in the older generation of Power Metal and how much this band has influenced thousands of bands after this time period. This album was a declaration to the world of Metal that they truly were masters of the genre, the staple of European Power Metal, a classic era that will never been attained unfortunately. It was a career-defining epic album and I enjoyed diving back into this classic album once again. An iconic album and such a delight to discover and rediscover with an overwhelming feeling of Power Metal escapism at it’s very core.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Imaginations from the Other Side (Live)
2. I'm Alive (Live)
3. A Past and Future Secret (Live)
4. The Script for My Requiem (Live)
5. Mordred's Song (Live)
6. Born in a Mourning Hall (Live)
7. Bright Eyes (Live)
8. Another Holy War (Live)
9. And The Story Ends (Live)
10. Imaginations from the Other Side (2012 Remix & Remaster)
11. I'm Alive (2012 Remix & Remaster)
12. A Past and Future Secret (2012 Remix & Remaster)
13. The Script for My Requiem (2012 Remix & Remaster)
14. Mordred's Song (2012 Remix & Remaster)
15. Born in a Mourning Hall (2012 Remix & Remaster)
16. Bright Eyes (2012 Remix & Remaster)
17. Another Holy War (2012 Remix & Remaster)
18. And The Story Ends (2012 Remix & Remaster)
19. Imaginations from the Other Side (Demo)
20. I'm Alive (Instrumental)
21. A Past and Future Secret (Instrumental)
22. The Script for My Requiem (Instrumental)
23. Mordred's Song (Instrumental)
24. Born in a Mourning Hall (Instrumental)
25. Bright Eyes (Instrumental)
26. Another Holy War (Instrumental)
27. And The Story Ends (Instrumental)
28. Imaginations from the Other Side (Instrumental)
29. I'm Alive (Demo)
30. A Past and Future Secret (Demo)
31. The Script for My Requiem (Demo)
32. A Past and Future Secret (Orchestral Version)
Lineup:
Hansi Kursch – Lead Vocals
Frederik Ehmke – Drums
Barend Courbois – Bass
Marcus Siepen – Rhythm Guitars
Andre Olbrich – Lead Guitars
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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Edited 17 September 2021
 

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