Blind Guardian - The discography

By Enrico Spinelli.

Speaking of my musical childhood I would be doing wrong if I didn't take into consideration one of the most important bands of Teutonic power-epic metal, my beloved Blind Guardian: how excited they made me... and pissed off! Born as Lucifer Heritage (of which only the first homonymous demo remains... little stuff), strongly indebted to the more immature Helloween, with a bassist/singer, Hansi Kürsch, lacking in technique but with a peculiar voice and with a repertoire of inspired lyrics especially to literature, the band went through the end of the 80s maturing and evolving their sound, progressively incorporating orchestral suggestions, surprising fans from time to time and dividing the audience more and more. This discussion, waiting for the new album, wants to celebrate the good times that were ... without forgetting the recent evolution, or involution depending on your point of view...

"Hey, Enrico, come on, that Mediaworld sells the first two Blind Guardian albums on offer?! They have almost nothing to do with the band we know!!!" Here, this was my thought when first listening to the record debuts of my beloved band, accustomed to their much more famous subsequent releases. The first album, matured from the demo of the same name, is in fact based on an immature power-thrash that owes a lot to the very first Helloween, marked by rather tight rhythms and clumsy vocals, all without skimping on a good dose of epicity. The opener "Majesty", the first piece dedicated to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, is a real blow in the teeth and will remain, alas, the only song to stay longer in the live set, although even the powerful "Guardian of the Blind" (inspired by "IT"), "Run for the night "and the title-track are not far behind. Curious is "Wizard's Crown" which in the first incarnation of the group was called "Halloween", with different lyrics and a less tight rhythm. An immature but promising debut.

It changes little in substance, even if the group begins to become more familiar and to better dose the elements of their sound. "Banish from Sanctuary" is a direct and epic business card as well as the classic "Valhalla" (which sees the good Kai Hansen as a guest), but unfortunately only these two songs will remain in the memory of the Germans, to the detriment of pieces that would have deserved more success, however, such as the solemn title-track, the violent "Damned for all Time" and the epic "Hall of the Kings". Closing to the circle of covers, first an amazing "Don't Break the Circle" by Demon and then... "Barbara Ann" by Beach Boys in a medley with "Long Tall Sally".

For some time this record, like the next one, had an inexplicable cost of 46 euros (at least in my shop) so it was among the last to enter the collection (at a more reasonable price at that point).
First cover created by Andreas Marshall for a decidedly more mature work, well balanced between fury and epicity and full of valuable classics, "Traveler in Time", "Welcome to Dying", "Goodbye My Friends", "Last Candle" and "Lost in the Twilight Hall" (the latter with umpteenth hosted by Uncle Kai) to name a few. Finally, the sort of ballad "Lord of the Rings" (who knows what it talks about ?!) is wonderful, but it will convince even more in the orchestral version present in the "Forgotten Tales" collection. Here begins the "second era" of the group, the one preferred by most fans.

Marshall's graphic masterpiece for a record even more successful than its excellent predecessor. There is no song out of place and all the ingredients blend perfectly... "Time What is Time", the violent "Journey Through the Dark", the operatic "Theater of Pain" and the long title track are sensational pieces for power and involvement. Tolkien returns with the two Bard Songs, the first, famous "In the Forest", sung almost entirely by the audience in concerts, and the more direct - and almost always forgotten - "The Hobbit" - an inevitable musical appointment with the prose of unforgettable English writer.

Hand in hand with a magical cover comes a record even more perfect if possible, a monumental, multifaceted and refined work, where the powerful title track alternates with the violent "I'm Alive" and then moves on to the medieval ballad "Past And Future Secret", and again "The Script for My Requiem", "Mordred Song", "Bright Eyes", "Born in a Mourning Hall", "Another Holy War" and "And The Story Ends"... Did I list them all? Yep, because all these songs should make a permanent presence in our bards' setlists.

The first real concept album, and the group chooses Tolkien's most complex work, "The Silmarillion", packaging what for many is the last great album of their discography. 22 songs, but half of them are interludes, most of them of great involvement and epicity, from "Into The Storm" to "Nightfall", from the single "Mirror Mirror" (from the unwatchable video clip) to the solemn "Time Stand Still", a real novel in music. The choice to include the wonderful ballad "Harvest of Sorrow" as the last track in the reissue was right.

The album is excellent! If the previous quartet had more or less everyone agreed, this work will determine the formation of two clear sides: those who love the band and those who hate the band.
Of course, the cover is really bad and the rumor that it was a difficult album did not play in its favor at the time, but it must be said that the main flaw of this album is the almost impossibility of playing live most of the songs in the lineup for the presence of orchestrations, tempo changes and overdubs, and it's really frustrating to think that you can't hear sensational songs like "Battlefield" or "Wait for an Answer" live. On the other hand, there are really wonderful pieces like "The Soulforged" (dedicated to the character of the Dragonlance Raistlin series), the violent "Punishment Divine" (inspired by the figure of Nietzsche) and the long "And Then There Was Silence" which retraces the drama of the Trojan War.

In the first Italian edition, there is also a local language version of "Harvest of Sorrow", "Frutto del Buio" as a bonus track...
[Anyone like me who participated in the Florentine date of the tour supporting this record remembers the nightmare well: number of tickets sold equal to double the capacity of the venue (all pressed like sardines), broken bathrooms (and people forced to buy bottles from half-liter at 5 euros each at the cash desk) and health situation that forced the group to leave without saying goodbye and without performing an encore ... little stuff, we only lost "Past and future Secret", "Lost in the Twilight hall "and" Mirror Mirror "... shame]

I remember well its release, the cover (worthy of a fantasy b movie) did not encourage the purchase (and what about the tracklist in squalid white Arial font). The content then confirmed the - alas low - expectations. In fact, all the work seems a jumble of ideas already heard, little new under the sun and not even of great depth. "This Will Never Ends" seems to be recycled from a section of the previous album, the single "Fly" and the medieval "Turn The Page" but little else. The best moments are undoubtedly the two ballads (excellent for a metal record) and the live "Another Stranger Me", coincidentally the only one together with "Fly" to be offered live. Another flaw is the fact that most of the tracks present flow without leaving half a minute in the mind of the listener, in a frightening cosmic void.The positive note is the fact that also for this record the group passed through Florence, another location, with excellent sound and no cuts in the setlist...

The band corrects the shot and seems to have found, at least in part, a balance between its various souls. The long opener "Sacred World" is good and the same goes for the direct "Tanelorn" and "Ride into Obsession", as well as the excellent single "A Voice in the Dark". The two ballads are splendid as always, in particular "War of the Thrones" (inspired by the famous Chronicles of George R. Martin). Too bad for the different fillers and for a final piece like "Wheel of Time", really weird (it seems initially it should have been part of the famous orchestral project...).

The delirium of omnipotence that occasionally captures the unfortunate metalhead (who said Luca Turilli?) Badly affects our dear bards who, taking up the protagonist of the song "Bright Eyes" and "And the Story Ends", create a concept album on a double cd, making use of two orchestras, with results that I do not hesitate to define as meh. Given that the complexity of the scores does not allow live performance, except for the use of pre-recorded parts (which is exactly what I am looking for in a metal concert), everything flows very hard, with very rare peaks and many yawns. I remember the excellent opener "Ninth Wave", the final "The Gran Parade" with an exquisitely folk mood and for the broken headphones "Twilight of the Gods" and "The Throne". The anger is that with a good dose of moderation, it could have been more than a good record, but so everything sinks in on itself in a sea of ​​boredom.

In reality, this is not really part of the group's discography, in fact it is the famous orchestral project put in place in 1999 and dragged to levels that soon not even "Chinese Democracy". An innovative idea at the time, undoubtedly, an orchestral record with the voice of Hansi Kürsch, too bad that in 20 and more years symphonic metal has made its way, Epica among others, and therefore everything sounds damn anachronistic in the first place, as well as verbose and devoid of any interesting moments. Spoils of money and years of waiting to give birth to something like that, really well done...
Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post