Blind Guardian – Beyond the Red Mirror – Nuclear Blast – Release: January 30th, 2015.
The uncrowned kings of power metal are back! It’s been nearly five years since their last full studio album “At the Edge of Time” in 2010. How time does fly. It’s hard to believe that the band is already thirty years old and yet here they are, about to release their tenth album. Let’s see if it’s just as magical as that big X.
Blind Guardian is:
Hansi Kürsch – Vocals
André Olbrich – Guitars
Marcus Siepen – Guitars
Frederik Ehmke – Drums
Beyond the Red Mirror
When “The Ninth Wave” opened I had to double-check if I didn’t have an album by Epica instead. After having tried their hand at more symphonic inclusions with their previous album this new one opens up in a very grandiose way. The intro makes it clear that you are about to enter a world of powerful magic. Welcome to Blind Guardian, welcome to the world “Beyond the Red Mirror”.
A big question with Blind Guardian is always which route they will take. If I were to lay it out in its most simple form I would say that this album harkens back to the style of “A Night at the Opera” and later, yet with a lot of call-backs to older songs. And that’s no surprise, when you know that this album has a lot of lyrical ties to “Imaginations From the Other Side”.
As such I would say that the best description for this album would be a distillation of the magic from “Imaginations From the Other Side” as well as “Nightfall in Middle-Earth”, as played by way of Blind Guardian circa 2002 and further.
The music is as powerful as ever. The typical Blind Guardian guitar sound is constantly there, without ever feeling too much like you’ve heard it before, except on those moments meant to connect with “Imaginations”. Hansi’s voice is as superb as ever, filled with power, yet also with so much emotion in “Miracle Machine”.
Modern-sounding epics and old school battery, all topped off with a truckload of bombast is what the band brings on their tenth album, orchestra and choirs included.
If I were to level any criticism at this album it would be that the songs often sound like there is just too much going on. Some layers, and there are a lot, sound squashed, leaving me wondering how this album would sound with a truly wide audio range.
Other than that I would’ve wanted the drums to be a bit more prevalent in the recording. They are quite clear and very audible, but they just lack a certain ‘oomph’. Then again, that could all just be my shitty sound equipment. Small points aside, this album is a true masterpiece and Blind Guardian once again show why they are such a highly regarded band.
Magisters of melody, paragons of power. Blind Guardian have kept their fans waiting for a long time, but this album is well worth the wait. Rejoice, for the Bards are back!
- 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
Score: 4.9 out of 5
Written by: Robert Popovic