Monday, August 16, 2010

Blind Guardian - At The Edge of Time


German power metal is the best kind of power metal. Blind Guardian is the best kind of German power metal. At least, they used to be. Their penchant for combining epic riffs and over-the-top vocals with the aggression and speed of thrash catapulted them head and shoulders over nerd metal crap like Rhapsody. As of late, though, their albums have been over-produced and overwrought. To say I had low expectations for this album would honestly be an understatement.

It's pretty fucking good. The album opens with "Sacred Worlds" which is a rattlesnake of a song, starting out as a fast-paced orchestral thrasher, and turning into a half-time epic ballad with the occasional death growl. This kind of experimentation seemed half-baked on "A Twist In the Myth", but gels much more naturally here. "Tanelorn(Into the Void)" and "Ride into Obsession" offer some of the speediest moments on the album and particularly impressive vocal performances from Hansi Kürsch. His penchant for multi-tracking his vocals is in full force here, but man, it sounds fucking fantastic and so epic. "Control the Divine" has a chorus that is straight out of the Klaus Meine playbook, and rules as a result. There some songs that aren't as much fun, like the obligatory folk song "Curse My Name", and the weirdly proggy/poppy "Valkyries", but the majority of this album is head-banging good times.

Blind Guardian seems to have gone back to their roots with this release, incorporating speed metal much more prominently, but still acknowledging their growth as a band, skillfully utilizing additional instrumentation, and some more popppy song structures(see "War of the Thrones" and "Control the Divine" especially). This is certainly the strongest and most savage work Blind Guardian has done since "Nightfall In Middle Earth". Well worth your time.

Blind Guardian - Ride Into Obsession

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