Blind Guardian

Picture of Blind Guardian

Follow The Blind

Blind Guardian - Follow The Blind ©1989 Virgin
1. Inquisition
2. Banish From Sanctuary
3. Damned For All Time
4. Follow The Blind
5. Hall Of The King
6. Fast To Madness
7. Beyond The Ice
8. Valhalla
9. Don't Break The Circle
10. Barbara Ann

Rampaging forth in the same vein as Helloween and Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian has been pounding out that distinctly Germanic form of melodic speed metal for quite some time without really ever being noticed much in the United States. Upon my first listen to the quartet, I immediately thought to myself, "If I had heard this band in the year this album came out ('91), I would have been nuts over them!" Seven years later, this style is quaint and fun for nostalgia, but I'm not as wild about it as I was in my late teens. Don't get me wrong, though. Blind Guardian is exceptionally talented and full of anthemic songwriting sure to thrill any fan of the genre. I also appreciate singer/bassist Hansi Kürsch sings in a bit lower octave than say, Ralf Scheepers or Michael Kiske. All I can say about this album is that if you're nutso about this genre, sell off your little sister to find this band's catalogue. As for myself, I'll probably only pop this on for those days when nostalgia reigns.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/1998

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Nightfall In Middle Earth

Blind Guardian - Nightfall In Middle Earth ©1998 Century Media
1. War Of Wrath
2. Into The Storm
3. Lammoth
4. Nightfall
5. The Minstrel
6. The Curse Of Feanor
7. Captured
8. Blood Tears
9. Mirror Mirror
10. Face The Truth
11. Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns)
12. Battle Of Sudden Flame
13. Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)
14. The Dark Elf
15. Thorn
16. The Eldar
17. Nom The Wise
18. When Sorrow Sang
19. Out On The Water
20. The Steadfast
21. A Dark Passage
22. Final Chapter (Thus Ends...)

For nearly a decade, Blind Guardian has been achieving nearly cult status in Europe while not quite catching the attention of the United States. Fortunately for the small legion of fans who have been paying rather hefty import prices, Century Media has picked up a stateside distribution deal, allowing the band to be heard here for a reasonable cost.

Nightfall in Middle Earth is a very ambitious album that is based on JR Tolkien's The Simarillion and is chock full of all sorts of ambitious elements, such as humongous choruses, an symphonic feel throughout, occasional folk passages, and of course a good helping of power metal. Unfortunately for me, but the third massive chorus, I wanted to take their microphones away and tell them, "All right, we get the idea." While certainly containing plenty of appeal to the progressive and power metal fans out there, the rest of us will have a hard time wading through the album more than a few times. The overblown and obviously epic feel of the music makes it come across as far too pretentious for its own good.

Review by John Chedsey

Review #2:

Nightfall in Middle-Earth, a concept album based on The Silmarillion, is Blind Guardian's humble, modest tribute to one of the great authors of the century and the greatest fantasist of our time: J.R.R. Tolkien. Alright, modest probably isn't the best adjective to describe the German power metallers, especially when their specialty is in creating over-the-top, moving, and, um, "powerful" music. But anyway, keeping the "historical" attitude of the Silmarillion intact, Blind Guardian try to create a storyteller feeling by enlisting a pair of narrators who deliver brief, spoken passages between the songs. Yet the album's narrative quality is a double-edged sword; it may fuse the work into a cohesive, progressive piece, but it also hurts the playability of the album (try using the 'random' feature of your CD player with Nightfall in Middle-Earth and you'll see what I mean). Nevertheless, Blind Guardian are a band that is in total command of melody, and my complaint seems trivial when weighted against the album's often-excellent songwriting.

The music is guitar-oriented, with a few orchestral touches here and there. Moreover, Hansi Kürsch's vocals are competent, but it is the choir company that puts Blind Guardian above the multitude of B-rate retro-power metal bands (most of whom don't deserve the instruments that they play, let alone a record deal). The quality of the choral parts, suggestive of the minstrels and troubadours of former ages, is a more appropriate way of conveying the album's narrative spirit than the narrators themselves. The lyrics are fairly good, as far as power metal bands go. What's more, the choruses are frustratingly addictive, and I end up listening to Nightfall... in spite of myself. But addiction can be a good thing too, especially when you're hooked on songs like "Into the Storm" and "The Curse of Feanor." Recommended.

Review by Jeffrey Shyu

Review date: 09/1999

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And Then There Was Silence EP

Blind Guardian - And Then There Was Silence EP ©2001 Century Media
1. And Then There Was Silence
2. Harvest Of Sorrow
3. Multimedia Track

The undisputed kings of fantasy metal are back! This disc serves as a means of whetting the appetite of fans or placating them until the new album A Night At The Opera can be released in the Spring of 2002.

The title track of this disc is an ambitious piece of music spanning fourteen minutes and will be the closing track of the upcoming disc. It is one of the most ambitious pieces I have ever heard from Blind Guardian. It is also one of the wordiest songs I have ever had the pleasure to hear. Imagine the lyrical density of Shadow Gallery or Jim Steinman / Meatloaf combined with the orchestral density for which Blind Guardian has become known, and you've got a real meaty chunk of music on your hands. What a satisfying song this is. It is anthemic and over the top without being a silly melodramatic epic. The vocal harmonies are superbly done. The composition is rich and complex, sweeping and heavy. It is a grand undertaking, and one that is pulled off with the professionalism of a band that has really grown to maturity. The story of the song is much better than the typical "noble knights of the metal brotherhood battle the villainous hordes of unspeakable evil" that you find on many other disc by bands who have jumped on the fantasy metal bandwagon.

It is not surprising to find Blind Guardian once again assuming a position of leadership in their peculiar niche. This is a great single disc and it has certainly piqued my curiosity regarding the upcoming album.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 01/2002

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