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Album Reviews : Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time

By on August 28, 2010

Blind Guardian finally release their highly anticipated new album At The Edge of Time, which I can assure you is their best work to date. I know that’s a pretty bold statement to make with the likes of Nightfall in Middle Earth, Somewhere Far Beyond and Imaginations from the Other Side under their already illustrious and enchanted gold-plated belt…with +3 to vitality. Once you’re drawn into the new album’s majesty you’ll clearly understand why I believe it’s Blind Guardian’s best work to date.

Not since Nightfall in Middle Earth and Imaginations from the Other Side has Blind Guardian brought the magic of story-telling and elaborate orchestral arrangements together in an album of epic proportions. The sheer scale of this album is mind-blowing to say the least. The opening track ‘Sacred Worlds’, with its opening orchestral arrangement hinting towards the likes of composers Danny Elfman and Basil Poledouris, is a fitting start to an orgasmic album of what is the most perfect embodiment of Blind Guardian.

Sacred Worlds – A tiptoeing of haunting percussion with the addition of horns and brass elements and a typical Danny Elfman esque wall of haunting violins builds the song to its familiarity from the video game ‘Sacred’, albeit with an upscale in production and a greater wall of sound. I found the original to be a great song, but the addition of the orchestral arrangements really does wonders for not only this song, but the entire album. Initially starting off slow, the song quickly elevates to a hard-hitting and great opening track.

Tanelorn (Into The Void) – No, it’s not a reprise of the original ‘Quest for Tanelorn’, but it does carry inspired components from the Somewhere Far Beyond release. Thrashy guitars and raspy vocals in a fast rhythmic style all carry a distinct sound from the band’s previous masterpiece while adding a new level of simplicity.

Road Of No Release –  Building with a slow marching of drums, the song is one of the more melodic numbers on the album. Influencing piano and clear vocals, the track is heavily dominated by its melodic chorus which is both catchy and uplifting. The addition of André Olbrich’s mesmerising guitar solo adds a great level of progression to the song as it builds to a heavy outro.

Ride Into Obsession – Another fast-paced number, ‘Ride Into Obsession’ has elements of ‘Mirror, Mirror’ with its catchy and somewhat similar rhythmic assault and very catchy chorus. I was quite taken back at how much Hansi’s vocals have matured on the faster additions of the album. It may be just the production value upscaled, but his vocals seem more defined and sharp in their delivery. One of my favorites on the album for sure.

Curse My Name – The first ballad on the album,  this song carries strong elements of Celtic roots with its percussion, violins and flutes outweighing a faint Irish dance. It’s a balanced mixture of medieval and Celtic elements which will easily please fans of ‘Carry The Blessed Home’ and ‘Harvest of Sorrow’…or its 7 different versions.

Valkyries – Leaning more towards a progressive ballad, ‘Valkyries’ has a similar sound to ‘Blood Tears’ from Nightfall in Middle Earth, moreso the exclusive downloadable version which is included with the 2 CD limited edition of the album. ‘Valkyries’ has many variations, but is essentially a strong ballad which continues the albums main theme of time with hints of Norse mythology.

Control the Divine – A typical uplifting intro builds to another melodic sway of heavy guitars with a hint of acoustic. Expect André Olbrich’s signature guitar whine with the addition of Hansi’s signature vocals and chorus.

War of the Thrones – ‘War of the Thrones’ is the second ballad on the album and has a great variation in leveling and plays close resemblances to A Night at the Opera; moreso to the track ‘Age of False Innocence’. It’s a little more upbeat and friendly to the ears, albeit with its sincere piano undertone.

A Voice in the Dark – Another fast attacking track. ‘A Voice in the Dark’ is considered the single of the new album and ticks all the boxes of a typical Blind Guardian speed metal song. Catchy chorus, awesome solos and headbanging riffs all come together to make another fantastic fast addition to the album.

Wheel of Time – Starting off with a unique sound which hasn’t seen the light of day in any of Blind Guardian’s previous material, ‘Wheel of Time’ opens to an orchestral score of Middle Eastern flavor reminiscent of Lawrence of Arabia. This song is so powerful and uplifting to a level where it nearly made me weep. Another perfect culmination of heavy elements, amazing orchestral arrangements, with the addition of Hansi’s unique vocals infused with an inspiring chorus.

Not since ‘And Then There Was Silence’ have I been overcome with such emotion, joy and positive feelings towards one of Blind Guardian’s “epic” songs. This song has literally been playing constantly on my iPod and will surely be continue to do so for a long time to come. ‘Wheel of Time’ is the most perfect embodiment of Blind Guardian and their unique sound. It’s just simply amazing!

I have to hand it to Blind Guardian for perfecting and creating yet another masterpiece. The heavy influence of orchestral arrangements will give the listener a glimpse into the future orchestral project the band are currently working on, while the heavier thrash and speed metal elements, vocal arrangements done in a somewhat Queen fashion along with uplifting chorus’ and a plethora of awesome solos and all round tight musicianship will keep many long time fans very enthusiastic and happy. It’s the most unique album the band have released thus far. Every time I listen to the album I’m overcome with a sense of joy and excitement which takes me to a state of pure ecstasy.  I can’t find a single flaw on the album, hence why I believe it’s Blind Guardian’s best album to date. The album is seriously a drug and I want more! 10/10

Band: Blind Guardian
Album:
At The Edge of Time
Year:
2010
Genre:
Progressive Power Metal/Speed Metal
Label:
Nuclear Blast/Riot
Origin:
Germany
www.myspace.com/blindguardian

www.blind-guardian.com

Track listing:
1. Sacred Worlds
2. Tanelorn (Into the Void)
3. Road of No Release
4. Ride into Obsession
5. Curse My Name
6. Valkyries
7. Control the Divine
8. War of the Thrones
9. A Voice in the Dark
10. Wheel of Time
Digipak version*
11. Sacred Worlds (Pre-production Version)*
12. Wheel of Time (Orchestral Version)*
13. You’re the Voice (Radio Edit) (John Farnham cover)*
14. Tanelorn (Into the Void) (Demo Version)*
15. Curse My Name (Demo Version)*
16. A Voice in the Dark (Demo Version)*
17. Sacred” (Video Clip)*
18. A Journey to the Edge of Time (Studio Documentary)*

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.