Monday, December 21, 2009

Music Review - Blind Guardian - Nightfall in Middle-Earth

Based on J.R.R. Tolkeins "The Silmarillion", Nightfall in Middle-Earth is a bombastic, epic journey across vast frozen plains of ice, dark fortresses and titanic battles.

First off, Hansi Kursch is absolutely one of, if not THE greatest male vocalist alive. His range is amazing, high, low, and everything in between; I've never heard another vocalist that sounds anything like him. The vocals are layered what sounds like thousands of times, especially on the choruses, giving the music an even grander feel. Songs like "Nightfall" prove this point, and that particular song may just be the catchiest chorus in all of metal.

In my opinion, this album is THE power metal album. This is everything power metal tries to be; fast, dramatic, catchy and even a little cheesy. The tightness of the band is impressive; you can tell these guys had been playing together for years and years when they made this album. Faster songs like "Mirror, Mirror," and "The Curse of Feanor" get your blood pumping with blazing solos, while slower tracks like the above mentioned "Nightfall" and "Blood Tears" really set the more somber mood for this epic tale.

All the instruments on this album are played exceptionally well, especially the drums. Thomen Staunch is the top power metal drummer in the scene today, and this album definitely shows it. Fast and technical, slow and dramatic, this guy does it all, and with an awesome tightness. Guitars are fantastic, awesome tone, great layering and superb solos, my only complaint is they seem to be mixed a little low and lack a good punch.

The narrations are a weak spot for the album; having an album of 22 songs, of which almost half are 30 second narrations broke up the momentum of the album. I'd have preferred one or two longer narrations as oppose to a half dozen short ones.

Narrations and slightly weak guitar mix aside, this a nearly flawless album. Highly recommended for anyone who likes power metal, catchy music in general and J.R.R. Tolkeins works.

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