Saturday, March 20, 2010

Music Review - Blind Guardian - A Twist in the Myth

The shortest way to sum up this album is that it's really just a much, much simpler A Night at the Opera. It's certainly not the bands best album, nor is it their weakest, but it has a few of their strongest and weakest points. Firstly, Thomen Staunch is gone, so the insane, wildly overdone drumming is repleaced by the capable (but much more laid back in his approach) Frederik Ehmk. The songwriting as a whole has undergone a massive reduction in complexity, resulting in what I wouldn't hesitate to call Blind Guardians most accessible (but not best) album.

I really do like this album, though I seem to be in the minority for doing so. While as I've stated above this isn't a mind-blowing album, it's a very strong Blind Guardian album, chock full of huge choruses, brilliant (in my opinion some of Hansis best) vocals, terrific guitar work and the trademark catchiness that the band has always had. Songs like Otherland, Turn the Page Fly and Another Stranger Me are all excellent, catchy, clever and fun songs and showcase the simple yet catchy strength of this album. The two ballads, Carry the Blessed Home and Skalds and Shadows show that Blind Guardian still know how to write slow, pompous and atmospheric pieces that fit in with the rest of their superb ballads.

There are a few weaker tracks though, and they're concentrated towards the end of the album. Lionheart, The Edge and The New Order just don't have the same punch the rest of the album has; they're decent enough songs on their own but almost seem like afterthoughts compared to the earlier, much better songs. If those three songs had been cut from the album, no harm would have been done to the record.

Perhaps it's just that I downloaded the album from iTunes, but the production sounds a little...muffled, almost quiet, compared to the earlier albums, and there are several instances when Hansi hits the super-high notes and it sounds fake, for lack of a better word. His high-scream of the opening track sounds more like guitar or keyboards than vocals, and it can get irritating at times.

However, those few complaints aside, this is a solid, rocking album from a band that has defined the genre of power metal for years. Strong moments include Fly, which is a brilliant track all the way through and one of the catchiest the band has ever written; Turn the Page, which I recommend for the same reason as Fly, fast, catchy and rocking, another stellar track. A few weak moments aside, I heartily recommend this album.

No comments:

Post a Comment