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Beyond the Red Mirror

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Album Review

The German power metal unit's tenth studio album and first since 2010's At the Edge of Time, Beyond the Red Mirror is being billed as a sequel to 1995's much-loved Imaginations from the Other Side, but listeners need not be versed in that sci-fi/fantasy narrative to enjoy the ride, as per usual, Blind Guardian lets the music do most of the talking. Sparing no expense, the band enlisted two full 90-piece orchestras and three international choirs (Prague, Budapest, and Boston), but unlike some of their symphony-loving peers, the window dressing is integrated tastefully, allowing the veteran band's well-established technical skill set to shine through. Nearly three decades into their career, Blind Guardian still sound like a spinning top at the edge of a very high (and very ornate) table, firing ideas into the ether with the subtlety of a Gatling Gun, while miraculously maintaining their footing. Nowhere is this penchant for frantic, progressive metal fanfare more apparent than on the nearly ten-minute opener "The Ninth Wave, a lavish, electro-tinged, pseudo-Wagnerian epic that feels like a highlight reel of the band's entire career thus far. Like the majority of the ten-track set, it's bold, immediate, and relentlessly melodic, due in large part to frontman Hansi Kursch's robust vocals, whose stacked Dee Snider-meets-Queen harmonies and commanding presence form the basis of nearly all of the group's best offerings. That equation is put to its best use on the rollicking follow-up, "Twilight of the Gods," the closest Beyond the Red Mirror gets to a single, and a prime example of how deft the band is at fusing pop melodies to a backbone of pure metal might. The rest of the album follows suit, making stops at vintage thrash ("The Holy Grail"), Iron Maiden-inspired, guitarmony-laden NWOBHM ("Prophecies"), and opera metal ("The Throne"), before tying things up with the aptly named "Grand Parade," another just-under-ten-minute, neo-classical metal stunner that's as unapologetically ostentatious as it is genuinely goose bump-inducing.

Customer Reviews

Blind Guardian sounds heavy!

TL;DR Sounds like Demons and Wizards w/o John Schaffer. (That a compliment)

I haven't seriously listened to BG since "Somewhere Far Beyond". My taste for metal just got a little bloodier.

I did however have that first Demons & Wizards album on HEAVY rotation for many years after it came out. And that's what this reminds me of, with a bit more power metal mixed in.

Regardless, I'm kind of pumped and looking forward to hearing the rest of the album.

Pittsburgh!!

Another vote for a Pittsburgh show!!!!!!

Praised be the bards!

I have to say that even though is always a torment when it comes to waiting like 4 years for a new album, it's always a worth torment! I know Blind Guardian since 2001 and it's far beyond my favorite band and inspiration for singing and imagining. This band built me who I am and I'm proud to see that each year, each song gets better. You guys will always be the best of the best! Thank you, Bards! Can't wait for the rest of this masterpiece!

Biography

Formed: 1984 in Krefeld, Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Forming in the small German town of Krefeld, Blind Guardian perfected a fusion of gothic- and fantasy-tinged European power metal with the velocity and technical precision of speed metal. Members Hansi Kürsch (vocals, bass), Marcus Siepen (guitar), André Olbrich (guitar), and Thomen Stauch (drums) initially called themselves Lucifer's Heritage, but elected to change it when a 1986 demo tape began to achieve underground popularity. They signed with the No Remorse label and issued Battalions of Fear...
Full Bio
Beyond the Red Mirror, Blind Guardian
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