And to finish out the week, an arguable classic slice of European Power Metal – with sleeve art almost precision designed to irk the irksome, traumatise tiresome hipsters and cause kvlt elitists to kvetch.
Germany’s Blind Guardian are perhaps best described as occupying a space somewhere between Iron Maiden, Helloween and – I guess – Dream Theater. We’re talking songs directly inspired by double-bass drums played at a hundred miles an hour, proggy time signatures and lyrics directly referencing fantasy literature, as amply demonstrated by an album which many fans would claim as their favourite – the J.R.R. Tolkien/”Silmarillion“-inspired “Nightfall in Middle-Earth“.
To the artwork – it’s a painting of Luthien dancing in front of Morgoth, painted by Andreas Marshall. I confess to having something a blind spot for Tolkien’s novels, something which I propose to address in the near future via the medium of a series on the blog – is it ambitious to read “The Hobbit” and the whole “Lord of the Rings” cycle before part one of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” opens at the end of the year? I like to think not, but I’m ever one for taking on challenges which ask more than I can reasonably cope with. It’s an epic fantasy thing, people – realise…
What the cover doesn’t capture is just how delightfully cheesy the spoken word portions of the album are – for viewers used to the earnest storytelling of the Jackson cinematic trilogy, this album’s (let’s be honest) amateur dramatic performance of the Tolkien material is a splendid thing.
And it’s a killer record – if you like your heavy metal to be bold, powerful, driving and unabashedly unfashionable, Blind Guardian do this kind of stuff better than anybody else. If your new D&D campaign needs a stirring musical accompaniment to really get those 20-sided die flying, you need this record on your iPod/stereo pronto…
- Cultural Endeavours for May 4th 2012 (fluffrick.wordpress.com)
- BLIND GUARDIAN Frontman: No More Shows Before Late 2014 (blabbermouth.net)
- Blind Guardian, ‘Memories of a Time to Come’: Win a Copy of the New CD! (noisecreep.com)
- BLIND GUARDIAN Frontman Hansi Kürsch – “I Am Absolutely Sure That There Will Not Be Any Blind Guardian Shows Before Autumn 2014” (bravewords.com)
- ‘Hobbit’ Footage Amazes Comic-Con Crowd As Peter Jackson Talks Shop (huffingtonpost.com)