Album of the Week 37-2015: Blind Guardian – At The Edge Of Time

Generally, ‘At The Edge Of Time’ is seen as Blind Guardian’s big return to form after ‘A Twist In The Myth’, which I personally didn’t consider as that much of a departure from the rest of their discography, but whatever. The album does however bring something back to the table in the sense that it is a stylistic anthology of everything the German Power Metal quartet has done in the three decades of their existence. That alone is enough to justify all the praise ‘At The Edge Of Time’ has received. It is most definitely their best latter day record and one of their finest overall.

Bookended by the epic bombast of the heavily symphonic ‘Sacred Worlds’ and – even better – ‘Wheel Of Time’, the album may trick the listener into thinking the album is a continuation of the richly layered progressive Power Metal sound heard on ‘A Night At The Opera’ and the hugely successful ‘Nightfall In Middle-Earth’. There are definitely bits of that, but other parts of Blind Guardian’s sound are highlighted as well. The riff driven Speed Metal of ‘A Voice In The Dark’, ‘Tanelorn (Into The Void)’ and to a lesser extent ‘Ride Into Obsession’ even bring back the atmosphere of ‘Tales From The Twilight World’. A very welcome return resulting in three album highlights.

Surprising is ‘Road Of No Release’, which builds from a ballad-like opening to a powerful progressive Metal track that doesn’t really sound like anything Blind Guardian has ever done before. Of course the trademark celtic flavored ballads the band seems to have more joy at than I do are here in the shape of ‘Curse My Name’ and ‘War Of The Thrones’. In addition, ‘Valkyries’ and ‘Control The Divine’ are two somewhat lighter Rock songs fairly obviously influenced by Queen. Especially the former unexpectedly blew me away with its strong composition and relatively calm production.

Where ‘At The Edge Of Time’ is sort of a triumph over its predecessor is in the production. That’s what makes the album feel so different from ‘A Twist In The Myth’. Kudos also to Hansi Kürsch. While he mostly avoids the highest peaks of the early material, he manages to convince with a powerful performance. It’s funny how he and lead guitarist André Olbrich are all over this record without ever getting in each other’s way.

Despite my opinion that the album is somewhat unjustly seen as sort of a comeback, there’s no denying that ‘At The Edge Of Time’ is one of the very best Power Metal records of this century. In fact, it hardly has any European competition. Of course, it’s easier to set up this much of a fantastic Charlie Bauerfeind production if you’re already somewhat of a household name, but without the good songs to back it up, all you have is hollow bombast. It seems like Blind Guardian set out to combine all of their best assets for this record and if that’s the case, there’s no doubt they succeeded.

Recommended tracks: ‘Tanelorn (Into The Void)’, ‘Wheel Of Time’, ‘Ride Into Obsession’

  1. As I like German Power Metal especially, I’m gonna give this a listen – hadn’t heard of them before…

    • They were among the first German Power Metal bands, although their earlier work had more in common with Speed Metal. It’s probably well worth your time. Most of their material is actually. Enjoy the discovery!

      • I like speed metal too so that would be fine. Also death metal…

      • All I can say is that I hope this weblog can help you find more interesting artists! Always a delight to do so.
        Just don’t be discouraged by the occasional non-Metal review haha!

      • I’m hoping so too 🙂 I think it might!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: