The epic and classic German Power Metal band, Blind Guardian has been forging the best of albums for 31 years. They’ve had quite the heavy journey through music, with albums that perfectly soundtrack all of those years of work and determination. Though Blind Guardian hasn’t been the most popular Metal band, they’ve still made a huge mark on the genre. They are credited to be the most influential band in Power Metal ever, influencing bands like Hammerfall and Dragonforce. Blind Guardian has been inspired to create epic albums by Helloween and Metallica, and also by writers like Stephen King. After releasing eight great albums with all these influences and history, you find that the band keeps excelling and advancing with their sound. The new album in 2015 is a testament to the growth and advancement.
“Beyond the Red Mirror” is a highly anticipated and hyped album, and fans are skeptical of the truthfulness of all the hype. The album is inspired by a collision of Scifi and Fantasy themes, not surprising with the fantasy themes of the past albums. “Beyond the Red Mirror” is no doubt a more modern take on Blind Guardian’s sound, but still keeping with the traditional sound. The band wanted to do something different, an attempt to get a new generation interested in a classic style of Metal possibly. Regardless of the modernization, the old and true fans should be able to appreciate it. Though it might take a few listens to fully grasp the album, it is a likable album.
“Beyond the Red Mirror” is not your typical Power Metal album. It’s loud and epic, yet simple and subdued in some ways. The Ninth Wave opens the album with an ominous slow building choir, raging up to fast and technical speed instrumentation and interesting nuances. Twilight of the Gods is one of the best tracks of the album, containing more energy and vigor than other tracks on the album. This is a very great single to represent this album, because it is an anthem of Blind Guardian and their style. My favorite track off the album is next, Prophecies. This song has so many different styles in it, making for contrast on the album. It is a classic and solid Power Metal track of this new album. A changeup track representing the Sci Fi influences of the album and reminds me greatly of the most recent Threshold album. At the Edge of Time is even more different than the rest with moving and haunting orchestral work. It is a very epic track and is one of the main highlights of the album.
The rest of the album is still dynamic with a ballad jam like Distant Memories, with really well executed prog underlay. Ashes of Eternity is a faster and heavier track and is a great headbanger, a good track to sing along to. The Holy Grail is typical Blind Guardian; All over the place with fast and technical instrumentation, chanting rhythmic and melodic vocals, and group vocals lifting the song up to glory. The album remains epic throughout the last four tracks. The Throne is more of an emotional track, droning on and containing a great sense of desperation. It also contains some catchy guitar work, some of the best of the album in fact. Sacred Mind is different from the other tracks, breaking up the album very well. It is a little more dark and Gothic, more subdued than the anthems the fans are used to from Blind Guardian. I was very impressed with this track. Miracle Machine is a piano ballad with well executed emotive and building vocals, reminding me of great epic ballads like Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. It is one of my favorite tracks Blind Guardian has put out. The album closes as fast and as classic as it began with interesting off beat track, Grand Parade. This track is a closing anthem to remember, with excellent strings and group vocals on top of pounding drums.
After hearing “Beyond the Red Mirror” several times, I couldn’t believe that I forgot how great this band is. The vocal range of Hansi Kürsch is absolutely amazing as well as the guitar work from Andre and Marcus. They are just an incredibly impressive band, and it shows with this new album. “Beyond the Red Mirror” is not as solid and deep as I expected from reading description, but its catchiness and dynamics make up for a lack of connection. It is a soundtrack, more than an album to hold dear with personal meaning. The layers don’t sound as mature and developed as I would’ve liked either. I appreciate all the musicianship they put into this album, however and find it to be a great addition to their catalogue. It will definitely whet the appetite of new Power Metal fans and continue the great prowess of Blind Guardian.
Overall album Rating 7/10