Here’s the link to last week’s *cough* like three weeks ago *cough* in case you missed it and wanted to check it out:
So, this week’s is another band very near and dear to my heart. Undoubtedly one of the masters of Metal:
Blind Guardian (from Germany)
Blind Guardian is part of a genre called Power Metal, a genre usually defined by technical prowess, higher-octave vocals, lyrical themes relating to mythology and literature, and a general over-the-top nerdy feel. Blind Guardian is the epitome of such themes, especially since they once made an entire album based off of The Silmarillion. That’s right: The Silmarillion. In particular, Blind Guardian’s sound is unique in its fusion of Power Metal staccato guitars and speeding double bass with their vocalist’s layered sound to create a very thick, very dense feel to their music.
The vocalist of this band is Hansi Kursch, who’s also the vocalist in his side project with Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth: Demons and Wizards. Andre Olbrich, their lead guitar, has been voted one of the best guitarists in Metal by a number of sources, and I wholeheartedly agree. His complex riffs and emotional solos really give Blind Guardian a tremendous sound. Marcus Siepen picks up the rhythm guitar, rounding out three of the band’s original members. Frederik Ehmke takes up the percussion, flute, and bagpipes for Blind Guardian, having replaced Thomas Stauch back in 2005. I personally preferred Stauch’s drumming, but Ehmke is by no means a poor alternative.
One of the things that makes Blind Guardian’s sound so full and mature is that, largely, the band has remained the same since the late 80s in terms of their lineup. This produces a consistent quality in bands that I don’t think is anything to scoff at.
Without further ado, I’ll start off with possibly Blind Guardian’s most recognizable songs, from their album “A Night at the Opera”. Featured in Heavy Metal Robot Unicorn Attack, this is “Battlefield”, which is based on the epic moment in the Song of Hildebrandt, when the eponymous Hildebrandt unknowingly faces off against his father Hadubrand. The outcome is unknown.
The next piece is my personal favorite song by this band, taken from “Nightfall in Middle Earth”. The whole album is filled with so many wonderful songs it’s hard to choose my favorites, and it’s one of the few albums I will ever give a perfect 10/10. This, is “Mirror, Mirror”, in which Turgon builds the hidden city of Gondolin with the help of the god Ulmo, no matter how Ulmo warns him that one day his people will fail despite his efforts.
The next one is a close second for my personal favorite from the same album as the previous video. This song is “Nightfall”, dealing with Feanor’s decision to go East after Morgoth after the slaying of his father Finwe and the theft of the Silmarils. “Nightfall” encapsulates his heroic speech to the Noldor, the disapproval of the Valar, and Feanor’s acceptance of the curse he lays on his people so that they might take revenge on the dark god who wronged them.
Let’s change it up with this new one with a newer song. From their newest album “At the Edge of Time”, the song is “Curse My Name”, based on John Milton’s “The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates”, in which he justified the killing of kings who did not carry out their duties. I think this song is a good example of Blind Guardian’s calmer, more folksy side.
To close things out I’ll leave you with one of Blind Guardian’s less Metal songs, being very traditional in it’s sound. This is from their newest album as well, the song is “War of the Thrones”, based on many themes from A Song of Ice and Fire by G.R.R. Martin. There’s also a version with a piano instead of guitars, but I prefer the sound of the guitars and tambourine. It gives it a much more Medieval feel.
Until next time!