Blind Guardian has never done anything half-way or half-hearted. For these self-described perfectionists everything is grand and extravagant. And so it is with their latest and tenth album, Beyond The Red Mirror.
The band increase the bombastic nature of their symphonic power metal by using three different classical choirs, from three different countries, for their vocal and choral arrangements. But that's not enough. Blind Guardian hired, not one, but two orchestras, each with 90 members, to enlarge their symphonic sound. It's all rather impressive. But what's quite surprising is that this large orchestration and choral element never overwhelms the Bards' traditional melodic power metal. It's elemental, yet largely complimentary. Power metal itself can be rather ambitious, even pompous. Add the immense symphonic atmosphere and thing become stratospheric.
And that basically sums up Beyond The Red Door. Now toss a sometimes cryptic story line, Hansi Kürsch's bold, often undecipherable, vocals, and a bunch of stinging guitar solos, and you have Blind Guardian at their best. There's a tie-in to 1995's Imaginations From The Other Side, where the band revisits the protagonist and the two worlds twenty years later. As with most Guardian albums, you should have lyric sheet handy (which I didn't having received a digital promo) to catch the story or, at the very least, understand what Kursch is singing. Alternatively, while this is pure Blind Guardian, the album could also be considered an exercise in redundancy. Between the orchestration, choirs, busy riffs, and galloping rhythm section, all the song start sounding the same, the blend together more than a little ease. If you're occupying yourself with something while listening, you might not be able distinguish where one song ends and another begins. But the fact of the matter is that songs are different and merely require your attention. For instance, there's an adequate difference at the very start from the highly orchestrated The Ninth Wave and the following classic power metal of Twilight of the Gods. Again with speed and power of Sacred Mind and the light piano ballad of Miracle Machine. In the end, as said earlier, Beyond The Red Mirror is simply Blind Guardian being the Bards they are, just larger, more bombastic and extravagant. Recommended.
Beyond The Red Mirror is simply Blind Guardian being the Bards they are, just larger, more bombastic and extravagent. Recommended.
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