Damn. When was the last time I heard a Blind Guardian album? I feel so out of the loop. I think it was 2010. Oh, cool. I am all caught up then.
Looking over Blind Guardian’s discography one can see a steady release schedule stretched over a long period of time. Since 1998’s Nightfall on Middle Earth, the band has relegated their releases to around 4 years between albums. Things are of course never silent as the band fills in those long years with various singles, live albums and box sets. If anything can be said about Blind Guardian is they are pacing themselves for what seems like the longest haul in the history of the universe.
Beyond the Red Mirror is Blind Guardian’s 10th studio album with a lineup that has remained relatively consistent for almost ten years and 3 albums. Aside from the addition and subtraction of the rhythm section, the vocals and guitar work for Blind Guardian has not changed since the band’s inception. This sort of consistency provides a base of support for the music to flourish unchecked and for some of these records to become some of the more celebrated pieces in power metal’s history. Beyond the Red Mirror comes on the wings of a strong lead single, “Twilight of the Gods.” What the song title lacks in originality makes up for ten fold in genuine and entertaining power metal which is wide and grand in scope.
If I seem at all pleased with Beyond the Red Mirror it is because Blind Guardian manages to make the most of a record. While this sounds odd to say, it is easy for a band of this caliber which this much past praise to fall asleep on their laurels with a decent yet underwhelming record. From the very grandiose 9 minute introduction to both “Twilight of the Gods” and “Prophesies,” the band successfully manages to capture interest which only leads to over an hour of solid power metal which leads to slight embarrassment for ever doubting them in the first place. The record begins with a wonderful entrance and marches out with “The Grand Parade” which would be maddening with the level of pomp reached if not for how successful the band is at handling grandiosity. This is a really good record and I should be expecting more from them in the future.
Blind Guardian manages to surpasses multiple expectations by crafting a record that is quite lengthy but relentless in its entertainment. Even by deep portions of the second half like “The Throne” and “Sacred Mind,” the band manages to present interesting and engaging music which is so far from boring it is near frightening. For a band with this much legacy, it is refreshing to see an act that has the ability to be almost endless in their ability to make good records. I fully expected to come into this record slightly bored but now I am leaving with streamers and confetti in my hair.
Album: Beyond the Red Mirror
Released: January 30th, 2015
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Score: 7/9 Hammers