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Blind Guardian - Beyond The Red Mirror CD (album) cover

BEYOND THE RED MIRROR

Blind Guardian

 

Progressive Metal

3.81 | 39 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Beyond the Red Mirror" is the 10th full-length studio album by German power metal act Blind Guardian. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in January 2015. It's the successor to "At The Edge Of Time" from 2010. "Beyond the Red Mirror" is a sci-fi/fantasy concept album and the sequel to "Imaginations from the Other Side (1995)". As usual Blind Guardian has created a majestic and very ambitious project and in addition to guitars, bass, drums, keyboards/piano, and vocals, the music also features choir sections and classical music sections, delivered by three different choirs and two classical orchestras.

Stylistically there are few surprises if you're familiar with the band's combination of power metal and symphonic metal with folk leanings. They shed their original speed metal roots a long time ago, and they've played the current style on quite a few releases now. As always the listener is bombarded with walls of sound. This is grand beyond epic and sometimes I forget that this is metal at all, because the guitars are buried in waves of huge choirs and classical orchestration. Sometimes the whole thing sounds a bit disjointed and the band and the orchestra seldom sound like they are in the same room playing (which they in reality pretty surely don't either), but when everything melts together to an epic whole, it's quite breathtaking. Blind Guardian also delivers more hard edged power metal parts that's a bit more "straight metal" and less theatrical, but those moments are few an far between. There are also a couple of ballad type tracks/sections featured on the album, which is nice for the dynamics and variation of the album.

"Beyond the Red Mirror" features a polished and professional sound production. To my ears it's a bit lifeless sounding though and as mentioned above it doesn't always succeed in bringing the rock instrumentation and the classical choirs/orchestra parts together in a natural sounding fashion. I also think it's an error not bringing the guitars more to the front of the mix, which would have made the album more sharper sounding. As it is now it simply sounds a bit overproduced and focusing more on the symphonic aspect of the band's sound an less on the power metal ditto.

The band are as always really well playing/singing. Blind Guardian are one of those artists where you are never in doubt that it's them playing. They have a very distinct sound. And my admiration for their unique sound and style is what saves "Beyond the Red Mirror". Not that it's a bad quality album or anything like that, because it's certainly not, but I personally miss the times when Blind Guardian kicked some ass and didn't focus so much on choirs and orchestras. A little less polish and more rawness and power would do the trick. Well...when that is said "Beyond the Red Mirror" is still a high quality release and to those who enjoy the more symphonic oriented Blind Guardian style, it's certainly a worthwhile release. One of their better releases in recent years. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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