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Blind Guardian - A Night at the Opera CD (album) cover

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA

Blind Guardian

 

Progressive Metal

3.98 | 151 ratings

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Nhorf
3 stars Released after the sucessful "Nightfall in Middle-Earth", "A Night at the Opera" shows Blind Guardian adopting an even more ambitious sound: the speed metal elements that made some of the songs of the previous album what they were, were all thrown away and there are literally thousands of layers and classical arrangements to be found on this record. The guitar is even harder to distinguish this time, with the keyboards assuming the main role. And while the keyboards worked perfectly well for "Nightfall in Middle-Earth", I have to say that they are even better on this opus. Really, there are awesome keyboard lines here, like the one on the beginning of "The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight" or the one played during the first section of the closer, "And Then There Was Silence".

Musically, this album, while containing many elements also present on the previous record, can be seen as a step forward, the band fully adopting a new symphonic sound. However, "A Night at the Opera" suffers from some problems, like the absence of lengthy instrumental passages; you can easily recognize this by listening to the before-mentioned "And Then There Was Silence". While, yeah, the song may be epic as hell, Hansi is literally always singing on it and listening to a song clocking in at around 14 minutes with no instrumental sections bores me to death. There are a fair amount of guitar solos to be found on this record though, they are present on almost every tune but they are also too damn short. André Olbrich is a great guitar player and it's sad to see him so buried in the mix.

Returning to "The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight", it can be seen as the only true song that works perfectly well, the keyboards blending together perfectly with the guitars and the whole medieval atmosphere surrounding it being excellent. The vocal layers and the presence of the choir are two other important elements of this epic little gem. The lyrics, while very romantic, fit well with the music and are fairly well written. The false ending of the tune is also among the best moments of the CD. Probably, the best song of the album.

As for the strucutres of the songs, there are lots of variety here, from the quiet beginning of songs like "Under the Ice" to the powerful riffs of "Sadly Sings Destiny". Those two tracks are also among the highlights of the album, both carrying amazing choruses. The catchy choruses are, indeed, present on almost every tune of the album and they kind of compensate, at times, the lack of instrumental sections. "Precious Jerusalem" is also quite strong, with the arabian-influenced melodies, and "Battlefield" follows the same path. "And Then There Was Silence" could have been much better than it is, but it still is a decent tune with some interesting moments ("never give up, never give in!"). Ah, and don't think I don't like that particular song because I don't like long tunes! My favourite Genesis song is "Supper's Ready", my favourite Yes song is "Close to the Edge", my favourite Iron Maiden song is "Phantom of the Opera", my favourite Dream Theater song is "Octavarium", my favourite Metallica song is "...And Justice for All" (correction: "That Was Just your Life")... As you can see, I adore long songs but, for some reason, I can't really understand why "And Then There was..." is so worshipped.

Moving on, "The Soulforged" and "The Age of False Innocence" are a bit weaker, both are the only true fillers of the album. The vocal lines aren't that strong and both are generally very forgettable. Finally, "Wait for An Answer" is, structure-wise, very similar to "Under the Ice" or "Sadly Sings Destiny", and is a fairly enjoyable track.

So, if you adored the arrangements and layers present on "Nightfall in Middle-Earth", this album is for you. It is fairly enjoyable and interesting and bear in mind that I'm not a symphonic metal fan! Ah, and if your favourite Blind Guardian record is "Battalions of Fear", I don't think you'll enjoy that much this piece. The speed metal elements are gone and there are no aggressive, ultra-fast tracks to be found here. On other hand, if you are a fan of progressive metal, you also can enjoy this piece, since the songs are fairly complex, intricate and original.

Best Moments of the CD: - "never give up, never give in!" -the choruses of "Under the Ice" and "Sadly Sings Destiny". -the false ending of "The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight".

Nhorf | 3/5 |

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