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Blind Guardian - A Night At The Opera CD (album) cover


Blind Guardian


Progressive Metal

3.98 | 179 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars Kicked me right out of my power metal depression, this one. Fundamentally different yet refreshingly similar to its often-times rather formulaic peers, A Night at the Opera proved that it's actually possible to go beyond the dry, speedy riffs, sappy, upbeat melodic workouts and progressively sillier and more brothers-in-arms-like battle cries of the choruses. In my eyes, it just sucks the life and individuality out of so many of these bands, leaving a diluted mess of metal it's hard to connect to at any level.

Blind Guardian is markedly different, yet very much the same as the rest of the school of German speed/power/heavy metal on this album. While perhaps being slightly easier on the speed part, you find all you'd expect from such a band here, so there's no escaping that fact. But Blind Guardian takes it all one step further and dares to break free of the structural conservatism, jumping from mood to mood, tempo to tempo and even style to style just as effortlessly you want your prog heroes to do it. There's a free-spirited, collective spirit of exploration and curiosity that makes the metal here reach new levels of composition and harmonic depth while still being true to its identity. It also helps that Hansi Kürsch has been blessed with one of the rarest qualities in power metal, namely a unique and dynamic voice.

It's a sweaty, complex (even without wild time signatures and untraditional song-writing) set of songs that face you when you turn the volume up for A Night at the Opera. Unapologetic epic pretensions, layer upon layer of almost perfectly coordinated vocals, harmonies, riffs and swirling melodies. Orchestral keyboard arrangements, medieval minstrelsy, symphonic pretensions and deadly power from hard-hitting riffs and dynamic drumming that hits you right in the gut. At times, the depth in the layering and the wall of sound it produces reaches almost face-melting values, positively soaring with life and energy. Bombast is the word, so if you can't bear that, stay miles away from this record. It's close to bursting from it.

And in the end, that's the only thing that keeps me from awarding this the full five stars. Sitting through the ten songs here is quite exhausting. The experience just leaves you drained after being pounded by wave after wave of all that thick, thick music.

Remarkably high quality throughout the whole album, with no true low points.

4 stars.


LinusW | 4/5 |


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