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Blind Guardian - Nightfall in Middle-Earth CD (album) cover

NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH

Blind Guardian

 

Progressive Metal

3.99 | 199 ratings

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Isa
Prog Reviewer
3 stars |C| One of the better cheesy power-folk metal albums out there.

The power-folk metal genre is more often then not an inevitable ball of cheese, for any band. Now don't get me wrong, I have no prejudice against the style. There are bands that pull it off effectively and convincingly, Wintersun being a perfect example, in my opinion. However, this output falls more within the cheese-ball arena, and there are far too many mediocre bands that sound almost exactly like this. However, even with that in consideration, there's some quality work in this album. Certainly an album in the spirit of Tolkien's work is one to check out.

From what I can tell from this work, Blind Guardian is generally more artistic and skilled at their craft than most of their power-folk counterparts. I really like the diverse and effective use of non-rock instruments, especially in the folk sections of the album, and some of the heavier power-metal sections as well. The overall composition has a good sense of detail. What's more there are a lot of good riffs, melodies, sound-effects, etc., and a decent coherent lyrical concept that helps the album hold its own in. I'm sure a read of the Silmarillion and how the lyrics are musically conveyed would be a fascinating study. There are some solid tracks on here as well, Eldar (that pianist has some chops!) and Blood Tears are my favorites, and A Dark Passage was a great ending song.

Quality of craft is certainly less often the case in the all-out power-metal sections of fast rhythm-guitar strumming, fast sweeping scale runs, stereotypical cutting guitar tone, and double-bass madness that sound exactly like every other power-metal band out there (Nom the Wise a perfect example). I also really dislike the vocalist, he has little to no subtly in his singing, even in the soft folk sections. He's either a growling orc or a nasally over-forced minstrel, and as Prog-Leviathan pointed out, you can pretty much hear him switch between the two like an on-off button. And his vocal track could've used some reverberation, it sounds a bit awkward sometimes as naked as it is. Sometimes the effects are used just to be there and add to the cheesiness, as in Noldor (Death Winter Reigns).

Basically this is an artistic album of (literally) Tolkien-ish power-folk metal, which ranges from convincing and great work to painfully unconvincing and mediocre (sometimes downright boring) composition. Some tracks are great, some are cheesy, some are boring. That sums up this album. If you're into the power-folk scene, this album is pretty much essential. Otherwise, there are thousands of albums that would be more worth your time. Get this if you're an avid Tolkien fan, I suppose.

Isa | 3/5 |

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