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Blind Guardian

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King of Loss
3 stars This is Blind Guardian's second effort and here this is where they still process the older "Thrashier Metallica" sound as I call it. The rawer sound coupled with the lack of Hansi's multi-layered vocals make the sound here really raw sounding and extremely Speed/Thrash Metal like. Not a bad thing here as Banish From Sanctuary, Valhalla, etc. are all Blind Guardian classics and extremely brilliant sounding. But this is no Power Metal masterpiece as it shows Blind Guardian are getting their sound together and setting a foundation for their later, more Symphonic, More Progressive releases. A great foundation here, even though this album is not the most solid or stable-sounding album on their rather short discography (for such a long band!) But the original Staunch, Kursch, Olbrich and Siepen lineup will last until A Twist in the Myth was released late in 2006.

An ok effort. 2.5/5 For a good addition into your album collection.

Report this review (#127887)
Posted Sunday, July 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the second album of Blind Guardian, dare to say the greatest Power Metal artists. It was year 1989, for us youngsters found of Helloween, it was like end the world when Kai Hansen left Helloween. So the main highlight of this album for us those times was Kai Hansen vocals on Valhalla... Follow the Blind is actually quite good album, only it needs that you are in special somewhat depressive mood to listen to it. Don't Break the Circle is the great song even it has nothing to do with progressive.

If somebody of prog fans is interested in Blind Guardian I would recommend to start with the Nightfall... For Follow the Blind 'good, but not essential (as prog)' would be very fair rating.

Report this review (#141049)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Switch your mode to power metal! Otherwise .

.skip this review! It's because the music presented here in this album nothing whatsoever that can be classified as prog music at all. It's a pure power metal album with fast tempo and double bass pedals work. I owned this CD as a logical consequence of falling in love with their Nightfall in Middle Earth album which to me is a masterpiece of progressive metal album. This second album "Follow The Blind" has nothing similar with that masterpiece album. My chief reason to spin again this CD is because of after watching their first DVD set, I saw how "Valhalla" was performed brilliantly. That's why I need to re-spin the "Follow The Blind" album so that I can listen to the music

This album comprises all power metal tunes with fast tempo music as demonstrated by double pedal bass drums and the guitar solo. This time Hansi Kursch still play bass guitar and vocal. From "Inquisition" (0:40) to "Banish From Sanctuary" (5:28) there is strong demonstration of the heavy and high speed music offered. The guitar solo seems quite dominating in terms of the music. "Damned for All Time" (4:57) continues the sounds of heavy music, followed with the title track "Follow the Blind" (7:11). From the tracks provided here in this album it's very clear how the foundations of Blind Guardian have been built. "Valhalla" (4:55) does not seem interesting at this studio version but when it's performed live, it becomes interesting. It also appeared at "Tokyo Tapes" live album.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#156883)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars A good album, but it is definitely worse than its predecessor. It is actually their worst, in my opinion

Well, Follow the Blind is the fist transitional album for Blind Guardian. Much like Battalions of Fear, this is a speed metal album, but the power metal influence is getting increasingly bigger, and that is very clear when you see the length of the songs (they are all generally much bigger), see the total time of the album (the album is almost 4 minutes longer) and notice that there is 1 song less (there are 8 songs here and 9 in Battalions). Also the songs start to have more of that epic feeling, something that will follow Blind Guardian probably until the end of the band. However, this album have a big problem that cannot go unnoticed, specially when compared to Battalions of Fear: it is way repetitive and because of that it sounds boring and dull many times (like in the songs Damned for all Time and Follow the Blind), so i think the guys should have followed themselves and make smaller songs where the ideas could be better developed and worked, without making the songs sound bigger than they should nor boring neither dull like they do. Maybe the real problem is that this album is mostly a straightforward speed metal with way - to - long songs.

The good news is that there are terrific songs in this album such as Inquisition + Banished from Sanctuary and Valhalla (Valhalla got some special highlights on their live DVD, when the audience sang it even after the band finished the it and at the end of The Last Candle and before Bright Eyes). Strangely enough these songs sound a lot like older Guardian, and therefore are very power metal influenced, being the best songs of the album, at least in my opinion.

About the songs, musicianship and other features there are some thing i would like to state:

Although this album sound a lot more cooked than Battalions rawness, meaning that technically they are better but it is still no Niccolò Paganini Moto Perpetuo, if you know what i mean. I mean, they here show some really good progress, but there are still a long road to walk. Both the solos and the riffing are way more competent and their notes are much clearer and also Hansi's singing got a lot better, or maybe they just got a better production, but i rather believe they became better musicians. Also, in 89' their bassist, both studio session and live bassist, was Hansi, who still played bass for Guardian until Imaginations from the Other Side, but that is another story.

Grade and final thoughts:

Unlike Battalions, i actually think this is a fair grade for Follow the blind, that is a good album, but its not THAT good also. Of course, for the hardcore fan this album is a must have, for it contains some classics like Valhalla and Banished from Sanctuary, but for the average fan this album is just a good release.

On a personal side note, i would like to say that this album MUST be listened loud, or it will just loose its goodness away.

Report this review (#177267)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Follow the Blind is the second studio album from German power metal act Blind Guardian. In 1989 the german power metal scene were dominated by Helloween and their succesful Keeper of the Seven Keys albums. Blind Guardian are very influenced by Helloween on Follow the Blind and their later progressive tendencies are nowhere to be found on this album.

The music on Follow the Blind is generally fast euro power metal with lots of tremolo picking galloping guitar riffs ( and some thrashy ones too), double bass drums and lots of leads and guitar solos. Iron Maiden is another of Blind Guardian´s influences on Follow the Blind. I like the fast pace and when Blind Guardian slows down it´s unfortunately a bit too obvious that their material still lacked quality at this point in their career. That´s actually my biggest problem with this album. There are lots of melody but not many memorable lines that stick. Favorites are Banish From Sanctuary and Fast to Madness, but nothing really sticks out too much. It´s a very consistent album. The only thing that does stick out is the cover of The Beach Boys Barbara Ann. What a strange choice for a cover song. It´s a mood enhancer though and I´m left smiling.

The musicianship is great. Hansi Kürsch still needed to fine tune his vocal style but his performance is allright here. The melodic leads are great too.

The production leaves a lot to be desired and in fact I´m so annoyed by this thin and empty eighties production that I´ll have to withdrawn one star because of it. It simply destroys the enjoyment for me.

Follow the Blind is another fan only album from Blind Guardian and even though there are enjoyable moments on the album the overall feeling after listening is that it´s a 2 star album. If the production had been better I might have given Follow the Blind 3 stars though. Don´t start here if you´re new to Blind Guardian.

Report this review (#187786)
Posted Monday, November 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Follow the Blind ? 1989 (2.5/5) 8 ? Best Song: Barbara Ann!...? Is it me, or is that a Monty Python and the Holy Grail clip for the first song? By god I love that movie. It's my personal favorite comedy. I bet you didn't know that, did you, Mr. Kipling? Well, it's just a trivial little fifty second introduction. It's also the best song on here. Yeah, I'm being all controversial and [&*!#], aren't I? It's still the same band, doing the same thing as they did last year, just like every other standard metal band in the world. I'd rate them even lower if it weren't for the fact that they're really good players and they really try hard (except for the singer, who still sounds like a dying rat coughing into a broken washing machine). It's your typical power metal release. I'm so bored with the notion I can't bring myself to talk about the songs separately. Just be assured that when I say 'derivative double bass and toneless thrash riffing under a vocalist who doesn't know what' he's doing', that this is exactly what I mean, without any feasible way of construing my message. The only highlight is a silly hard rock cover of Barbara Ann. It made me feel really good inside. Ever [&*!#]ty metal band should be contractually obligated to conclude their garbage albums with a neat cover like that, for sanity's sake.
Report this review (#441406)
Posted Sunday, May 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Blind Guardian's second album continues in much the same vein as the first, with a guest appearance from Helloween veteran Kai Hansen underlining their position at the heart of the European power metal and speed metal scenes. Still thrashier and angrier than the sound they'd develop later in their career, the band prove the diverse range of their abilities by rounding the album off with a cover of NWOBHM standard Don't Break the Circle (originally by Demon) as well as showing their sense of humour with a thrashed-up cover of the surf rock classic Barbara Ann. On balance, there isn't a whole lot of musical development shown over the debut album, but aside from that this is another enjoyable disc.
Report this review (#592022)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Follow the Blind' - Blind Guardian (59/100)

A band has all the time in the world to make their debut album. Without the exposure or expectation to pressure out an album, artists can sometimes spend years refining their best material for their big first impression. So it was, at least, with Blind Guardian's Battalions of Fear, a semi-professional effort that refurbished their best demo material to a pretty exciting effect. Having had a few years' worth of songs as Lucifer's Heritage to choose from the first time around, it is unsurprising (but nonetheless disappointing) that Follow the Blind fails to deliver as strong a package as its predecessor. With just over a year between the two albums, Blind Guardian's sophomore tends to settle for a set of palatable speed metal tunes, with just a couple of memorable highlights between the lot of them. The album isn't terrible, but it's significantly less than I would expect from this band at any point in their career.

Although it's a safe declaration that Blind Guardian kept setting their ambitions higher with every album, it is arguable that Follow the Blind was the only exception, at least until A Twist in the Myth two decades later. While Battalions of Fear was indeed gritty and juvenile, it often went the extra distance to reveal slight progressive metal influences, drawn from the likes of Fates Warning and Savatage. A lasting fan favourite like "Majesty" (from the debut) even nearly passed the eight minute mark; the style in itself was primitive, but some of their artistic choices hinted as something more sophisticated. Again, I do blame a large part of this on the fact that Blind Guardian didn't give themselves their usual years of building up the material, but the band feels less effectively intentioned. The songs are still crafted from most of the same biting speed and vaguely NWOBHM-inspired twin harmonies, but the choruses and song structures stand out as being significantly less interesting this time around.

I do think of Follow the Blind as a disappointing regression in an otherwise superb career, but developments can still be found in the unlikeliest of places. Though the influence isn't nearly profound enough to truly distinguish it for its 'second-rate Battalions of Fear' status, the Bay Area-thrashers that Blind Guardian were listening to at the time of writing the album have clearly manifested themselves in the music. The production is markedly heavier than the debut, and the twin bass/guitar riff lines typically used in thrash are employed to pleasantly energizing effect. Although there is even less sense of their distinctive identity on Follow the Blind than the debut had to offer, a few songs nonetheless stand out. Head, shoulder and torso above the rest is "Valhalla", a blistering assault of a song that easily deserves its continued inclusion in live performances.

While the combination of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail-derived intro "Inquisition" and "Banish from Sanctuary" are no match for "Majesty", they offer Follow the Blind a relatively powerful start. "Beyond the Ice" is a solid instrumental in the image of "Gandalf's Rebirth". With less focus placed on strong choruses and melodic writing, many of the album's other tracks aren't as successful. Songs like "Damned for All Time" and "Fast to Madness" feel like by-the-numbers facsimiles of the debut's material. Nothing is out of place, but there is nothing still to get me really engaged. Where is this album's "Run for the Night", its "Majesty", "The Martyr", or "Battalions of Fear"? I am constantly prone to bringing up "Valhalla" in each case, but the lack of otherwise great songs is solid grounds for disappointment.

If there's anything else to say about Follow the Blind, I can't help but bring up what a surprise it is to hear their cover of "Barbara Ann". Though originally recorded by The Regents, I associate this song closely with The Beach Boys, and while Brian Wilson and company aren't known primarily for their influence on speed metal, their meticulous attention to vocal harmonies beckons strong association with the direction Hansi would take his voice on future albums. Although Blind Guardian conclude their album with tongue-in-cheek (Voivod pursued similar ends with their "Batman" cover the year before on Dimension Hatross) it unwittingly stands as a continued reminder that this band were destined for far greater things, even if the standard here fell something short of excellence.

Report this review (#1417228)
Posted Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Review Permalink
2 stars You'd better follow "Battalions of Fear"

Second studio album by the Germans, "Follow the Blind" offers a music similar in style compared to their debut "Battalions of Fear": a melodic speed metal with an epic touch. However, similar in style does not necessarily mean similar in quality, and this is unfortunately the case here. BLIND GUARDIAN delivers a raw thrashy metal, sounding rather flat, with less inspiration, less remarkable guitar soli and less memorable hymns. Hansi Kürsch's singing has not very much improved yet. The promises given by the impetuosity and the youth of the first opus seem a bit deflated.

The only tracks worth listening are the sinister overture "Inquisition", a metal version of Monty Python's "Holy Grail" introduction, and the thundering epic "Valhalla", featuring Kai Hansen. Hearing this powerful song really makes you want to brandish your double axe to battle against your enemies! The cover of THE BEACH BOYS' "Barbara Ann" is quite fun and energetic but completely out of place. The rest is a bit rough and lacks catchy melodies.

One of the weakest albums from the GUARDIAN, better go with the first one. You must listen to "Valhalla" though, otherwise you won't go to Vikings' paradise. After this disc, the band will craft their identity, step by step, by incorporating more sophisticated orchestrations and medieval elements to their music, but this is another (bard) story...

Report this review (#1573844)
Posted Thursday, June 2, 2016 | Review Permalink
2 stars 'Follow the Blind', the follow-up to 1988's debut 'Battalions of Fear', more-or-less follows in the footprints left by its predecessor in being nothing more than a generic, run-of-the-mill late 80's power/speed metal album.

While there are some very subtle orchestral elements dotted around here and there, a sign of where Blind Guardian would go with future releases, it's still a long way off from what would go on to become the bands defining sound. The songwriting never strays far from the speed metal clichés, and Hansi Kursch's vocals, normally a pleasure to listen to, have yet to reach their full maturity here.

The true gem of this record is no doubt 'Banished from Sanctuary', a song which remains a staple of any live set to this day. Otherwise, most of the songs sound pretty similar and it's hard to really pick out any specific highlights. The production sounds exactly how you would expect it to, giving the music a raw, harshness that it needs, and a guest appearance from Kai Hansen (of Helloween/Gamma Ray fame), is a welcome addition, though only further distinguishes this album as nothing more than a standard power metal affair.

Overall, it's not a terrible record, and I love Blind Guardian, it's just that this is a band still trying to find themselves. They'd certainly develop a sound to call their own over the next few albums, but otherwise, 'Follow the Blind' is one I'd recommend solely to the collectors.

Report this review (#1679050)
Posted Thursday, January 12, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars 30 years ago Blind Guardian released their second album. More thrashy than the previous one but there's more important thing about this record. Song Banish from Sanctuary is fully shaped in Guardian style. This is where the journey begins. Listen to the chorus, "the darkness in me is filling me with pain". The rest of the album is mostly good or very good. Valhalla is a great song featuring Kai Hansen (ex Helloween, Gamma Ray) on vocals. The whole effort isn't as much Helloweenish as their debut though. They gained more self consciousness yet this is still far from perfection. Obviously a good album, great in some places. Luckily there was more to come.
Report this review (#2216795)
Posted Thursday, May 30, 2019 | Review Permalink

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