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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the mediocre Somewhere far Beyond this was really a nice surprise. Produced by Flemming Rasmussen ( Metallica, Morbid Angel) at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark Imaginations from the Other Side was elaborate like no Blind Guardian album before it. The production skill used on this album is very professional and brings out the best in the music.

The elaborate and lavish title track kicks of the album. There are so many parts and leads on this track that it is almost a mini-epic. I heard in an interview it took them half a year to write this one track. The style hasn´t changed since the last album as this is still German Power Metal. But the execution of the project is much better. There are lots of layer of guitar, not unlike Metallica´s Master of Puppets and ...And Justice for All. And Hansi´s vocals are really aggressive throughout the whole album. This is Blind Guardian´s most aggressive album, and the angry vocals might scare a prog head or two away.

It´s hard to pick out any song as they are all very well composed and performed, but the title track is a classic.

It´s hard to say if this album really has any prog relevance as this is essentially Heavy Metal. But the Symphonic sound and the many parts in the songs makes up for that more than enough.

It is a near flawless album, but 4 stars will do as Blind Guardian would be even better on later albums.

Report this review (#148432)
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A critical milestone for the band .

In the mailing list of rock music community, i-Rock!, people are now discussing this power metal band from Germany. The discussion has been fruitful and compelling that led me respinning the CD of "Imaginations From The Other Side" album. Am not quite sure when did I purchase this album as I purchased most albums of Blind Guardian since I fell in love with "Nightfall in Middle Earth" album which blew me away and I gave this album with five stars rating at this site.

It is interesting to note that Lim Djoni, the guy who posted the topic of this band in i-Rock! music community mailing list, that he started loving Blind Guardian with this "Imaginations From The Other Side" because since this album the band's sound improved significantly than their previous albums. If that is the case then this album could be considered as important milestone for the band's career in metal scene. I am then curious to understand more about the music.

In fact, Lim Djoni is right .. I have seen the song of this album is different substantially Than previous one, say "Follow The Blind" but it's very similar in style with "Nightfall in Middle Earth" album. So, no wonder that I love this album.

The melody of songs in this album are all catchy and engaging especially when it combines the unique singing style of Hansi Kursch plus stunning guitar solo. I can feel from the opening track "Imaginations From The Other Side" until the closing track "And The Story Ends" all of them have catchy melody delivered mostly through vocal and choirs. Not only that. The flow of melody from one song to another track that follows flows beautifully and all of them build a cohesive album. The arrangements are also all excellent especially when combined with the nice melodies.

Another interesting thing is on the harmonies created by singing style of Hansi Kursch backed with well crafted choirs that follow are all excellent. When the vocal parts combined with the music, they all form beautifully crafted song. Take fourth track "The Script For My Requiem" which produces excellent harmonies has really made this song engaging the mind. Especially, when this song moves brilliantly to the next song "Mordred's Song" which starts nicely with acoustic guitar fills.

I have no doubt on musicianship of the band members in this album. They all have great songwriting skills that have been tested through their releases of excellent power metal albums. It's obvious that the virtuosities of lead guitar player are something of important to observe. The guitar sound is truly unique Blind Guardian and sounds really good. Overall performance is excellent.

Overall, I consider that this is one of well respected power metal bands that deserve the attention of metalheads in the globe. The composition is tight and the music is unique Blind Guardian sounds, and I have found no other band that sounds alike. This is an excellent power metal album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#156884)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars "Imaginations From The Other Side" has this cool cover art of a gothic looking frame that is sitting on a desk, and in this frame you can see another world(the other side). On the rear cover you see the same frame but from the other side, so it's like your in this other world looking into the room. The title track lyrically speaks of how when you were a child you could use your imagination to see the tale that never ends, and speaks about Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Merlin the Magician and Frodo and the Ring. It talks about how we need to break down the walls around our hearts to see, to use our imaginations.

"Imaginations From The Other Side" opens with some haunting sounds before heavy drums pound before the guitars come flying in. Vocals a minute in as it settles briefly. A punishing soundscape follows with some ripping guitar after the chorus. Heavy drums and passionate vocals 5 1/2 minutes in. I really like the chorus. A thunderous intro greets us in "I'm Alive" before it calms down with acoustic guitar. It doesn't last long though as it is trampled underfoot by what sounds like a herd of buffalo.This is uptempo and heavy. I think they call this Power Metal. Haha. Very impressive track. "A Past And Future Secret" is an acoustic song with reserved vocals. Drums and flute join in.The vocals do get passionate at times later on. "The Script For My Requiem" opens with bass before drums stomp all over the soundscape. Vocals come in screaming. The drumming is outstanding on this one.

"Mordren's Song" opens with acoustic guitar and lighter vocals. It gets heavier but it's mid-paced and the drums aren't as dominant. Some great guitar comes and goes. "Born In A Mourning Hall" opens with thundering drums as guitar, followed by vocals join in. The vocals are rough and the drums and riffs are relentless. Some incredible guitar after 3 minutes.This is a crushing song. "Bright Eyes" along with the title track are my two favourites.This one opens with a dark atmosphere which I love before vocals and guitar start to build. A great chorus on this one. Riffs and screaming guitar after 3 minutes. "Another Holy War" is another uptempo song with relentless drums. Hansi offers up a great vocal performance here. "And The Story Ends" is a mid-paced powerful song with lots of crunch. This is an excellent closing track. Check out the drum / guitar melody 2 minutes in and at 4 minutes. The vocals and guitar really stand out on this one. Vocal melodies are a highlight as well.

Another winner from these German Power Metal gods. These guys really do create great lyrics to go with their pedal to the Metal style of playing.

Report this review (#160994)
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars Is this the best Blind Guardian's album? In my opinion, along with "Nightfall on Middle Earth", is their best offering!

Clearly supasing the previous (but still very good) Somewhere Far Beyond, the band released their hardest album to date (it's still their most outrageous one...), with a lot of intrincated passages, and a lofty guitar work... The typical Blind Guardian's guitar sound started in some songs from Tales from the Twilight World, it was expanded in Somewhere Far Beyond, and here it was totally perfectionated.

Because in Imaginations from the Other Side we have a consolidated band. This great guitar sound and doubled guitar harmonies are the band's trademark, like the unique Hansi's voice... So in this album we have finally a Blind Guardian's album wich sounds just to Blind Guardian. Far are the times of the typical speed metal of the beginnings, and the obvious influences in Somewhere far Beyond... On Imaginations we have only this personal metal made by this germans. Speed riffing, long instrumental sections, medieval harmonies, lyrics about mithology and fantasy... Just Blind Guardian!

Being their hardest band's album, the keyboards are in a second place... They give the music a lot of textures and depth, but always in the shadows. The protagonists of the album are the incredible Olbrich and Siepen's guitars, and the broken Hansi's voice. So being this album very rich musically, I think it's a bit repetitive after a lot of listenings anyway... This is the only fact I think it's under the later Nightfall in Middle Earth, because this posterior effort is more variated. But in terms of quality, like I said, Imaginatios from the Other Side is still the best Blind Guardian's album.

Best Tracks: this album is short, so it has really no fillers... All the tracks are really impressive (although the hardest ones are not very different between them...) But my favourites are the tittle song (a very strong opening...), I'm Alive (I specially love the chorus...), Mordred's Song (maybe the best guitar harmonies of the album...) and And the Story Ends (an epic farewell...)

Conclusion: of all the amount of metal albums made by german bands through the 90's, Imaginations from the Other Side is undoubtly one of the best... It's powerful, it's progressive, and it's technically awesome. The four musicians were in top form, and they clearly surpased their previous efforts with this unique mixture between speed metal, power metal, medieval music and some classic heavy. So I recommend this album to every metal fan, both prog lovers or not. If you are into this kind of music, you'll surely enjoy this jewel called Imaginatios from the Other Side.

My rating: ****

Report this review (#180929)
Posted Wednesday, August 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars There have been claims that this is the best Blind Guardian album, now while i can claim that this is a very very very very good album, i dont think it held my attention like some of the other ones did (one in particular anyway.)

Like all Blind Guardian albums this does a fantastic job of blending fantasy tales of the Lord Of The Rings nature with speed/power metal and folk metal and of course THAT voice. We all know Hansi Kürsch has an earth-shatteringly amazing voice im telling ya it could crush the world, this album is no different every note that man sings done with perfection im thinking of one my opinion one of the finest Power Metal songs in the history of Power Metal, the title track IMAGINATIONS FROM THE OTHER SIDE, of course theres soo much other songs to choose from, IM ALIVE, ANOTHER HOLY WAR and BRIGHT EYES just being 3 songs where he delivers top notch vocals, but not only are the vocals brilliant but every instrument on this album just rules, i just dont think its as strong as my next review is;

Imaginations from the Other Side - 10/10 I'm alive - 9/10 A past and future secret - 8/10 The script for my requiem - 8/10 Mordred's song - 8/10 Born in a mourning hall - 8/10 Bright eyes - 10/10 Another Holy War - 10/10 And the Story Ends - 9/10

My Conclusion? A worthy addition to any metal fans collection, just a great album.

Report this review (#282417)
Posted Monday, May 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is one of my life long friends. I know all the songs by heart, and can hum along on every solo etc. etc.. I allways cheer up when songs from this album is selected by a shuffling media player. Although I do not have a populated list, I am sure this is one of my top ten metal albums.

I think that the Blind Guardian albums prior to this release steadily increased in quality, until it culminated in Imaginations From The Other Side. I also find that I find all subsequent albums somewhat poorer. But, it's difficult to climax twice :)

It is definitely not the most progressive album from Blind Guardian. It may be subject to discussion wether it strictly is progressive at all. But I think this is the best written album overall. Combositions are superbly balanced. The interactions between instruments and vocals are spot on, which is something I feel Blind Guardian from time to time fail to achieve in later albums due to focusing a bit well much on technicality and the "coolness" of the individual riffs.

Vocals: I think this is the album where Hansi performs best. I find that he in later albums is prone to some form of vocal masturbation, sometimes to the expense of the overall song composition. But on this album I love his work. He shifts from clean to scream, using at least four "stages" from clean to full pitched scream.

Choirs: It's Blind Guardinan, therefore it is choirs. Like Hansi said to an interviewer asking how it was possible to perform all the choir-stuff live: "You have not been to a Blind Guardian consert, have you?" Not the most choir-heavy album though.

Guitars: A lot of melodic leads/solos, but a lot of chords as well. Not as lead/solo focused as later albums, but enough to make it interesting. I'm a guitarist myself, and although I'm not blown away by the technical feats of the guitarists on this record, the musicality is fantastic.

Bass: Hansi is kind of occupied with singing. The bass does what it has to do, not much more. But I don't find it lacking in any respect.

Drums: Do I love the drums on this record? Yep. Again, the overall compositions are what I value most on this record, and I think the drums on this album outline the songs in a superb way. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I love this album to bits.

Report this review (#290888)
Posted Sunday, July 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my first Blind Guardian album, and I'm really I started with their best...well at least I think so...

This album is just a perfect metal album, with no filler, consistency throughout, and just kick ass songs.

This album does at times get a bit of contraversy, due to Hansi's vocals and the slight turn in a different musical direction...but I believe its for the better.

Hansi's vocals are quite growly and screamy at times, and I think it does it to a great musical effect, making the descants orgasmic and adds to an amazing atmosphere. The music is alot more "proggy" in a sense, and the songs are more epic and diverese (thank God they kept the speed throughout, not putting any blame on their new album...well maybe a little)

This will always be my favourite Blind Guardian album...until I find a better one...haha

1. Imaginations From The Other Side - One of the greatest metal songs ever made in my opinion. Just so epic and amazing, with lyrics realting to fantast stuff. Great musicianship throughout. 10/10

2. I'm Alive - Quite an eerie chorus, but kick ass nontheless. 10/10

3. A Past & Future Secret - They always have a song like this, and it isn't bad...but do they really need it. 8/10

4. The Script For My Requiem - Amazing chorus, with some epic moments. The lyrics I think are about the crusades. 10/10

5. Mordred's Song - One of the most underlooked Blind Guardain songs in my opinion. What a chorus and what an atmosphere throughout. 10/10

6. Born In A Mouring Hall - Pretty interesting arrangment. Quite odd at times, but it makes up for it. 9/10

7. Bright Eyes - Cool vocal arrangment and a nice chorus. 10/10

8. Another Holy War - Their most kick ass song, in my opinion. 10/10

9. And The Story Ends - What an outro to an album. Very epic indeed, with a quite beautifull chorus. 10/10

CONCLUSION: Their best. Listen to it, and learn...

Report this review (#358526)
Posted Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Imaginations from the Other Side ? 1995 (2.5/5) 9 ? Best Song: Bright Eyes Lo and behold, the band embraces power-prog with a vengeance. I'll assume all you Blind Guardian fans out there will love anything they release and totally ignore how you'd might as well just listen to the same Cd again and again and you'd be granted the same overall effect ? mild invigoration. It's what they're selling you teenage pansies. Before I get too far entrenched in berating a bunch of folks, I'll tell you what makes this different from the last album (it's actually really hard to see the differences, gotta have magic ears). Imaginations from the Other Side keeps with the American power-prog movement much too closely to be of any note by itself. The songs are slower, but are slothfully long. Even if they're barely over 4 minutes, I don't see need for any track to be longer than two. More acoustic breaks flourish here or there, but they don't do anything but frustrate you into wishing they'd either done an entre folk rock album or cut the silly grandpa guitars from the mix altogether. Hansi is slowly getting better at singing, which is great on my nerves because I'd gotten to the limit of taking his grating tonelessness. He's still no Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson (his spiritual grandfathers). I honestly enjoy the band when they're mixing electric metal with acoustic folk, I really like that material. So 'Mordred's Song' was good fun, and their big hit 'Bright Eyes' is the first song by them that has lasting power. I also think 'Anoter Holy War' works well within the context. Gee, if they'd been smart enough to weed out everything else, this would've been a great little three song EP.
Report this review (#441409)
Posted Sunday, May 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Blind Guardian's Imaginations From the Other Side is a forceful power metal album of the sort we've all come to expect from Blind Guardian... and that, in a way, is part of the reason why I feel it's a rather middling release from them. The performances are decent enough, but they and the songwriting are all more or less exactly along the lines we expect from power metal these days. The end product is clearly a highly polished one - but it's polished to the point of sounding sterile and artificial to my ears, an exercise in setting out a blueprint for Dragonforce and a horde of other super-fast power metal bands in the coming years as opposed to a creation of something genuine and sincere.
Report this review (#620879)
Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Imaginations from the Other Side' - Blind Guardian (81/100)

It's a strange thing; Imaginations from the Other Side is considered by some to be the greatest album of Blind Guardian's career. In at least a couple of places I've checked, it stands as their highest-rated accomplishment; yet, it seems to get overlooked whenever there's an earnest, casual discussion of the band. Depending on their own relative backgrounds, people are quick to excitement over the intelligent bombast of Nightfall in Middle-Earth, or the punch of their speed metal origins, and some most over the blend of eras they forged with Tales from the Twilight World and Somewhere Far Beyond. By contrast, Imaginations from the Other Side falls in that liminal region between the bold transition of their third and fourth albums, and the ambitious heights they would hit on the sixth and seventh. Though it would be unfair to label Imaginations as a reimagining of Somewhere Far Beyond, the fact remains that the major revelations that came on either side of it have given the album a sense of 'middle child syndrome'. It's a shame, really-- though it's a few spots away from being my favourite Blind Guardian album, it's easily the most consistent album of their career.

I'd hate to give the impression that I mean to undermine Imaginations from the Other Side's own unique developments to this incredible band's sound. Though much of the heavy-duty evolution was over by their fifth album, Blind Guardian saw fit to highlight their progressive leanings on this one. Somewhere Far Beyond was forward-thinking for its genre, but had very little to it that would place it amidst the progressive metal pantheon. I do think Imaginations from the Other Side is the band's most strictly 'prog metal' output; although they would get wackier on the next two albums (A Night at the Opera in particular), Blind Guardian's increasingly orchestral arrangements actually saw fit to distance them from being associated with the likes of traditional progressive metal. Hansi Kürsch has expressed the influences drawn from bands like Fates Warning and Savatage, and I'd argue that Imaginations from the Other Side is the album where those influences are most apparent.

If anything most characterizes Imaginations relative to their other albums, it's the tone and inspiration behind it. If there's anything Blind Guardian fans and detractors alike can agree upon, it's the band's fervent dedication to their fantastical source material. Every alchemical combination of elves, dwarves, and dime-a-dozen chosen ones has been explored ad nauseam in power metal, and it was decidedly uncharacteristic for a band like Blind Guardian to have set aside the escapism to write about the pain and ruin we might like to be escaping from in the first place. These songs are still veiled in fantastical and historical imagery, but only thinly so; unlike Somewhere Far Beyond or Nightfall in Middle-Earth or any bleeding album by Rhapsody, the fantasy is not an end in itself. Fear of death, self-conscious anxiety and the uphill struggle of real life are all powerfully expressed in the lyrics, amplified further still by a particularly aggressive vocal performance from Hansi. Suffice to say, lyrics like "Bright Eyes" ("...blinded by fear of life...") leave little room for interpretation as a call to noble quests and eternal glory. Even so, anyone who would otherwise miss the fantasy element in the music are covered; Blind Guardian's focus on the Crusades and the Legend of King Arthur are not a world away from their usual lyrical fare, but it's enough of a shift to make it freshly distinct from their other exploits.

Imaginations from the Other Side may not come across as a career-defining epic, but most of the songs collected herein are excellent. Although the brooding, mid-paced title track is arguably the most iconic song here, the greatest standouts are "Mordred's Song" and "Bright Eyes". I'm not sure either of these songs could have fit on any of the albums before or after; this was the point in Blind Guardian's discography when they were progressive without yet becoming overwhelmed with orchestration, and the two highlights reflect that powerfully. Although "Bright Eyes" is an original tune, I've always had the weird impression that it was a cover of a pop song; it feels too vulnerable and bitter to have been written strictly as a power metal song, but it does go to show Blind Guardian have a lot more versatility and range than their haters give them credit for.

The album delivers a satisfying blend of high-octane tracks with more lavish pieces. Only the underwhelming speed-fuelled "Another Holy War" falls below the high standard I have for classic-era Blind Guardian, and even then, I only notice it because of how consistently impressive the rest of the album tends to be. If we look at the band's discography sequentially, Imaginations from the Other Side might appear less thrilling than it really is; the argument could be made that the album entailed an essential consolidation of their progressive threads, but it's nigh-undeniable that they have taken far bolder leaps in their career. Regardless, with a grasp of style, songwriting and execution as brilliant as they had by the point of Imaginations, I would happily digest another dozen albums of this sort with little or no evolution to distinguish them. Of course, by Nightfall in Middle-Earth, they had dismissed any notion of stagnation, taking some of the most promising ideas here to even greater heights.

Report this review (#1415638)
Posted Friday, May 15, 2015 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars This finely produced and performed album by Blind Guardian sees the prog-metal group blazing ahead at full speed, shredding out a savage assault of power metal showcasing shrieking vocals, blistering drumming, and lightning fast riffing. The effect is intense and dramatic. It definitely makes a forceful impression, but it isn't necessarily a great one.

When it comes down to it, Imaginations From the Other Side is artistic speed metal (with the occasional bit of Renaissance fair style), that fits very well alongside Blind Guardian's other offerings. It's fast, intense, absurd, and raw. There's nothing to criticize in this album's songwriting, which is dramatic and densely composed, or the band's playing, which is razor sharp - it's simply a sound that is hard to really enjoy.

I'm a casual fan of the band, and gave their highest rated album (Nightfall in Middle Earth) a pass because the lyrics were shrieking about Morgoth and Noldor elves... without that nostalgia connection I find Blind Guardian's sound bland, despite its intensity. It isn't bad, it's just not approachable for those of us preferring nuance, dynamics, emotion, or style in our prog metal.

If you need some monster speed metal mixed with your madrigal, then check out Imaginations from the Otherside. In fact, check it out even if you don't, because you may find yourself liking the screams and fireworks, but in my opinion it doesn't reach the heights produced by others in the genre. Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Report this review (#1474230)
Posted Friday, October 9, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Technically it's not worse than the previous album. It's also probably their easiest one to get into. The harmonized guitar pattern is vastly exploited, however no further exploration is added. Lyrically the title track is their best ever, the music is complicated the same way as it was before, but because it's still pretty fresh guys don't disappoint. Hard to find a single weak song on the record. Born In A Mourning Hall may appear the weakest, I really wonder why they decided to choose it as a promo track (the video was made). Script, Another Holy War, Bright Eyes...all very good cuts. Very good album, definitely not their best one, still top notch. For the fans a must have.
Report this review (#2217215)
Posted Saturday, June 1, 2019 | Review Permalink

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