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


Blind Guardian


Progressive Metal

4.07 | 266 ratings

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The Crow
Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Nightfall in Middle Earth" is the perfect example of a band in the peak of its career... Sadly, after this album the things would never be the same for this german guys!

Taking the story from some chapter of JRR Tolkien's "The Silmarillion", Blind Guardian managed to make their most passionate, well composed and perfectly balanced album. But there is a clear influence in this album, and it's called SAVATAGE, the marvellous american band. It's obvious that Hansi Kursch and company listened carefully "Dead Winter Dead" and the other Savatage's albums before recording "Nightfall in Middle Earth", because the influence is clear. The way of telling the story throughout the album is similar, and so are the lyrics... The chorus of Thorn talks about "edge of thorns...", just like the famous Savatage's album, and Dead Winter Reigns sounds suspiciously similar to the other named Savatage record. Musically, the influence is also evident... The piano intro of The Eldar could perfectly be one of the Tampa's band ballads, and the use of vocal harmonies to make the choirs in A Dark Passage is also similar.

But this influence is not big enough to fade the personality of this band, because this album is still Blind Guardian... The hard riffing and complex instrumental interludes from "Imaginatios from the Other Side" are still here, but adorned with a lot more variety and changing ambients, and an appropiate symphonic feeling, coherent with the story. This album is not so fast like the previous one, and it has a lot of middle speed tracks, being some of them true gems, like Blood Tears and Thorn. It's has the variety of "Somewhere Far Beyond" and the power of "Imaginatios from the Other Side", but it's better in all aspects.

Another great fact in this album is the Hansi's voice... Although he gained a lot of skills since the last album, he is still using his classical, original and broken voice, wich will always remember me to Savetage's Jon Oliva. This is something he lost in later albums, and I miss it a lot. But here he shines in every track, making his best performance in the whole Blind Guardian's career, just like André Olbich with his distinctive guitar playing and the rest of the band.

Best Tracks: it's really difficul to say... All them are top quality songs. I specially enjoy Into the Storm, Nightfall, Mirror Mirror, Blood Tears and Thorn. But the 3/4 curious rythm in A Dark Passage is also great, The Eldar is beautiful, When Sorrow Sang rescues some of the old style of the band... I really like every track!

Conclusion: "Nightfall in Middle Earth" is, in my opinion, the best album that Blind Guardian ever made... And having listened their last two works, I think the band will never achieve the great quality of this release again. It was a sweet moment, theere was magic in the air, the planets were aligned... The concept and story are great if you like Tolkien's books, the songs are a torrent of great ideas, marvellous interpretation, heart touching progressive moments (in the vein of the best Savatage's albums...) and the sound is also very good. So if you don't want to miss one of the best power/progressive metal albums from the past decade, please give "Nightfall on Middle Earth" a listening.

My rating: ****1/2

The Crow | 4/5 |


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