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

NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH

Blind Guardian

 

Progressive Metal

4.06 | 285 ratings

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friso
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The power-metal genre has produced a few albums that could be of particular interest to progressive rock/metal listeners. 'Nightfall in Middle-Earth' is a good example. Blind Guardian, hailing from the Germany, has expanded on the groundwork laid by Helloween and continued to develop their style until this fantasy progressive folk- metal album was recorded in 1998 - based on the Silmarillion by Tolkien. Though the power-metal chops are obviously still there, the music is enriched with folklore melodies, gothic vocal chants, original twin-guitar chops (every song has multiple sections) and some strong song-writing formats. Notably, the use of the pre-chorus in the songs is extremely effective. The fantasy-world feel keeps the songs tied together and the intermissions, with both spoken word and acoustic folk interludes, add to that 'concept' feel. What makes this album a winner though, is the fact that it offers an uninterrupted flow of simply brilliant, catchy songs running up to 'The Elder'. Melodies, atmospheres, rhythm changes, the sheer energy of the vocal performances and those memorable refrains; the band surely is on fire here. I really couldn't pick a favorite.

This album was originally plagued by an awful mixing job. Flat, loud and simply to dense to listen to. In late 2018 the band released a vinyl re-release that was remixed and remastered. This vinyl record sounds a whole lot better! Even the recording of this vinyl to digital sounds way better than the original cd. Another problem I had with this album was the relative weakness of the last few tracks. This problem was also solved by the vinyl, since you can just skip the fourth side of the 2LP. This brings the album down to what it always should have been; that brilliant string of songs and interludes that last for 52 minutes - which is more than enough for me.

By restoring this album the band created - 20 years after its original recording - a really enjoyable masterpiece in a very tricky genre (fantasy inspired power-metal). In 1999 the first Demons & Wizards album was released, a collaboration of Blind Guardian and Iced Earth, which is also a warmly recommended record for listeners of this genre.

friso | 4/5 |

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