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BLIND EGO

Neo-Prog • Germany


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Blind Ego picture
Blind Ego biography
Founded in Freising, Germany in 2005

Blind Ego is the "solo" side project of RPWL guitarist Karlheinz "Kalle" WALLNER. Wallner states that the Ego part of the name is derived from his desire to make music from a very personal space. He says that Blind comes from his total commitment to this solo work.

The band assembled for this project is a prog super group. He takes on RPWL bandmate Yogi Lang as a musician and producer, but he is credited as a guest, instead of a full member of the band. Tommy Eberhardt (from Legazy and Beatfreaks) plays drums, John Jowitt (from IQ and Arena) plays bass, and the vocals are split between John Mitchell (It Bites, Arena, The Urbane, and Kino) and Paul Wrightson (from Arena). Kalle states that John was best for the more "rock like" songs, while Paul was better for the more emotional numbers. There is another guest of note on this album too. While recording Wrigtson's vocals, Clive Nolan also added his own backing vocals. I think there is a new law that states, Clive Nolan must be included in all Neo collaborations of the new millennium. For the live lineup, Rwin Reider replaces Eberhardt on drums, Wrightson takes the vocals alone, and Yogi Lang becomes full member on keyboards.

Although there is a more straightforward approach than RPWL, the metal tendencies are still there. I believe the Neo truly comes from the influence of the rest of the band. Some say that it even smacks of AOR. So, basically what we have is a metal guy trying to make some more widely accessible music. The credentials of the musicians on this project are impressive. Does it work? That's for the listener to decide.

H.T. Riekels (bhikkhu)

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BLIND EGO discography


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BLIND EGO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.27 | 46 ratings
Mirror
2007
3.38 | 65 ratings
Numb
2009
3.78 | 54 ratings
Liquid
2016
3.68 | 39 ratings
Preaching To The Choir
2020

BLIND EGO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.33 | 6 ratings
Liquid Live
2017

BLIND EGO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BLIND EGO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BLIND EGO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

BLIND EGO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Preaching To The Choir by BLIND EGO album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.68 | 39 ratings

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Preaching To The Choir
Blind Ego Neo-Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars BLIND EGO is RPWL's guitarist band. This album is their 4th. I had been alerted and seduced by "Mirror" and especially "Numb" of 2009, flirting with a good ARENA, a little PORCUPINE TREE and IQ, in short, good especially as the singers came from those of ARENA and gave a different air of what one would expect on his original band. We can feel here the hard FM, the AOR even with the well-chiseled choruses, but not only. The presence of Sebastian de SYLVAN'S on the bass gives more intensity, heaviness and goes into rock metal with progressive drifts, but let's take a closer look.

"Massive" begins with a very fat, full sound, 30 '' TO MARS lineage but with more synths, sustained neo-prog, then an effective riff tells us straight away about the background of the album; it's heavy, heavier than RPWL, the submachine gun drums are our ears, it's concise, slightly groovy prog metal, and the prog sounding comes with the keyboard layers; otherwise it's very punchy melodic metal, Kalle's touch having something to do with it. 'Preaching To The Choir', the 2nd longest track, always on a catchy tune, with several drawers with latency and metal prog like 30 '' TO MARS knew how to do it so well, the small chorus at the end showing nevertheless well the desire to get out of melodic prog metal. It's square, it's professional.

'Burning Alive' tumbles with an almost pop title, which would make you want to listen to the radio again' if the stations were playing music again! It's almost dancing, a clean, well-crafted sound, a little memory of the REO SPEEDWAGON from afar, a bit of the energetic TOTO with another voice though, plunged into the 80's for sure. "Line In The Sand" returns with a musical bombshell shared by nasty neo-prog, pop-rock verses and a wild chorus, violent even but also tamed by the soft voice that ensues, a little djent, a little in the line of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, it deposits! "Dark Paradise" with the mega hit on the border of the romantic ballad, hit that we could listen to in replay, a bit of EUROPE, a bit of JOURNEY, a bit of FOREIGNER for another potential hit, acoustic guitar, synth then millimeter solo of the guitar before the end in acoustics.

"In Exile" continues in the same vein, I can hear bits of Billy Idol's voice and a rhythm that makes you move your legs, good melodic prog rock in itself. 'Heading For The Stars' and again that warm, languid voice that goes wonderfully with the basic rhythm; a fracture occurs during the more melodic, more welcoming, more progressive chorus 'in the sense of proposing a different atmosphere' arising from the basic rhythm; here perhaps the two most beautiful guitar solos in a row and 5'30 "where there is nothing to throw away. "Broken Lands" leaves him on a heavy tune, an imposing bass and a melodic atmosphere, more predictable, the riff maintaining the energetic frame. "The Pulse" finally for the title which will make us regret the too short previous titles: voice ' la Bruce Dickinson, latent rhythmic base, the foot of any fan of prog from France, Navarre and Quebec: energetic crescendo and immense title , hypnotic; prog, that which we know no longer exists for a mixture of genres, passing through all states; a title which irremediably attracts the replay touch, an essential title, nervous, riffs, breaks, BLIND EGO in full force.

BLIND EGO released an album of raw and pure energy earlier this year. BLIND EGO allows you to travel on progressive landscapes by allying heavy prog and melodic prog, by pushing the prog metal of papa to the nettles and by giving it back a punchy outline, when many bring calmer sounds, which changes a little in the current universe. The only regret and sizeable, why not have composed more titles like the last one, why not have ventured more into these progressive climates? This album could have been even better in that sense.

 Mirror by BLIND EGO album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.27 | 46 ratings

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Mirror
Blind Ego Neo-Prog

Review by AFlowerKingCrimson

3 stars I typically don't listen to music on the radio much these days because there isn't a whole lot that I either haven't heard before or that I find all that interesting (or good). Most of the rock you hear on the radio is either classic rock or modern mainstream rock. Most of the latter these days is formulaic and boring to my ears. However, occasionally it is done right. The debut album by Blind Ego is an example of modern rock being done right. To be honest I don't hear a whole lot of prog or prog influenced music on here (although at times there are mild Pink Floyd or David Gilmour elements) but instead melodic hard rock of the more modern mainstream variety. I would be hard pressed to call this nu metal though or even alternative or post grunge rock and it doesn't really sound like any one band in particular.

There are ten tracks on this disc and one that appears to be a bonus track called "artist manque." The best and possibly most progressive is the tenth track "forbidden to remain" which clocks in at 10:02. Recommended to those who don't mind a more mainstream hard rock approach. Those who are RPWL completionists might also want to check it out since this is after all the side project of RPWL guitarist Kalle Wallner. A solid three star release.

 Preaching To The Choir by BLIND EGO album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.68 | 39 ratings

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Preaching To The Choir
Blind Ego Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars For a band who are on their fourth album, releasing their debut 'Mirror' as long ago as 2007, it seems a little mean to point out that this is actually a side project of RPWL guitarist Kalle Wallner, but given he will always be associated with them, it has to be done. However, unlike RPWL, and indeed unlike the band which preceded that one, Violet District (whose only album 'Terminal Breath' came out in 1992 ? I remember reviewing it at the time, god I'm old) this is not a band heavily influenced by Pink Floyd. To be honest, based on this album alone I wouldn't even call them a progressive rock band ? I haven't heard the last two so don't know how they compare ? but here we have a melodic hard rock outfit with, at best, some neo prog influences.

So, although some RPWL fans may search this out due to the connections with that band, they may well turn away in some dismay as here we have an album where the guitarist allows himself full rein to hit power chords and simply rock in a way which he restrains himself from doing in RPWL. When asked about the album title, Wallner says "It's about blind understanding. When you get the right people on board, there is no need for lengthy explanations. You just hit the recording button. And when you then give the right musicians the right music ? that's when they help you take it to the next level. No need to convince anybody, no discussions. And no compromises are necessary. You just pump it out." This is certainly an album which has been pumped out, with a superb melodic hard rock performance with great songs and licks, and a special mention must be made of singer Scott Balaban who strides across proceedings like a colossus. This may be his first studio album with the band, but he has been involved for a while, and indeed was the singer on the 2017 live album 'Liquid Live' and he is the perfect foil to Wallner. He also provided most of the lyrics, and the result is something which is powerful and instinctive.

This is a really enjoyable album from beginning to end, just put out of your mind that here is the guy from RPWL, as finally this feels very much like a band as opposed to a side project and it is going to be fascinating to see where they take it from here as they move solidly into melodic hard rock.

 Preaching To The Choir by BLIND EGO album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.68 | 39 ratings

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Preaching To The Choir
Blind Ego Neo-Prog

Review by nick_h_nz

3 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

Blind Ego is the solo project of RPWL member Kalle Wallner. That might seem obvious to many reading this, but I found this out quite some time after first listening to the band. As much as I can appreciate why so many people like RPWL, they don't do it for me. Blind Ego, on the other hand, I have always enjoyed what I've heard. I do wonder how many people may not have given Blind Ego a chance, if they know the RPWL connection, because I have a feeling if I had known that, I may never have listened to them myself ? and I would have been missing out.

So, first things first. Blind Ego do not sound like RPWL. It is a more streamlined, straightforward, harder-rocking sound. There are keys, but they have no dominance. I wouldn't be at all surprised if fans of RPWL do not find Blind Ego to their taste (or, in my case, vice versa). Furthermore, Blind Ego is a solo project, with interviews promoting previous albums emphasising Kalle Wallner's desire to work alone, instead of writing songs with a band. Differing line-ups have seen quite different sounding albums ? or even quite different sounding songs within an album.

I first came across Blind Ego by way of Dante, who are on Kalle Wallner's record label. The previous studio album was promoted on their Facebook page, and I duly gave it a listen, not knowing anything about the band. I liked it, but it didn't blow me away, and I put the band aside to listen to again sometime. Sometime didn't occur until Dante again mentioned Blind Ego, because Julian Kellner of Dante had joined Blind Ego on second guitar. I enjoyed the Liquid Live release far more than Liquid itself. Seven of the ten tracks on Liquid Live come from Liquid, but all seem to have an extra dimension and cohesion live, especially when sung by one vocalist. Liquid Live is a very solid set, played by some quality musicians, quite obviously enjoying themselves doing so.

Now, if you are wondering why I am giving all this detail, there is a reason. The new Blind Ego album, Preaching to the Choir, is not only my favourite yet from the band, but it is the first to have been released by a long-standing line-up. Since the release of Liquid, Blind Ego have had a touring line-up of Wallner, Julian Kellner, Sebastian Harnack, Michael Christoph and Scott Balaban. The consistency of the live line-up has solidified an identify for the band, that I had always thought missing, and they have taken that into the studio. Preaching to the Choir is a more consistent and cohesive listen than any prior Blind Ego album, and where Blind Ego has always been a solo project, it now sounds like a band.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that Balaban is a key to giving Blind Ego its own identity. Where on previous albums Blind Ego has appeared a collection of well-known artists ? especially in regard to the choice of vocalists ? Balaban is somewhat of an unknown quantity. As much as I might, for example, like Arno Menses, there is no getting away from the idea that I am listening to a song with Arno from Subsignal singing it. That is to say, another band than the one I am actually listening to is in my mind. I sincerely hope that Kalle Wallner keeps this line-up as long as he is able to, and especially Scott Balaban, as his vocals definitely fit the music incredibly well.

So, the music. The core of Blind Ego is still the guitar and keys of Kalle Wallner, but along with the rest of the band, it is manifestly audible that they have now played together and gelled for some time. This band sounds more fluid and in unison than on any other Blind Ego studio release. The fluidity and unity is reflected in the flow of the album, too. Where previous studio albums could sound quite different from song to song, almost sounding more like a compilation than an album, Preaching to the Choir sounds like a whole.

The drum-driven Massive is a fairly simple but very effective opening number to the album, and also a great introduction to Scott Balaban's vocals. The chorus is one of several ear-worms I have found myself humming to myself at work. The title track follows, and is a little more bombastic. And if we're talking ear-worms, then this is the one. If there is one chorus I find myself humming or singing to myself more often than any other, it will be this one.

Strangely, the next track is the absolute nadir for me. I say strangely as Burning Alive has been chosen as the lead single. Obviously Kalle Wallner and/or the band feels that this is the strongest song to promote the album with, and yet I find it completely uninspiring. In fact, I find it the least representative of the sound of the album. For an album full of exciting sounds, this track just sounds bland to me. It is not for lack of trying, either. I have listened to the album (and therefore this song) over a dozen times. In an attempt to see whether I just haven't enjoyed this song so much, because I like the songs either side of it so much, I have listened to the album on shuffle so that Burning Alive is not necessarily sandwiched between two tracks I'd rather hear. Sorry, Kalle and company, this is the one track on the album that I just can't get into.

The following track, however, is my favourite on the album. Line in the Sand starts with an electronic burst that makes one wonder just what is going to follow. For me, this is one of the strongest songs on the album, and the one which should have been the lead single. Blind Ego is a band which excels as much with the harder and heavier pieces as the calmer and quieter. Line in the Sand shows off both aspects admirably, although it is clearly heavier in general.

But just in case it were not obvious, Dark Paradise comes after and is a quite beautiful ballad. For me, this is one of the greatest strengths of the band. I don't exactly hate ballads ? but it is far more usual for me to dislike them than enjoy them. Ballads can so easily be cheesy and corny, and that is fine for a lot of people. Blind Ego with Dark Paradise show that they are a band that can play a ballad without resorting to cheese and corn. Perhaps this is due to the 'Dark' more than the 'Paradise', but whatever it is, it works.

The album finishes with an incredibly powerful one-two punch of Broken Land and The Pulse, which are my next favourite tracks after Line in the Sand. The Pulse, especially, I feel needs to be mentioned. I suspect this will be the favourite tracks of many people who listen to the album, and I wouldn't be surprised if over time it takes over from Line in the Sand in my affections. Just as the album began in a drum-driven way with Massive, the drums play a big part in The Pulse. Actually there is a slight Tool vibe to The Pulse (through a Pink Floyd filter), with drums and bass providing a solid backbone and grooving together throughout. It is also the most overtly prog song on the album. Although all the members of Blind Ego come from a prog background, the band usually keeps prog exactly there ? in the background. It is there if you listen for it, but it is only in The Pulse that you really know you are listening to a prog band.

Personally, though, I have never cared about labelling music. I think it is usually a pointless exercise. This album rocks, and ultimately that is all that matters. If this is what Blind Ego sound like, from here on in, I cannot wait to hear the next release!

 Liquid by BLIND EGO album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.78 | 54 ratings

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Liquid
Blind Ego Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars German project BLIND EGO is the creative vehicle of RPWL guitarist Kalle Wellner, a venture that saw the light of day back in 2007. Three studio albums and one live album have been released under this moniker so far. "Liquid" is the most recent of the studio albums, and was released through German label Gentle Art of Music back in 2016.

Those with an interest in the harder aspects of progressive rock, and then an accessible and compelling variety of it at that, should find Blind Ego's third album to be an interesting one to explore. Much the same goes for those fascinated by bands bordering the dividing line between hard rock and metal, be it progressive or not, as this is an album that, at least in my view, should have an arguably stronger appeal outside of a progressive rock environment than inside of it.

 Numb by BLIND EGO album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.38 | 65 ratings

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Numb
Blind Ego Neo-Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars Maybe this was meant to be concept album. And definitely prog metal, not neo prog. But I know that genres are changing. Bad thing about Numb record is that it sounds like very common metal. Not Dream Theater like, but more average one. "Death" for example is one of these better songs. Long, solid composition, full of guitar solos. After all, vocals are also good. But for power metal it's too slow, for slow metal it has too many faster parts and as for normal metal, it's definition is that it lacks progressiveness. Nothing to catch my attention, to show something new.

Therefore, 3(-)

 Numb by BLIND EGO album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.38 | 65 ratings

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Numb
Blind Ego Neo-Prog

Review by natewait

2 stars I'm going to keep this review short because I'm not quite sure what to say about this album. Although labeled as prog, this album feels a lot more mainstream to me, almost veering into modern rock/AOR. Blind Ego is a side project of Karlheinz "Kalle" Wallner, who is the guitarist of a prog band called RPWL. He has assembled a sort of prog super group composing of such people as John Jowitt and John Mitchell, who initially sparked my interest in the album. However, after listening to this album several times, I find it hard to come to some conclusion about how I feel about the album.

To my ears, this feels like some kind of cross between Demians, Porcupine Tree, and perhaps IQ. The album has a very distinct feel that I actually enjoy. It has many great moments both heavy and light. I love the guitars on this album, there are definitely some great headbanging moments throughout this album. I do miss, however, any sign of keyboards throughout this album. I'm not sure if they are sparse or nonexistant, but the lack of them really lessens the impact that this album may have had on me. But, that being said, this album is an enjoyable listen- I have no urges to turn off the CD player as I listen to it. However, on the other side, it isn't a CD I would play often, I think it is largely forgettable. Enjoyable, yet not memorable is how I would describe it.

I hope this doesn't come off as sounding too harsh, because that is not my intention. I think the band members all play incredibly well on this album and there are many moments that are truly breathtaking. It is just that, after listening to it at least 5 times, nothing really sticks out to me. Most of my favorite albums have moments that I can immediately think of when I think about the album that stick out to me and make me excited to get to those moments. On Numb, I can't recall any particularly interesting moments until I actually go back and listen and think, "Oh yeah, I forgot about that part, it's pretty good!" I think the reason for this may be more because I just can't get into a certain vein of prog rock, usually classified as "Neo-prog". I like my prog symphonic and bombastic. There are a few artists within the "Neo-prog" category that do connect with me, but the large part doesn't move me. I stick this album in with ones by Demians, Marillion, Arena and Pendragon. I just don't "get" these artists. But, Numb is an enjoyable listen, and I don't regret buying it, I just don't see myself returning to it often. If you like the bands mentioned, go ahead and get it, you might just disagree with me.

 Mirror by BLIND EGO album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.27 | 46 ratings

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Mirror
Blind Ego Neo-Prog

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I like Neo-Prog…but there are limits. BLIND EGO sounds extremely faceless – like any other Neo-Prog/Prog-related ban, that tries to show teeth and throws some Metal in their music (I won’t be the first to tell you that they even have stolen OPETH’s “Windowpane” opening melody). I heard KINO, ENCHANT, ILUVATAR, GREY LADY DOWN, GHOST CIRCUS etc, and they all sound as if they were listening to RUSH and MARILLION only. BLIND EGO has also this ugly Alternative side, which I dislike in “classic” genres like Neo or Symphonic Prog. Recommended only for those who loves abovementioned bands, but don’t blame me if you happen to dislike this one ;)
 Mirror by BLIND EGO album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.27 | 46 ratings

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Mirror
Blind Ego Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars German guitar player Kalle Wallner has made an interesting release here.

Obvioulsy the influences from RPWL, where Wallner has been a member for a decade or so, are noticeable. But with his side project Blind Ego, the music has more of an AOR/hard rock feel to it overall.

I presume Wallner is reaching out to an audience beyond the hardcore circle of prog fans with this release, and I do hope he will succeed in that. The album as such isn't exceptionally great though, but quite a few nice tunes and a couple of gems makes this one worthwhile checking out for the curious.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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