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Blind Guardian - Nightfall In Middle-Earth

=Staff's pick

War of Wrath
Into the Storm*
The Minstrel
The Curse of Feanor*
Blood Tears
Mirror Mirror*
Face the Truth
Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns)
Battle of Sudden Flame
Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)*
The Dark Elf
The Eldar
Nom the Wise
When Sorrow Sang*
Out on the Water
The Steadfast
A Dark Passage
Final Chapter (Thus Ends…)

Genre Power Metal
Hansi Kürsch
Tracks 22
André Olbrich
Runningtime 65 Min.
Marcus Siepen
Label Virgin Records
Hansi Kürsch
Release 27 Apr. 1998
Thomas Stauch
Country Germany
Similar artists ---

Three years had passed since Imaginations from the Other Side was released. Three years.... A very long time and during which many other bands produced not only one, but also in some cases two or three. But this is Blind Guardian. It was three years between Somewhere far Beyond and Imaginations too and the up-coming A Night at the Opera is being released almost four years after Nightfall. This inevitable brings up a question. Was it worth the wait? A diehard Blind Guardian fan would probably scream YES on top of his lungs but I have to say no. It wasn't. From a band of Blind Guardian's caliber one could, and should, expect much more. So why do I have this opinion?

Nightfall in Middle Earth is dedicated to the memory of J. R. R Tolkien and is based on his book The Silmarillion. As a fantasy superfreak I really appreciate this gesture but not however the overall result. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the production or sound but Hansi Kürsch & Co have, I think, walked into their own trap which they showed tendencies of already on Imaginations. That is, the music has become a bit too complicated with too many changes in tact and tempo. And the 30 or so seconds long half intros and such between the songs get a bit too much after a while. The album doesn't get any real good flow due to this.

There are also for some reason much more half-ballads on this album than on any other but if they all had been like the track Nightfall I wouldn't complain at all but that is sadly not the case. The album also looses its original at least passable tempo towards the end. There's just one double- bass drum track among the last nine tracks and that's almost remarkable. But now you can relax loyal Blind Guardian fans.
My whimpering is over for now.

Nightfall in Middle Earth has some really nice tidbits and there is some truly awesome stand out tracks that easily would take a strong and proud position on my best of all times Guardian songs. And this is Blind Guardian. That means that these tracks kick some serious ass and make the album well worth buying despite my earlier criticism. And knowing the band's enormous capacity I'm certain A Night at the Opera will be more back to the old more straight forward and fast pounding Blind Guardian I love almost as much as life itself. But unfortunately Nightfall in Middle Earth will have to settle for a lesser number of chalices.

See also review of: Live Beyond The Spheres , Beyond The Red Mirror , Imaginations Through The Looking Glass






7 chalices of 10 - Mat

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