|Review: Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red Mirror|
|Beyond the Red Mirror|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2015
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 28, 2015
Reviewed by: Edward T. Head
for:Beyond the Red Mirror
Rated 3.77/5 (75.38%) (39 Votes)
Never a band to rush into an album, Blind Guardian is finally back with the follow-up to 2010's At the Edge of Time. And, almost unbelievable for a band so entrenched in fantasy tropes, Beyond the Red Mirror is only the group's second concept album (and a sequel to the song, "Imaginations from the Other Side", at that) in a career spanning over 30 years.
Not surprisingly, the album stylistically falls right in line with their prior effort, but perhaps with an extra touch of grandiosity not heard since A Night at the Opera. While some tracks, including lead single "Twilight of the Gods" along with "The Holy Grail" and "Sacred Mind" carry the torch of the olden days with increased doses of speed and heft, much of the album is closer in form to a hybrid of "And Then There Was Silence" and "Wheels of Time". For the uninitiated, that means a sound steeped in large, orchestral arrangements, where the "power" in Power Metal comes not from speed, but rather from the pomp of it all. Tying the whole package together, as usual, are the outstanding vocals of Hansi Kürsch, who has somehow not declined in the slightest over all these years.
On the downside, the somewhat slower pace of much of the album does take a bit to get used to, which could pose a problem for more impatient listeners. Also, when compared with the classic ballads of the band's past ("Lord of the Rings", "The Bard's Song (In the Forest)", "A Past and Future Secret"), "Miracle Machine" simply doesn't measure up.
Beyond the Red Mirror is a bit of a grower, unfolding its many nuances with repeated listens, but that's on par for a band that for the longest time has operated under the "go big, or go home" banner. And while it could be argued that Blind Guardian are closer to the Symphonic Metal genre at this point, the music remains quite powerful and moving. While certainly not the band's best album, Beyond the Red Mirror is another very solid offering from one of the most reliable bands in metal.
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