Blind Guardian’s most symphonic album

Oops. Did I just put the wrong CD in? I wanted to get a feeling for the new Blind Guardian album ‘Behind The Red Mirror’ yet I hear something that sounds more like the Carmina Burana. After 90 seconds the voice of Hansi Kürsch appears and guitar riffs start. I did grab the right CD. Blind Guardian in the year 2015 have gone even more epic, more symphonic and added more features to their signature power metal sound.

The nine-and-a-half minute opener ‘The Ninth Wave’ starts with a full size choir before the power metal we know complements choir and orchestra throughout the song. Blind Guardian have worked again with an orchestra just like they did on their last album. This time around they added two different full size choirs. This adds a lot more volume to the backing vocals that are such an integral part of the Blind Guardian sound.

The second song ‘Twilight Of The Gods’ is more traditional with a fast riff that reminds you of the speed metal era, Hansi Kürsch’s voice gets a bit more aggressive but the backings stay voluminous as they were in the first song. This is old-school Blind Guardian with a modern sound. The next two tracks ‘Prophecies’ and ‘The Edge Of Time’ explore the more progressive and symphonic parts further before the Germans get finally into second gear with ‘Ashes Of Eternity’ and ‘The Holy Grail’. I have nothing against the epic song structures but think that Blind Guardian still are at their best when they just let it rip as they do in these two songs. Especially ‘The Holy Grail’ has a heaviness to it that we haven’t heard from Blind Guardian in a long time. This might be partly due to the lower tuned guitars the band used for the first time. These give the song a darker note which is brilliantly combined with the melodic chorus and harmonic backing vocals.

‘The Throne’ follows on with the more symphonic parts making use of the orchestra and a balladesque part in the middle. ‘Sacred Mind’ is again a mixture of a slow intro, thrash metal riffing (the heaviest parts of the album are in that song) and a catchy chorus. ‘Miracle Machine’ is then a full blown ballad that reminds me more of Supertramp than of a metal band. Clearly this album would have worked without this track. Luckily the band picks up more quality again with the last song ‘The Grande Parade’.

‘Behind The Red Mirror’ is Blind Guardian’s most symphonic and epic album to date. For my taste they have overdone this a little in parts of the album. The choirs work very well with the Blind Guardian sound but sometimes they border to being cheesy. The strongest parts of the album are when Blind Guardian trust their old strength and when they are heavy. ‘Behind The red Mirror’ is a good album but it is not Blind Guardian’s best work.

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