Some of the other media resources for Metal had previously discussed this, but I held back from sharing it since it was too far away as a release and now at least you can order yourself a copy (if you have not already done so) right from this posting and if you have not, there is truly no time like the present. I copied the entire press description from the Official Blind Guardian website so please read on.
Looking back over Blind Guardian’s career from the here and now in 2013, you see a success story gone global, the likes of which very few other German metal bands have ever experienced. This band from Krefeld has been just about everywhere, conquering the North American market in the same way as they stormed the charts in Asia or packed concert venues in South America and even South Africa. From their (at that point purely) German beginnings with debut album Battalions of Fear (1988), followed by their first international recognition with the second album Follow the Blind (1989) and the euphoria which went round the world when Tales from the Twilight World (1990) and Somewhere Far Beyond (1992) came out, right through to their masterpiece of composition in A Night at the Opera (2002), the name of the band developed to become an unmistakable world brand. There are lots of reasons for this, but no doubt much of it is down to the extraordinary skill of everyone involved, their virtuoso dexterity and that gift for bringing mystical themes in tune with unusually complex metal directives. Something else which really makes Blind Guardian stand out is the way they have always kept so close to their fans. Even more proof of their unconditional commitment to the huge fan-base is being released now; A Traveler’s Guide to Space and Time, a strictly limited edition deluxe box set with a total of 15 CDs in 13 high quality digipacks, which the musicians and the record company have been working on together for almost a year. A particularly long time to create a compilation you may think, but a glance at just how much this box set encompasses explains why their conscientious and time-consuming preparation took so long.
A Traveler’s Guide to Space and Time not only includes all the albums released during the so-called Virgin years (the record company brought out all the bands’ records between 1988 and 2004) but also all their previously unreleased demo recordings, rare bonus tracks and alternative versions of famous pieces from this era, and all of them have been remastered and some even remixed. To be precise; it includes the seven studio albums Battalions of Fear, Follow the Blind, Tales from the Twilight World, Somewhere Far Beyond, Imaginations from the Other Side, Nightfall in Middle-Earth and A Night at the Opera, and on top of all that you get the live albums Tokyo Tales and Live as well as The Forgotten Tales compilation, all of them now with 2012 mastering and some of them with new mixes. Above and beyond that, Blind Guardian have dug deep into their archives and come up with some real treats: in Imaginations Through the Looking Glass for the very first time the phenomenal concert they put on in Coburg, Germany in June 2003 appears in audio format on two CDs. And another first, in a special edition of Nightfall in Middle-Earth, the musicians also present the legendary 1998 studio album without any breaks (including a new mix of “Blood Tears”). This precious box is rounded off with An Extraordinary Tale, which includes so far unreleased demo versions of the pieces “Welcome to Dying”, “Lord of the Rings”, “The Bard’s Song (In the Forest)”, “The Bard’s Song (The Hobbit)”, “Theatre of Pain”, “Trial by Fire” and “I’m Alive” and the never before released, around 90 seconds longer version of the song “The Quest for Tanelorn” as well as the comparatively rare number “Harvest of Sorrow”.
So, there is so much to find, enjoy and rediscover in this outright opulent deluxe box which is accompanied by a 20 page glossy booklet (size: 27cm x 27cm) containing comments from the members of the band and more than 100 rare and mainly unpublished photos belonging to the musicians. A limited edition and numbered Blind Guardian art print on special paper (sized 27cm by 27cm) and a guitar plectrum engraved with the band’s logo have also been added to the box. Blind Guardian are rightly proud of this glorious package. “With A Traveler’s Guide to Space and Time we document how much has Blind Guardian developed between 1988 and 2004 in, as I see it, a particularly impressive and vivid way”, explains singer/bassist Hansi Kürsch who, together with original members André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen, still controls the destiny of this amazing group. Kürsch adds: “The brand new mastering also makes sure that all 15 CDs are on the same level as far as the dynamics are concerned so theoretically you can listen to the whole box at one go, without having to adjust the volume level at all.”
Of course this jam-packed compilation also includes all the compositional climaxes and milestones along Blind Guardian’s career path; “Majesty” from their debut album Battalions of Fear was the first time the band presented their unusual song writing combined with the boundless energy which still makes Blind Guardian stand out so much today. “Traveler in Time” from Tales from the Twilight World then puts the band’s epic approach into focus. “The Bard’s Song” has developed into a real classic, creating that perfect symbiosis between band and audience at concert after concert and reinforcing the folklore element within the typical Blind Guardian sound.
Of course, in this box, Blind Guardian also present the sublime title track from the album Imaginations from the Other Side with its capable mixture of anthemic power metal and progressive directives, as well as the downright cinematic number “Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)” from the album Nightfall in Middle-Earth. The experts reckon the fantastic “And Then There Was Silence” from A Night at the Opera was the icing on the cake of those Virgin years and you can hear it in all its glory on A Traveler’s Guide to Space and Time.
With A Traveler’s Guide to Space and Time Blind Guardian stay true to their reputation of not doing anything only halfway. As always with this band you get the full-on thing, on both the composition and technical production sides. This box is also full of rare photos from the musicians’ private collections as well as previously unreleased demo recordings, once again documenting how far this group will go to give their fans the best possible product. And as Hansi Kürsch put it: “We poured our heart and soul into A Traveler’s Guide to Space and Time making it a well worthwhile box for our fans which fully meets the demands we make of ourselves as well as those of our fans. And that is exactly what we were aiming for.”
Tracklisting for A Traveler’s Guide to Space and Time (15 CD Set)
Disc 1- Battalions of Fear (Digitally Remastered 2012): 1. Majesty – 2. Guardian of the Blind – 3. Trial by the Archon – 4. Wizard’s Crown – 5. Run for the Night – 6. The Martyr – 7. Battalions of Fear – 8. By the Gates of Moria – 9. Gandalf’s Rebirth (New 2013 Mix)
Disc 2 – Follow the Blind (Digitally Remastered 2012): 1. Inquisition – 2. Banish from Sanctuary – 3. Damned for All Time – 4. Follow the Blind – 5. Hall of the King – 6. Fast to Madness – 7. Beyond the Ice – 8. Valhalla – 9. Don’t Break the Circle – 10. Barbara Ann
Disc 3 – Tales from the Twilight World (Digitally Remastered 2012 & New Mix 2012): 1. Traveler in Time – 2. Welcome to Dying – 3. Weird Dreams – 4. Lord of the Rings – 5. Goodbye My Friend – 6. Lost in the Twilight Hall – 7. Tommyknockers – 8. Altair 4 – 9. The Last Candle – 10. Run for the Night (Live)
Disc 4 – Somewhere Far Beyond (Digitally Remastered 2012 & New Mix 2012): 1. Time What Is Time – 2. Journey Through the Dark – 3. Black Chamber – 4. Theatre of Pain – 5. The Quest for Tanelorn – 6. Ashes to Ashes – 7. The Bard’s Song (In the Forest) – 8. The Bard’s Song (The Hobbit) – 9. The Piper’s Calling – 10. Somewhere Far Beyond – 11. Spread Your Wings – 12. Trial by Fire – 13. Theatre of Pain
Disc 5 – Tokyo Tales (Original 1993 Mix, Digitally Remastered 2012): 1. Inquisition – 2. Banish from Sanctuary – 3. Journey Through the Dark – 4. Traveler in Time – 5. The Quest for Tanelorn – 6. Goodbye My Friend – 7. Time What Is Time – 8. Majesty – 9. Valhalla – 10. Welcome to Dying – 11. Lost in the Twilight Hall – 12. Barbara Ann
Disc 6 – Imaginations from the Other Side (Digitally Remastered 2012 & New Mix 2012): 1. Imaginations from the Other Side – 2. I’m Alive – 3. A Past and Future Secret – 4. The Script for My Requiem – 5. Mordred’s Song – 6. Born in a Mourning Hall – 7. Bright Eyes – 8. Another Holy War – 9. And the Story Ends
Disc 7 – The Forgotten Tales (Original Mixes Digitally Remastered 2012): 1. Mr. Sandman – 2. Surfin’ USA – 3. Bright Eyes – 4. Lord of the Rings – 5. The Wizard – 6. Spread Your Wings – 7. Mordred’s Song – 8. Black Chamber – 9. The Bard’s Song (In the Forest) – 10. Barbara Ann – 11. A Past and Future Secret – 12. To France – 13. Theatre of Pain
Disc 8 – Nightfall in Middle-Earth (Digitally Remastered 2012 & New Mix 2012): 1. War of Wrath – 2. Into the Storm – 3. Lammoth – 4. Nightfall – 5. The Minstrel – 6. The Curse of Feanor – 7. Captured – 8. Blood Tears – 9. Mirror Mirror – 10. Face the Truth – 11. Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns) – 12. Battle of Sudden Flames – 13. Time Stands Still(At the Iron Hill) – 14. The Dark Elf – 15. Thorn – 16. The Eldar – 17. Nom the Wise – 18. When Sorrow Sang – 19. Out on the Water – 20. The Steadfast – 21. Dark Passage – 22. Final Chapter (Thus Ends)
Disc 9 – A Night at the Opera (Digitally Remastered 2012 & New Mix 2012): 1. Precious Jerusalem – 2. Battlefield – 3. Under the Ice – 4. Sadly Sings Destiny – 5. The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight – 6. Wait for an Answer – 7. The Soulforged – 8. Age of False Innocence – 9. Punishment Divine – 10. And Then There Was Silence
Disc 10 – Live (Digitally Remastered 2012): 1. War of Wrath – 2. Into the Storm – 3. Welcome to Dying – 4. Nightfall – 5. The Script for My Requiem – 6. Harvest of Sorrow – 7. The Soulforged – 8. Valhalla – 9. Majesty – 10. Mordred’s Song – 11. Born in a Mourning Hall
Disc 11 – 1. Under the Ice – 2. Bright Eyes – 3. Punishment Divine – 4. The Bard’s Song (In the Forest) – 5. Imaginations from the Other Side – 6. Lost in the Twilight Hall – 7. A Past and Future Secret – 8. Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill) – 9. Journey Through the Dark – 10. Lord of the Rings – 11. Mirror Mirror
Disc 12 – Imaginations Through the Looking Glass – Live in Coburg, 2003 (for first time on CD – digitally remastered 2012): 1. War of Wrath – 2. Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill) – 3. Banish from Sanctuary – 4. Nightfall – 5. The Script for My Requiem – 6. Valhalla – 7. A Past and Future Secret – 8. Punishment Divine – 9. Mordred’s Song – 10. The Last Candle
Disc 13: 1. Bright Eyes – 2. Lord of the Rings – 3. I’m Alive – 4. Another Holy War – 5. And Then There Was Silence – 6. Somewhere Far Beyond – 7. The Bard’s Song (In the Forest) – 8. Imaginations from the Other Side – 9. And the Story Ends – 10. Mirror Mirror
Disc 14 – Nightfall in Middle-Earth – Special Edition (Digitally Remastered 2012 & New Mix 2012): 1. Into the Storm – 2. Nightfall – 3. The Curse of Feanor – 4. Blood Tears (new vocal mix 2012) – 5. Mirror Mirror – 6. Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns) – 7. Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill) – 8. Thorn – 9. The Eldar – 10. When Sorrow Sang – 11. A Dark Passage
Disc 15 – An Extraordinary Tale (Live Rarities & Demos – Digitally Remastered 2012): 1. Welcome to Dying (Demo) – 2. Lord of the Rings (Demo) – 3. The Bard’s Song (In the Forest) (Demo) – 4. The Bard’s Song (The Hobbit) (Demo) – 5. Theatre of Pain (Demo) – 6. Trial by Fire (Demo) – 7. The Quest for Tanelorn (unreleased extended version) – 8. Harvest of Sorrow (rare version) – 9. I’m Alive (Demo)
Whew, so did you make it safely through that massive list? I sure hope you did because it was a whole lot to absorb and if you are even half the Power Metal maniac that I am, you are very likely slavering at the thought of owning such a release. Yeah you might have a lot of the albums already but these are remastered editions and feature as you can see a ton of bonus songs. Some of you might be saying “but Ken this is huge and I have no real room for it in my collection” and I hear you on that since space is ALWAYS an issue for me at the PiercingMetal Command HQ. I guess its time for you to examine that collection of yours a little more deeply and to rid yourself of some of the CD’s or DVD’s that you no longer pay any mind to and are taking up valuable music shelf real estate. If you want it bad enough you will find a place for it. Trust me on that.
Now the price on such an item is rather hefty and appears to be over $200 according to some listings that I have seen so this might be something that only the most ardent of super diehards to the Blind Guardian cause will purchase. Of course we have just left the 2012 holiday season, so maybe there is some extra money from relatives in your wallet that you are itching to do something with. Whatever the case may be, here is a link for you to be able to purchase it on Amazon.com; If you get one, feel free to let us know about it in the comments. We would love to hear.
Official Website: http://www.blind-guardian.com