Before I get started on this latest album anniversary or “music milestone” as we’ve been apt to refer to them, I must admit that way back in the days of 1988, I was NOT listening to the band Blind Guardian at all and the same applies for a lot of bands from this region of the world. We are still going to raise a goblet of our favorite drink in honor of the birthday of their debut album “Battalions Of Fear” which came out care of No Remorse Records on this very day thirty years ago. Fans of Blind Guardian who might have come on board over the last dozen years or so ago love them for the polished and exciting Power Metal that they are true masters of. Given my lack of overall background on the debut itself, I’ll be deferring readers to the official Wikipedia entry at the close
Having referenced the bands acumen as Power Metal leaders, it might surprise some of you to learn that this was not at all how the band started out. When you begin to give a listen to “Battalions Of Fear” you find instead a fast-paced, more Speed Metal meets Thrash Metal type of release. In 1988 I can honestly say that Blind Guardian had more in common with the likes of Metallica and Exodus or even Anvil in terms of how the drumming and frenzied riffs were being laid down. It was interesting to me for sure because in 1988 I was really focused on more of the US Metal, even though I did have a few bands from that side of the pond that I enjoyed quite a bit. “Majesty” rips you a new one while “Guardian Of The Blind” has some awesome layers to it and drumming that made me bang my head while I was composing this toast. Believe me that is not easy to do when you are trying to type. “Trial By The Archon” reminded me a lot of the vibe that early Iron Maiden had to them and perhaps this short instrumental number was designed to be an homage of the Brits. “Wizard’s Crown” continues the same vibe and there is a strong cohesion to the full release. The members of the band for the debut are of course singer Hansi Kursch who was also on bass at the time. Andre Olbrich was on lead guitar and Marcus Siepen on rhythm while Thomas “Thomen” Stauch played drums
Continue reading Blind Guardian’s Debut “Battalions Of Fear” Hits 30 Years (1988-2018)
Hey there readers, it looks like the tour dates and bands that are coming our way here in the states are really amping up before the summer even begins. I say that because we just received the press email about the return of Blind Guardian and Grave Digger which is absolutely awesome. We caught them late last year and it was a crushing display of Power Metal that needs to be seen to be believed. Take a look at the new poster and the press copy, tour dates and then I will return with more thoughts. See you soon.
The Press Release:
Holiday treats are arriving early this year as BLIND GUARDIAN has announced they are returning to North America this fall for the second leg of the Beyond The Red Mirror tour! Before they start the tour, they will make a stop at Prog Power Festival for a special performance on Thursday, September 9th. The following day they will kick-off their highly anticipated 19-date tour at The Orpheum in Tampa, Florida with none other than German metallers GRAVE DIGGER. Their trek will include one Canadian date as well as stops in Worcester, Milwaukee, and conclude on October 5th at The Fillmore in San Francisco!
BLIND GUARDIAN will be touring in support of their tenth album Beyond The Red Mirror which was the highest first-week U.S. sales numbers for the band. It debuted at #132 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, #3 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, and #6 on the Top Hard Music chart. In Canada, BLIND GUARDIAN nearly doubled their first-week numbers from 2010, resulting in Beyond The Red Mirror debuts at #49 on the Top 200 and #4 on the Top Hard Music charts.
Continue reading Blind Guardian/Grave Digger Announce 2nd Leg North American Run Summer 2016
Spring has finally started to feel like it’s expected self and with this a healthy heaping of Heavy Metal concert tours are being announced. We recently heard about the Soulfy/Soilwork one and now its clear to me that one of the hottest tours for this Metal Year 2015 will hit us in the Fall as Blind Guardian returns to our shores with support from the one and only Grave Digger for a tour they are calling “Beyond The Red Mirror” Tour. Check out the poster and official press release about the tour below and then we can discuss a little more.
Triumphantly returning to North American shores in support of their Billboard-charting new album Beyond The Red Mirror, Germany’s favorite sons BLIND GUARDIAN are pleased to announce the western hemisphere’s portion of the 2015 World Tour, commencing on October 27th in Baltimore, Maryland and concluding November 28th in Orlando, Florida with special guests Grave Digger. Tickets for all of the shows go on sale on Friday, May 8th
Continue reading Blind Guardian Announce “Beyond The Red Mirror” Tour 2015
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.
Continue reading Prepare Thine Metal Self For “A Traveler’s Guide to Space and Time” by Blind Guardian (2/4/2013)
Artist: Nuclear Blast All-Stars
Title: “Nuclear Blast 20th Anniversary: Into The Light”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 6/19/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Leave it to Nuclear Blast Records to start off their 20th Anniversary Celebration with a bang like no other and release a thundering CD of music featuring some of their best talent under the Nom de guerre of “Nuclear Blast All-Stars”. All of the music on the album was the result of Metal Mastermind Victor Smolski, that guitar virtuoso from the one and only Rage and with the exception of one track, all lyrics have been penned by Peter Wagner who sings and plays bass in that same band. If this fact didn’t pique your interest then perhaps knowing that all of the tunes feature different singers will do the trick. The CD features rotating vocalists who either are currently part of the labels roster or were at one time in their career. So as a result we find everyone from Tobias Sammet (Ed Guy) to Tarja Tarunen (Nightwish) contributing vocals and it continues to get interesting as you listen to each song. Rather than find this as another Rage album given its creators, the songs seem to have been tailored to the specific vocalist so the song that Tobias sings “On Dirty Wings” could have very well been an Ed Guy contribution. This continues along when it gets to what Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica sings as it really comes across as something new by that band and while Kakko himself says he does not feel this way in the liner notes, I will have to disagree with him. Such is the ability of Smolski to craft interesting Metal that he seems to have approached this with relative ease. It’s a great listen as each offering brings to the table different levels of solid riffing and interesting vocals. It’s heavy all around and should be since this is a Metal celebration but some artists come up the heavier than the others such as when Marcel from Destruction performs, and also Wagner from Rage who gets his own tune. It was great to find Andi Deris from Helloween present and also the members of Nightwish but I admit that while I love Tarja’s voice her song didn’t do anything for me. There is also some vocal talent who many of the Metal legions should be following more and I am speaking of Mats Leven formerly of Therion and Oddleif Stensland of Communic. These two continually impress me and I am looking forward to their future contributions. The drumming on most of the album comes care of Andre Hilgers who is also a member of Rage. Victor, Peavey, Andre and everyone else you did a great job on this one.
The release also serves as a reminder of just how powerful the labels artist roster is and not only does it come from these new Smolski compositions but also from the music featured on the included bonus CD. There is some great stuff here and many of the songs have never been released before. Pay particular attention to new label signings such as After Forever and Threshold for they are set to explode with their latest albums. From beginning to end this rocks and is a fine way to start the celebration of the label’s launch. I have enjoyed so much of their output over the last couple of years and many of their bands have become personal favorites. It is based on this that I raise the high hails to the next decade to come.
Bonus CD: Hammerfall – Hearts On Fire, Helloween – The Madness Of The Crowds, Gotthard – El Traidor, After Forever – Sweet Enclosure, Ride The Sky – New Protection, Thunderstone – Forevermore, Threshold – Slipstream, Amorphis – The Smoke, Candlemass – Devil Seed, Sirenia – The Other Side.
1. Dirty Wings (Tobias Sammet)
2. Terrified (Peter Wagner)
3. Ruling The World (Tony Kakko)
4. Death Is Alive (Mats Leven)
5. Bloodsucker (Marcel Schirmer)
6. Slaves To The Desert (Hansi Kursch)
7. A Perfect Day (Andi Deris)
8. Eternally (Oddleif Stensland)
9. Inner Sanctuary (Marco Hietala)
10. In The Picture (Tarja Turunen)
Official Website: www.nuclearblastusa.com
Official Website: www.victorsmolski.de