Welcome Back: Blind Guardian

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Fantasy fiction continues to provide rich fodder for heavy metal, from brave warriors to mighty beasts to elven babes and everything in between. Power metal behemoths Blind Guardian remain the consummate keepers of such lore, and their new opus is another heroic leap into more magical realms.

HAIL, DARK WIZARD OF METAL! PRAY TELL US ABOUT THY NEW ALBUM?

**SO WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CHARACTERS THIS TIME? **

“At the end of the Imaginations… album, The Chosen One stands in front of a huge red mirror which is the portal between the two realms. When we started talking about the lyrics for the new album, I went back to that point and asked myself if he actually went through the mirror 20 years ago. My conclusion was that he didn’t dare to do it, and the transfer never happened. Now, all these years later, we meet him in a world where he doesn’t belong. The red mirror is the last open gate between the two worlds, and the album invites you to follow him on this journey.”

YOU WEAVE SCIENCE, SUCH AS QUANTUM MECHANICS, INTO THE MIX OF MYTHOLOGIES. HEAVY STUFF, EH?

“Yes! One song, Ashes Of Eternity, is set in a world that used to be similar to ours but which has changed into a more magical place, and time travel is now possible. One character, The Technocrat, abuses time by going back to the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, trying to steal the Holy Grail.”

BLIMEY. WHICH FANTASY NOVELS SHOULD READERS GET INTO?

“The books of Tolkien are obviously important to anyone who is into fantasy. There is no way to deny his superior position. Everything that’s come after him has a strong Tolkien influence. It helps us understand the medieval British environment. He was keen on his stories meaning different things to each person who read them, which was important to me when we first decided to take that direction in our lyrics.”

**YOUR 1998 ALBUM NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH CAME OUT JUST BEFORE THE LORD OF THE RINGS FILM SERIES. ANY LATER AND IT WOULD HAVE LOOKED CHEESY… **

“Luckily for us, ha ha! Tolkien has always been popular, it’s just a question of how mainstream it is. I got into Tolkien 10 years before the album. I wasn’t just interestedin his books: I learned about the various races and their languages and histories. I wanted to do a concept album about that universe, because the whole band was very Tolkienist.”

**WHAT’S NEXT? **

“The album is out in January and then we do the 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise. After that we’re on tour in America.”

**ADMIT IT. YOU PLAY ROLE-PLAYING GAMES ON THE TOUR BUS, DON’T YOU? **

“I don’t, but Andre and Marcus are into World Of Warcraft and Star Wars RPGs, and whenever we’re on tour I have no choice but to see what they’re doing, ha ha!

BEYOND THE RED MIRROR IS OUT ON JANUARY 30 VIA NUCLEAR BLAST