Blind Guardian: Beyond The Red Mirror

German powerlords bring out the big guns for album number 10

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While Blind Guardian are one of the all-time great German metal bands, dazzling since the late 80s, they have been known to occasionally cross the line into indulgent cheese and sterile bombast.

This 10th album employs three classical choirs and two 90-piece orchestras, which may suggest overambitious grandiloquence, but it assimilates its orchestral resources with remarkable finesse, never losing focus on jagged metallic guitars and headbanging bravado even among parping fanfares, romantic strings and multi-part harmonies.

Rampaging shred-riffs and gorgeous exuberant solos are out in force during Twilight Of The Gods, Ashes Of Eternity and Sacred Mind, while closer Grand Parade is an audacious masterpiece, group and orchestra beautifully entwined within a labyrinth of sweeping arrangements, tastefully balanced light and shade and storytelling grandeur. A conceptual sequel to 1995’s Imaginations From The Other Side, this may not quite equal the dizzying impact of that magnum opus, but it’s a mighty reassertion of this band’s myriad strengths.

Via Nuclear Blast

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.