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Nightfall in Middle Earth

1 rating: 5.0
An album by Blind Guardian

Domestic debut of 1998 album, a musical interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic tale 'Night Fall In Middle Earth'. 22 tracks of metal fused with just a hint of folk & classical music from this German power metal act.

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1 review about Nightfall in Middle Earth

"I left ruin behind me when i returned, but i also carried ruin with me..."

  • Aug 17, 2006
Rating:
+5
I wouldn't say it's their best album (I just love _Imaginations from the Other Side_, y'see), but Blind Guardian's _Nightfall in Middle-Earth_ is an epic tour-de-force that sets a whole new standard for the band in terms of over-the-top, bombastic choral power metal. There is less overtly thrashy power metal driving at top speeds, and more elaborate arrangements, variety, and vocal domination. The razor-edge vocals of Hansi are sounding a little more tempered, the metal sound of the band a little more blended, and the reach of the music more ambitious. Most of all, Blind Guardian `authenticates' its fantasy-metal sound with even more musical resources that makes NIME's rather, erm, nerd-like pretenses stupidly credible. Yes, the album is all about Tolkien's _Silmarillion_, not a book I have any interest in - so NIME covered with an abundance of voice-over passages with evil sounding narratives. Cheesy? Oh yeah. But the good news is that the whole story lends itself to amazing metal lines on which Hansi's voice thrives ("Revenge be mine!"; "My mind's in frozen dreams, the rotten flesh of bitter lies"; "Fear my curse!"; et cetera). And the songs are just awesome, apparently taking the dark menace of their concept and manipulating perfectly to their ends. As a concept album, the flow is a little broken up at the end by the time "Thorn" rolls around. But I am obsessive about structure, and in any case the songs are mostly amazing, with some of the best choruses Blind Guardian has ever produced. "Into the Storm", "Blood Tears", "Noldor", "The Curse of Feanor", "Mirror Mirror", "When Sorrow Sang" "Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)" - these are breathtaking, hugely inspiring aural onslaughts of multitracked vox. There are more vocal harmonies than ever, and more medieval/renaissance influences than before - they are integrated through numerous guitar phrases, vocal lines, and melodic contours. Bardic interludes, like "The Minstrel" and "Out on the Water", cover the softer side of the album with classical guitars, flutes, and forest sounds, adding a lot of atmosphere. There are no ballads of the sort like "Bard's Song - In the Forest", "Lord of the Rings", or "A Past and Future Secret" - but there is the surprising, eerie and beautiful "The Eldar" - a piano based piece with that is unique among BG tracks, and featuring the most delicate, astonishing performance by Hansi to date. The music has evolved to the point where even prog-metallers might get hooked by some of the characteristics here - complex arrangements, snaky time-changes, and "texturizing" metal guitars are things you don't hear in a lot of power metal bands. Flemming Rasmussen's production is titantic and thundering. Let me add another voice to the great volume of praise already showered upon this wonderful disc.

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Nightfall in Middle Earth
Details
Label: Century Media
Artist: Blind Guardian
Release Date: February 9, 1999

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