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Blind Guardian Remastered Albums 1988 - 2003

I have to admit I am not the biggest fan of Blind Guardian, but hell, I’ll admit that I jam out every time they put out something new. Having only really paid attention to their more recent material and never really going back over their catalog. The reissues of their classic work (going back to 1988) was a good opportunity to get acquainted to their work. However I don't just want to review the reissued albums. Let’s face it, you’ve either already heard of Blind Guardian and you’ve made up your mind about them or you have never heard of them and are probably happy to go on without knowledge of who they are. The point being that no matter what I have to say, it probably won’t change your mind about the band. So let’s do something a little different. Let’s discuss why Blind Guardian have lasted as long as they have by analysing what made their albums special in the first place. Also, this is the first time I have listened to these earlier albums so it’ll be fun to document my reactions.

Looking back on the first album from Blind Guardian, I never realised how old school their metal stylings were. In fact I got a very “Iron Maiden” feel off of these earlier albums. The whole style is this really old school metal. You know that sound from metal, when metal bands didn’t 100% know whole to convey the new sound. It’s really great with tight, consistent rhythms that flow from one song to the next. I’ll admit to liking the polished up, remastering of the song. Everything sounds a lot crisper and smooth. I can see why people got into Blind Guardian on this album alone. It has a lot of element that would make the average metal fan’s ears prick up. Drawing on many themes and idea from the world of fiction gives the listener something really worth clinging on to. Using imagery in the lyrics adds that dimension and I suppose being the late 80’s a lot of this was untapped in terms of potential. They have always been known for making references to classic literature, poetry and mythology and both albums, Battalions of Fear and Follow The Blind, are really well done overall. I have really enjoyed their music from a little over 30 years ago. It has certainly stood the test of time. Now let’s dive into the 90’s and see how they evolve and develop their sound.

The music from the 90’s is where I think they have really found their sound Tales from the Twilight World (1990), Somewhere Far Beyond (1992), Imaginations from the Other Side (1995), Nightfall in Middle-Earth (1998) were highly praised records from both critics and fans alike and I can definitely hear why. These albums are simply superb. Their rocket to notoriety was pretty much solidified with the release of these albums. It’s clear that their love for classic literature and fantasy really resonates with their fans as more and more people flock to their music. Over the course of the 90’s developing a fan base outside of Germany, and mainland Europe, mainly in Japan (of course). The furious pace matched with the incredible melodies, with Hansi Kürsch’s exquisite vocals to boot. Is it any wonder that these albums sold to a really wide audience? It’s people who want that aggressive edge to otherwise beautifully composed music.

The early 2000’s show Blind Guardian going from strength to strength. Although A Night at the Opera wasn’t held as in quite high regard as their previous work. It still proved to help them expand their reach. This album finally making the independent charts in the US market. Arguable one of the biggest marketplaces. Even though it’s not a notable album in their reputation, (that’s from looking online and finding no one discussing this album in great detail. So if this is your favorite don’t shoot). I for the record really like this album. It’s big and bold, it really stands out and the music is grandiose and the writing is concise and filled with those little references that make these albums such great listens. I have neglected to mention the live albums from them, which have also received a remastered versions. They’re OK for the most part. I’m really not a live album guy but they do sound pretty nice. They’re pretty indicative of their usual sets. Big, massive sets with lots of intricate and consistent musicianship. If you have never seen Blind Guardian live, then these albums are well worth picking for the sheer scope of them. The remastering sounds nice at least.

Although I have really enjoyed listening to Blind Guardian’s back catalogue over the last few weeks. It’s just been a little tiresome. Don’t get me wrong the music is astonishingly good but they definitely play to their market and they don’t seem concerned about appealing to a wider audience. As a result their music can get very samey for me at least. The remastered albums are beautifully done and Blind Guardian are a really great band. However without a variety of sounds the music began to great and writing this article felt more of a chore towards the end. If you’re a fan of Blind Guardian and want to hear them at their very best then I would highly recommend giving these newer versions a listen. There is some excellent quality and a few extra bonus tracks to feed your collections. If you’re at all curious about them give them a listen. Truly an epic band that weave storytelling with superb musical composition to create something really special. However I would recommend taking breaks and it can wear on your mind if you’re used to more variety in your musical pallet.