Blind Guardian – Beyond The Red Mirror (2015/2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:10:47 minutes | 1,44 GB | Genre: Metal
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front cover | © Nuclear Blast
“Beyond the Red Mirror” is the tenth studio album by German metal band Blind Guardian. A concept album and a sequel to “Imaginations from the Other Side”, “Beyond the Red Mirror” has been described by Hansi Kürsch as “A story between science fiction and fantasy. The two worlds described have changed dramatically for the worse since then. While there used to be several passages between the worlds, there is only one gate left now: The Red Mirror. It has to be found at any cost”.
The German power metal unit’s tenth studio album and first since 2010’s At the Edge of Time, Beyond the Red Mirror is being billed as a sequel to 1995’s much-loved Imaginations from the Other Side, but listeners need not be versed in that sci-fi/fantasy narrative to enjoy the ride, as per usual, Blind Guardian lets the music do most of the talking. Sparing no expense, the band enlisted two full 90-piece orchestras and three international choirs (Prague, Budapest, and Boston), but unlike some of their symphony-loving peers, the window dressing is integrated tastefully, allowing the veteran band’s well-established technical skill set to shine through. Nearly three decades into their career, Blind Guardian still sound like a spinning top at the edge of a very high (and very ornate) table, firing ideas into the ether with the subtlety of a Gatling Gun, while miraculously maintaining their footing. Nowhere is this penchant for frantic, progressive metal fanfare more apparent than on the nearly ten-minute opener “The Ninth Wave, a lavish, electro-tinged, pseudo-Wagnerian epic that feels like a highlight reel of the band’s entire career thus far. Like the majority of the ten-track set, it’s bold, immediate, and relentlessly melodic, due in large part to frontman Hansi Kursch’s robust vocals, whose stacked Dee Snider-meets-Queen harmonies and commanding presence form the basis of nearly all of the group’s best offerings. That equation is put to its best use on the rollicking follow-up, “Twilight of the Gods,” the closest Beyond the Red Mirror gets to a single, and a prime example of how deft the band is at fusing pop melodies to a backbone of pure metal might. The rest of the album follows suit, making stops at vintage thrash (“The Holy Grail”), Iron Maiden-inspired, guitarmony-laden NWOBHM (“Prophecies”), and opera metal (“The Throne”), before tying things up with the aptly named “Grand Parade,” another just-under-ten-minute, neo-classical metal stunner that’s as unapologetically ostentatious as it is genuinely goose bump-inducing.
01 – The Ninth Wave
02 – Twilight Of The Gods
03 – Prophecies
04 – At The Edge Of Time
05 – Ashes Of Eternity
06 – Distant Memories [Bonus Track]
07 – The Holy Grail
08 – The Throne
09 – Sacred Mind
10 – Miracle Machine
11 – Grand Parade
Produced by Charlie Bauerfeind.
Recorded in 2014 at Twilight Hall Studio, Grefrath, Germany.
Hansi Kürsch – lead and backing vocals
André Olbrich – lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars
Marcus Siepen – rhythm guitar
Frederik Ehmke – drums, percussion
Barend Courbois – bass guitar
Michael Schüren – piano
Mattias Ulmer – keyboards, piano