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This review is from: Nightfall in Middle Earth (Audio CD)
I don't know why the reviewer below says Blind Guardian stick to a winning formula.
Changes relative to their previous and fantastic Imaginations From the Other Side:
Hansi Kursh leaves bass duties to concentrate on vocals
Enter studio musicians to record bass
Greater emphasis on orchestral arrangements
Greater emphasis on epic choruses and string arrangements
So no, no winning formula here, just taking a further step into the path of prog/power metal.
To me, the album sounds overproduced, and yes, there are great tracks with Into the Storm, Mirror Mirror and Time Stands Still at the Iron Hill, but the rest is sort of merely correct within the genre but not exactly mind blowing.
As a concept album on the Silmarillion, well, it was doomed to fail, cannot think of a more difficult book to turn into a concept record.
Hansi excels in vocals, switching from whisper to baritone to growl all in one verse, the twin guitars are there and the drumming is the usual relentless attack Thomen has got us used to (just watch him come out exhausted from the Live at Coburg DVD).
I think that yes, Blind Guardian wanted to evolve and push themselves as musicians, but their peak was reached with Imaginations From The Other Side.
I saw them live without an album to promote, and the fact that they played 7 out of 9 tracks from Imaginations shows that they acknowledge this fact themselves, or that their new music is to be enjoyed at home and it is much harder to take to the stage.