Blind Guardian
At The Edge Of Time

2010, Nuclear Blast
Power Metal

Di nuovo nel mondo fantasy per un viaggio ai confini del tempo...

Review by Gaetano Loffredo - Publish on: 26/07/10

The awakening in middle-earth is less sharp, if compared to the album published four years ago, “A Twist In The Myth” (2006), which razed all hopes to get back to the origins. Through deceits (some compositions) and betrayals (some changes of genre), Blind Guardian hit the bottom, responsible – together with the producer Charlie Bauerfeind – for a biblical disaster which foretold the fall of the Gods, already groggy after the controversial album “A Night At The Opera” (2002). That was an unthinkable way after the years of the accession – the years of  “ Imaginations From The Other Side” (1995) and of “Nightfall in Middle-Earth” (1998); that was an unexplainable identity crisis, and now, doubts are haunting us with the fear of a predictable incoming smash-up. We’re about to wake up, again, ready to begin a journey “At The Edge Of Time”. On the road leading to the finding of the old spirit, Blind Guardian abandons the “progressive” influence that dominated in the last album, the choice is to walk through paths that have already been crossed – which is much more congenial to the band – in order to avoid crossing unknown ones, like it happened in the past.

The review you’re about to read is the result of an uncountable times of listening sessions, important to understand, to set and to judge in the end the last Teutonic work.

We already know “Sacred Worlds”; it’s a song ordered by the producers of the videogame “Sacred”, slotted in first position as an adhesive between past and present; it’s the only song that puts together the old elements with the new ones, before getting to a very metallic song “Tanelorn (Into The Void)”, in which the Krefel Bards are dip into in a battle of sounds and colours, although the refrain isn’t as catchy as it was in the past.  It doesn’t matter, because there’s much on the plate. Moderate speed songs have the majority in this album, where warm choirs and ancestral melodies prevail; indeed, “Road Of No Release” is one of these songs, which interchanges with another power/heavy song, “Ride Into Obsession”, less annotated and more direct than "Tanelorn", with bridges and refrains that are functional to the frenzy born to roar on stage. Until this point, everything’s fine, you’ll need more listening sessions than usual to seize the more complicated passages and Olbrich’ s solos; don’t allow yourselves to be tricked by the first listening, stand fast. A medieval ballad couldn’t be lacking, “Curse My Name” is delightful, and in a few points wins over “Skalds and Shadows” , but it’s inferior if compared to the immortal “Bard Song” and “Lord Of The Rings”. I didn’t either understand or approve the mixing of the typical sounds of the French low-middle ages with the Celtic ones, but in any case the melody is so newsworthy and forceful, that you won’t even pay attention to this.

The second part of the album is much more expressive and convincing than the first one, I daresay. “Valkyries” is a slow song, but enormously epic, where Hansi’s voice prevails: it’s a song with some influences taken from Pink Floyd, which were already heard in “The Maiden And The Minstrel Knight”. On the same line is “Control The Divine” much similar in the etching, but with a composition similar to “Nightfall in Middle-Earth”. Rhythms get lower but the atmosphere gets more ethereal, “War Of The Thrones” is a research of a place in the Heaven of the Gods, where music gets softer and light gets blinding. Hansi’s voice will guide you to the white gates, however, you will fall back to darkness again. “A Voice In The Dark” is just like the old classics: a succession of duels and chasings between one instrument and the others which end in a catchy refrain. Sure, this is not – and it won’t be – the new “Mirror Mirror” but with the right approach you’ll be able to enjoy it more and more. The ending, at least from my point of view, is memorable, “Wheel Of Time” is the most wonderful and impressive song that has been composed by Blind Guardian in the last ten years. The presence of the orchestra is preponderant just like it happens in “Dark Passion Play” by Nightwish; at the same time the melodramatic style is closer to “And Then There Was Silence”. The oriental sounds and the fast rhythmic will lead you to an explosion of a huge, unheard choir that all by itself is able to cover all the mistakes made in the last ten years with two albums.

The words you’ve just read here are not glorifying or exalting too much the line up from Krefeld, but they give credit to this “mea culpa” and to the shift into reverse after the quirky mistakes made in “A Twist In The Myth”. “At The Edge Of Time” is not able to reach the top as the past masterpieces did, but it’s a great step forward that shows a regained inspiration; it’s long-lasting album that you’ll like to hear often and – why not – it will make you read a good fantasy book again. We can’t wait for the tour.

Translation by Rachele Leoni

01.Sacred Worlds
02.Tanelorn (Into The Void)
03.Road Of No Release
04.Ride Into Obsession
05.Curse My Name
07.Control The Divine
08.War Of The Thrones (Piano)
09.A Voice In The Dark
10.Wheel Of Time

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