Retro Round Table Review: Imaginations from the Other Side by Blind Guardian

imaginations_from_the_other_sideAlbum Review: Blind Guardian – Imaginations From The Other Side

Label: Virgin

Release Date: April 5th, 1995

Songs: 12

Length: 1 hour 8 minutes

Genre: Power Metal

Studio Albums: 9 plus 1 compilation album

Location: Krefeld, Germany

WarpRider – This is one band I always wanted to try to get into. It started with “At The Edge of Time” and I thought it a very powerful album musically, but have yet to discover everything else the band has created. Until now, this is my first listen with “Imaginations From The Other Side” and the first thing that sticks out for me is that it is much heavier than what I remember any Blind Guardian I have ever heard. I know that fans tend to be rabid when it comes to power metal, Blind Guardian in particular. Personally, I fail repeatedly to appreciate a story behind the music and opt for appreciation of the music itself. They are a band that is an experience complete with music, story, and fantasy behind the story. For that they get an A+. For me, I have a hard time allowing myself to be immersed and not due to any fault of the band. Overall, I like the music and that is important to me. For the fans of the band, I understand their obsession.


RiffRaff – I like stories.  Hence why my passion for music, film, books, and video games is so strong.  If you can tell a good story, I’m pretty much sold; doesn’t matter what kind as long as it’s good.  Probably why I connect so strongly with Blind Guardian is that they share this same passion for stories like I do with a heavy focus on literature.  Often taking a sympathetic voice for many antagonists they write songs that are an homage to many stories I have loved since I was a child.

One of their most beloved albums is Imaginations from the Other Side, and it is rightfully praised as one of the greatest metal albums ever.  One this record they took that sharp turn into prog territory and really expanded their sound which has evolved into the powerhouse it is today.  With speed metal songs in abundance on the record, the most striking songs on the album for me are when they go for something a bit ‘lighter’.  The odes to tragic character of Mordred and the Battle of Avalon (from The Once and Future King) gives me chills every time I hear it.  And I need to thank the band for introducing me to some great books through their music, especially The Death Gate Cycle which is recounted in the blistering I’m Alive.  I also have to give props to that title track which is basically a shout out to all the great novels and films I read and watched when I was young.  But the most striking song on the album is one created from the mind of Hansi Kursh and has no literary background.  Bright Eyes tells the tale of a young, privileged youth who longs for someone to tell him no.  He escapes his pandered life into his imagination and gets trapped there.

This is one of those records I think surpasses genre and can appeal to metal and music fans and is one should be heard at least once in life.


Irmelinis – The first time I heard of Blind Guardian I was 16 years old, sitting in a bedroom belonging to a guy I was dating at the time. He went on and on about this majestic band, played their atmospheric songs for me while telling me of the stories written in the music. His passion for this band sparked my interest, and I tried, but failed to understand the greatness of the concept and the songs. Three years later I’d start getting into symphonic power metal and epic fantasy tales, but even then Blind Guardian’s music never managed to stir up any emotions in me. There is obviously still something wrong with my ears. I appreciate “Imaginations From The Other Side” for the powerful and creative album that it is, with hard-hitting, moody guitars, a singer whose voice is absolutely stunning and a lovely fantasy theme. This band deserves every bit of praise and success they are getting for their fantastic music. If only I knew what is missing for me to fully enjoy it.


ChristopherMammal – Blind Guardian’s “Nightfall in Middle-Earth” features in my 1998 list of favourite metal albums of the last 21 years. On listening to “Imaginations From The Other Side” again, I’m kicking myself gently for not including it in my 1995 top list. If I was doing a top 25 for every year, Blind Guardian would have a bunch of albums in my hit parade. Power metal has been described as “prog rock meets heavy metal.” For more than 20 years, Blind Guardian combined the two types of music beautifully. They put more emphasis on the prog side than most power metal bands do. Their music would slot into prog metal if it wasn’t laden with so many elements of speed metal, which I don’t mind in the least. A thrashy flavour goes well with a hell of a lot of metal, no? Yes. Thank you.

About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on August 12, 2014, in Roundtable Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. A perfect record that I love and that still is the work of reference for Blind Guardian. Also I like “Nightfall” just a little bit more by now, because of the excellently implemented concept of it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: