Retro Roundtable Review: At the Edge of Time by Blind Guardian

MI0003036053Label: Nuclear Blast

Release Date: July 30th, 2010

Songs: 10

Genre: Symphonic Power Metal

Studio Albums: 9 other ones

Location: Germany

WarpRider:  It isn’t that often I get the deep desire to throw down some power metal, but when I do, Blind Guardian is becoming my go-to band. They are relatively new to my music catalogue and from what I have heard so far, to include At The Edge Of Time they are nothing short of epic. There, I used that word – epic. Maybe I should have used perfect or impeccable or flawless.   They all apply in this case because it is so hard to find anything wrong with their music. It’s fast, upbeat, melodic, slow, passionate, and seamlessly timed.

Sometimes power metal or fantasy metal (same thing if you ask me) can be a little overdramatic. Blind Guardian does a great job of being larger-than-life without the eye-rolling dramatics. At The Edge Of Time does a great job of melding theatrics with excellent metal. When necessary to emphasize their story, Blind Guardian has no trouble at all ramping it up with double bass, speedy riffs, solos, and well…just metal. An excellent album I missed from 2010 that I am glad to get my hands on now.

RiffRaff:  Seriously, what could a fantasy nerd and metal fan want more than Blind Guardian.  Combining tales from some of my favorite bit of literature and film with big, over the top metal, no other band speaks to my inner nerd quite like the Guardians of the Blind.  At the Edge of Time isn’t my favorite BG record, but it does reside in the upper echelon.

Taking the heavy symphonic elements from A Night at the Opera, the poppier feel of A Twist in the Myth, and the punch of their earlier albums circa Imaginations and Middle Earth the Germs have crafted one hell of a diverse and fun record.  In particular I enjoy the ballads on the album as they really invoke epic and emotional soundscapes and never venture into the cheesey territory which is usually the factor which turns me off to them.  The ballad ‘Curse My Name’,  hhnggghhuhhh!  So good!

I named At the Edge of Time my AotY for 2010 and reflecting over those 5 years, I wouldn’t change that decision.  It still gets regular spins and also maintains that initial impact like it was brand new.  Highly recommended, even if, like myself, symphonic and power metal aren’t your main cup of tea.

Irmelnis: This is the third album by Blind Guardian that I’ve carefully listened to and really wanted to get into, without success. These songs are inspired by well known fantasy series, games and characters, like “Wheel of Time” and “Game of Thrones”, which makes it easier to relate to them. In general, the tracks here are too lengthy and the orchestral effects often take over completely, drowning out the sound of the guitar, drums and bass. On the plus-side, there’s plenty of variation; ballads, a touch of folk music, middle eastern melodies and thrashy power metal. The first track “Sacred Worlds” is absolutely fantastic with its build up and chorus, and the album ends just as strongly with the epic “Wheel of Time”, the songs in between are unfortunately quite average and didn’t win me over.

Mammal: For what it is, “At The Edge Of Time” is excellent. I don’t mean to sound condescending when I say that. Over the years, heavy metal and power metal have become my metal pop music. So has symphonic metal. I’m not being disparaging. Johann Strauss Junior’s waltzes and operettas are my pop classical music. Gilbert & Sullivan and some Offenbach are my pop opera. I take great pleasure in listening to Strauss Jr, Gilbert & Sullivan, Offenbach and Blind Guardian.

None of them are my first choices, however. If they’re on, I enjoy them. All three of those types of music, spanning much more than a century, are highly musical, varied and creative. My problem is that they don’t bite into my liver. They stick tingly little barbs into my skin, which generates a pleasing sensation but not compelling enough to form an addiction. What I do really like about Blind Guardian is that they move beyond pure power metal and integrate some of the more inventive elements of older-style prog metal. Their skill is beyond question.

 

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About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on January 28, 2015, in Roundtable Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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