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Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time: Review

The power metal icons Blind Guardian released their newest album on July 30. The album is called At the Edge of Time, and is  their ninth studio release. Though many fans were disappointed with this album’s predecessor, there is nothing to be less than pleased with on this one. Rest assured, it is an album of Blind Guardian quality.

The Music (rating: A)

  1. Sacred Worlds
  2. Tanelorn (Into the Void)
  3. Road of No Release
  4. Ride into Obsession
  5. Curse My Name
  6. Valkyries
  7. Control the Divine
  8. War of the Thrones
  9. A Voice in the Dark
  10. Wheel of Time

At the Edge of Time is very modern in sound and production, much more so than earlier albums. Still, it is no doubt stylistically true to the band. Power metal is the dominant genre of the album, but it does have a progressive touch to it as well as heavy symphonic influences. There are also definite elements of folk in this record. Upfront, it is a well-rounded album.

The overall diversity of the album is highly commendable. It adds dynamics to the album, though does not compromise the general flow. In other words, the listen is both interesting and smooth. However, with all the variety on the album, there is not enough on the album to elevate it up to the standards of Blind Guardian classics. Yes, the collection of songs is very strong, but not all of them are overly standout.

In particular, the first and last songs were very well-done. The middle is the weaker section of the album, but again that is not to say it is at all weak. But the introduction sequence (and song) set the stage for an album that could be no less than excellent. The ending closed the album just as effectively as it was opened. With both having heavy use of orchestral instruments, it gives a complete and circular feeling to At the Edge of Time. Instead of saying it is a handful of great songs, one can say it is a great album.

Every band member contributed to making this a quality record. The vocals were stellar (as always with Blind Guardian), whether it be regarding phrasing or technicality. There were many good riffs, solos, and harmonies given on behalf of the guitarists. Also, the drums gave much more than simple double bass rhythms. The bassist also delivered strong support on his part. But no members happened to go beyond what was expected of them. And even though they met their already high expectations, the fact that remains that they still have some squeeze room… just a little.

But the excellence of At the Edge of Time was not reliant on the instrumental capabilities of the band members, but was more so due to the musicianship and creativity of the album. Despite being an unmistakable Blind Guardian album, it is still very innovative and intriguing. There is much diversity on the album, even though it stays true to the genre of power metal. And though there may have been weaker portions of the album, there was nothing that took away from this album. At the Edge of Time is an amazing album and a personal recommendation, but I still think Blind Guardian can (and will) do better.

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