Imaginations From The Other Side
Review by Luka on April 12, 2002.
Fifth in a fine row of amazing albums! This is insane, how Blind Guardian manage to outdo themselves with every album is a phenomenon! Didn’t think they could do it after the brilliant “Tales From the Twilight World” and “Somewhere Far Beyond” but instead they make a decision to scrap the bit of cheesy power metal attitude they had attached to them and fix all the little faults and come out with the most bad-ass and mature album in their career! Definitely my favorite!
First of all the band has had a severe musical makeover. This one has a really uncharacteristic feel that makes the band’s material seem completely fresh and new. There’s nothing worse than a band making albums with the same old sound you grew tired of five years ago... no, Blind Guardian know better, these Hamburg-ers are true professionals. This is a move that takes them another step further in the right direction.
The songs are still very ambitious and show a great deal of musical quality, but unlike the overblown symphonic epics from the other albums, this one keeps the pretentiousness down and focuses rather on surprisingly personal issues and themes. In turn, the melodies are a lot less pushy and aggressive and come out sounding more personal and real, even sad, melancholic. The beautiful acoustic mantra 'Past and Future Secret' comes to mind as an example, as well as some of the heavier numbers like 'Bright Eyes' or 'Mordred’s Song'. This was a welcome change from their immature heroic “quest-to-save-the-world” themes of the past that were just way too pretentious and overblown for many of us to appreciate.
Blind Guardian have finally left the power metal train for good, there is hardly a trace of the European power metal cheese products here and I’m thankful for it. This is more of a true heavy metal album with tons of emotion and innovative ideas. Diverse instrument layers and studio enhanced multi-vocal effects laden over the technical rhythm sections still remind us that this is still Blind Guardian, strong as ever, but the fresh ideas and arrangements that this album carries reveal a whole new side to their overall potential. One minute into the first song and you know this is definitely not an average Guardian album. Damn good stuff! The very best tracks would be the 'I‘m Alive', 'A Past and Future Secret', 'Bright Eyes' and the title track. There’s not a single filler here.
Bottom Line: Perhaps Blind Guardian’s most mature and powerful album ever! Definitely different and original!
Rating: 8.8 out of 10