Tales From The Twilight World
Review by Allan on July 24, 2002.
Since they debuted in 1989 with “Battalions of Fear”, Blind Guardian has been a band that have progressed intensely. Not only did they push themselves to their limits every time, but they challenged the rest of the metal scene to keep up with them. With that progression they’ve lost and gained fans and created many mixed feelings amongst their following. Though, no matter what period in time, Blind Guardian has always followed up to fan's expectations. “Tales From The Twilight World” is no different, and maybe THE highlight of the band's career and of the power genre. It holds something for everyone that listens. It is a piece of history that fans of new Blind Guardian can look into, and an album that other Guardian fans can reminisce over.
There are an overwhelming number of excellent things about this album. One of the greatest things about “Tales From The Twilight World” is that it’s just one hundred percent, pure, stripped down heavy metal. Nothing on this album is overdone and you won’t find one drop of the pretentiousness that clouds the bands latest efforts. The performance is bombastic, but it’s not like you’ll be spending a night at the opera. Few bands can walk into that studio space and create something that radiates with true emotion like it did when the band first heard it inside them. When Blind Guardian went into the studio for “Tales...” there was something special happening; no fan of Blind Guardian will deny that. It was that emotion that was conveyed so strongly that pushed this album over the edge. Not only that, but the execution of the spectacular ideas made “Tales...” meaningful. From start to finish, not a ripple will be seen on the surface. What it comes down to is that “Tales...” is an album that is free of any excess rubbish, surprisingly well thought out, and a lot deeper than it may appear on the initial listen.
What truly makes Blind Guardian work is the line-up. When Hansi Kursh sings out with his mid range vocals he wraps himself around the listener to create a presence that is memorable and ultimately nostalgic. Guitarists André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen perform amazingly. The rhythm is impeccable and was something that I saw as an old Guardian trademark. Combined with an astounding lead guitar player who writes some of the most amazing riffs and solos that bleed with feeling, this duo is unstoppable. After the smoke clears it comes down to this, and not one piece of the puzzle is missing.
Bottom Line: I truly miss the old days of Blind Guardian, but at least Blind Guardian is progressing with style. “Tales From The Twilight World” is a timeless gem that many people will never forget and it deserves a place in every metal fans collection.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.9 out of 10
Review by Luka on April 12, 2002.
Every album Blind Guardian have made helped get them where they are today, and as a fourth entry into their impressive and spotless discography "Twilight World" once again raises the band’s quality up considerably, it’s no wonder these guys are called “Iron Maiden of the 90’s.” Such a beneficent honor came from years of persistence as well as remarkable musicianship and talent that is matched by few in today’s metal scene. These boys know how to crank out fine music!
The production has again seen improvement from their previous works and this time there is great focus on making the songs more energetic and lively as well as keeping the tradition of careful mixing and proper integration of each instrument into the whole. Hansi’s voice is more confident and assertive than ever, you’ll find yourself happily singing along to the merry vocal lines of songs like 'Traveler in Time' and the catchy rhymes of 'Tommyknockers'. This is a fun album to listen to and while many parts may sound silly it’s nowhere near as cheesy as traditional German power metal. Blind Guardian have always had a harder edge and tougher shell and they rise well above the vast power metal crowd of Europe.
Musicianship is top notch, as it has been from the very first album. The fast double-bass drumming pumps the songs with adrenaline while carefully composed guitar harmony and fine melody gives them breath and life. The concept and importance of solos has all but died out in the last decade of heavy metal but Blind Guardian say different. Axemen Olbrich and Siepen utilize their supreme talents to conjure some damn fine lead sections and licks, most notably in the short, freestyle-ish instrumental 'Weird Dreams'. Kai Hansen of Helloween fame also performs some lead guitar and vocals as a guest musician. My special enjoyment came from the tracks 'Tommyknockers' and 'Altair 4', based on a great Stephen King novel that I had read just weeks before buying this album.
Bottom Line: You can’t go wrong with this album! But that goes without saying; when have Blind Guardian ever made a bad recording?
Rating: 8.3 out of 10