Sunday Old School: Blind Guardian
Band Photo: Blind Guardian (?)
When going through the Sunday Old School archives, it struck me as rather strange that while over sixty bands have been covered thus far, there has yet to be an article on a true power metal band. So today I make amends for that as we take a look at one of the most loved bands in the genre, Germany’s Blind Guardian. The band formed in 1984 under the original moniker, Lucifer’s Heritage in the town of Krefeld by singing bassist Hansi Kürsch and guitarist Andre Olbrich.
After going numerous lineup changes, the band signed a deal with No Remorse Records and decided to change their name to avoid accusations of Satanism and to stop them being lumped in with the emerging black metal bands at the time such as Mercyful Fate and Celtic Frost. Through No Remorse, the band released their debut album, “Battalions Of Fear” in 1988, which was predominantly a speed metal album in which the influence of countrymen Helloween shined through. The album was well received and a sophomore full length, “Follow The Blind” was released the next year, which featured a guest performance from Helloween founder Kai Hansen.
While, “Follow The Blind” had a more thrash metal approach, the band would enter the territory for which they are now known for with their third album, “Tales From The Twilight World,” which contained a much more epic sound with influences from classical music. After this, the group signed a major record deal with Virgin records and released “Somewhere Far Beyond” in 1992, which became a favorite amongst fans of power metal and allowed the band to tour outside of Germany for the first time, reaching as far as Japan, which resulted in the live album, “Tokyo Tales.” After another acclaimed album with “Imaginations From The Other Side,” and an album that was half comprised of covers of unlikely acts such as Little Richard, The Beach Boys and Mike Oldfield, Kürsch decided to put the bass down in order to concentrate more on singing.
The decision paid off when their next album, “Nightfall In Middle Earth,” became Blind Guardian’s first album to be released in the United States. The album was based on the J.R.R, Tolkien book, “The Silmarillion” and featured spoken word parts in addition to the ever increasing melodic musical style in which the band had progressed. It would be another four years until the group released a new studio album, which came in 2002’s “A Night At The Opera,” named after the classic Queen album (which was itself named after a Marx Brothers film). The album shed almost all of the speed metal influence and lyrically focused on religious topics and tales, though the band insisted it is not a concept album.
Following a live DVD, “Imaginations Through the Looking Glass,” long time drummer Thomen Stauch left the band and was replaced by Frederik Ehmke, who debuted on the 2006 album, “A Twist In The Myth.” After this album was released, the band continued to tour the world and contributed to the soundtrack’s of several movies and video games before eventually releasing new material this year. First with the single, “A Voice In The Dark” and then with the full length, “At The Edge Of Time,” which has so far received positive feedback from fans and critics alike. At present, the band is touring North America in support of the album and are scheduled to make appearances at some Europe’s biggest metal festivals next year, including Wacken Open Air.
Blind Guardian - "Valhalla"
Blind Guardian - "Majesty"
Blind Guardian - "Barbara Ann"
Blind Guardian - "The Bard's Song"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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