At The Edge Of Time
30 July 2010
by Tom Dare
That’s it. It’s all over. Listening to At The Edge Of Time is like watching Usain Bolt run the 100 metres- it doesn’t just beat its rivals, it crushes them with enough time to spare for a quick pint and a cheeky cigarette. Just as you will not beat Bolt at what he does best, you will not beat Blind Guardian at what they do.
At The Edge Of Time sees Blind Guardian revisit all the eras of their career, from the rapid attack of the early records to the more riffy, progressive style of their later works via the symphonic epicness and medieval melodies that marked their seminal Nightfall In Middle-Earth. Suffusing everything is Hansi Kürsch’s emotion-dripping voice, topped with rousing group singing and choruses big enough to eclipse entire galaxies.
Opener ‘Sacred Worlds’ is a stone cold masterpiece. It combines an orchestral line that Hans Zimmer would give his right bollock to have written, with some ferocious galloping riffs and a vocal hook that will have you singing and banging your head like no one is watching. It is all done inside a masterful form and structure, everything seen through to a firm conclusion. It is the obvious standout track, but frankly this would stand out on any power metal record ever written.
To say the rest of the album is not quite of the same standard is, while accurate, a tad harsh. At The Edge Of Time has plenty of life left in it after the opening, but the first track is so brilliant it will inevitably overshadow what comes after – much like ‘Piece by Piece’ is overshadowed by ‘Angel Of Death’ on Reign In Blood, only with songs about fantasy novels rather than evil and violence. From the cavalier ‘Ride Into Obsession’ to the more mellow yet still driving ‘Road Of No Release’ and the faux-medieval ‘Curse My Name’, there is plenty to keep your attention. The mixture of styles ensures this never feels like an inferior rehash of previous work as they’ve never tried this many things on the same record before.
Watch the video to ‘A Voice In The Dark’ by Blind Guardian:
By the time mighty closing track ‘The Wheel Of Time’ rolls around (yes, it is based around the Robert Jordan novels, and if you thought they were dull don’t worry- the song isn’t), every other record released this year in Blind Guardian’s world has been firmly spanked. While the lyrical themes are sure to keep hardcore fans happy – George RR Martin’s superb series A Song Of Ice And Fire is an inspiration for two songs, for example – all that actually matters is the quality of riffs, composition and Hansi Kürsch’s gargantuan vocal hooks and ability to convey whatever feeling he wants you to experience.
The kings of power metal show no sign of slipping from their throne. In fact they only strengthen their grip on it.
Sounds like: Epic crusades through magical realms in the company of heroes. (lol)
Top tracks: Sacred Worlds, Road Of No Release, Wheel Of Time
Blind Guardian – At The Edge Of Time tracklisting:
Tanelorn (Into The Void)
Road Of No Release
Ride Into Obsession
Curse My Name
Control The Divine
War Of The Thrones
A Voice In The Dark
Wheel Of Time