Posts Tagged ‘Blind Guardian’

I am one of the biggest Blind Gurdian marks EVER. I waited almost 10 years after discovering them for the first time, and travelled to Slovenia to see them live for the first time. The German legends have NEVER played in Scotland in their 30 year existence, and you’re damn straight that the frankly too small QMU was packed for this momentous event.

But first, the tongue in cheek and fist raising power of homeland heroes Gloryhammer. As gloriously OTT as you’d expect, singalong anthems about undead unicorns assaulting Dundee and the like went down a stomr with the waiting crowd. My wonderful wife-to-be was hooked as soon as she saw she could get said zombie unicorns on a t-shirt. Safe to say, the band got two new fans tonight. The songs were great, the performance was full of energy, and they were the perfect opener.

But now, for the main course. Most bands would not stride onto stage before a rapturous welcome and break straight into a nine minute epic from their new record. But Blind Guardian don’t need to give a fuck what other bands would do. ‘The Ninth Wave’ and everything that followed was received like water in the desert. For a band that have been doing this for thirty plus years, Blind Guardian show no sign of slowing down. From modern favourites like ‘Fly’ through vintage prog classics like ‘Nightfall’ and the gloriously epic ‘Imaginations from the Other Side’, the Guardians of power metal majesty have no bad songs in their set.

We got ‘Majesty’ itself, a haunting rendition of ‘Lord of the Rings’, the speedy ‘A Journey Through the Dark’ and of course the iconic ‘Bards Song’, which raised hairs on the back of the neck. The crowd demanded ‘Valhalla’ and we got it. The crowd demanded ‘Mirror Mirror’ and we got it. In fact, I think this was the first time I’ve ever seen the traditional ‘one more tune’ chant actually result in one extra song at the end, a rocking ‘Barbara Ann’ to send us all home happy.

I didn’t think it would happen, at least not for a long time, but Blind Guardian unseated last year’s Judas Priest concert as the best live show I’ve ever been too. A spell binding example of how metal can galvanise, inspire, empower and thrill to the last. You might have told us repeatedly we were amazing Hansi, but we were nothing compared with you.

I’m reading Lord of the Rings again. This is probably the 15th time at least that I’ve read it since the first time I picked it up as a kid. I like to read it once a year if I can, not only because it is a masterpiece of storytelling and world/mythology creation, but there is a huge link between Tolkien’s work and heavy metal in general. Bands, song titles, album titles; so many inspired directly or indirectly by the works of J.R.R, so I’ve built a playlist based upon bands that have some link to his works. I don’t normally do this, but each song can get a brief explanation for those who may be a bit confused about some of the links:

1. Blind Guardian – Lord of the Rings: no explanation needed here surely. I couldn’t miss the world’s best power metal bands, especially since their Tolkien obsession led them to write their best album based on Tolkien’s most impenetrable book, The Simarillion.

2. Amon Amarth – Amon Amarth: An alternate name for Mount Doom, the fire that forged the One Ring.

3. Burzum – Ea, Lord of the Depths: Burzum is the word for ‘darkness’ in the Black Speech of Mordor. It is found engraved on the Ruling Ring.

4. Gorgoroth – Gorgoroth: A vast, dead plain within Mordor

5. Cirith Ungol – The Troll: Cirith Ungol is the pass into Mordor where Shelob lives

6. Morgoth – Unreal Imagination: Morgoth is the Great Enemy, Sauron’s boss and the creator of all evil in Middle Earth

7. Led Zeppelin – Misty Mountain Hop: The Misty Mountains are probably the most famous range in the Tolkien works, and this is a rocking song!

8. Isengard – Dark Lord of Gorgoroth: Covers two bases by mentionion Gorgoroth again and Isengard being the home of Saruman the wizard

9. Balrog – Nazgul Warlord: A Balrog was the massive beast of fire and flame that fights Gandalf in Moria

10. Nazgul – In Summis Montibus: The Nazgul were the 9 Ringwraiths sent by Sauron to find the Ring

11. Nightwish – The Elvenpath: Contains samples from the animated Lord of the Rings movie, as well as referencing elves and Bilbo Baggins

12. Orange Goblin – Saruman’s Wish: Saruman being the traitorous white wizard

13. Three Inches of Blood – Destroy the Orcs: A kick ass song about destroying orcs

14. Ephel Duath – Vector, Third Movement: Ephel Duath is a mountain range on the West and South of Mordor. It means ‘Fence of Shadow’

So there we have it, a bit of everything and all mixed in with the heady goodness of dwarves, elves, men and wizards. Oh, and lots of unspeakable evil!

Power metal is a totally guilty pleasure of mine. I guess it’s the genre that got me more into proper metal from being a nu-metal kid. Bands like Blind Guardian and Iced Earth really got my interest growing and are still two of my favourite bands. While reviewing the newest Sonata Arctica release for the Metal Legions magazine, soon to be released(!), I figured I would try and put together my top 10 power metal records that I would defend to the grave if required. Prepare your invisible oranges people, we’ve got battles to fight!

1. Blind Guardian – Nightfall in Middle Earth

2. Iced Earth – Something Wicked This Way Comes

3. Lost Horizon – Awakening the World

4. Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys

5. Edguy – Mandrake

6. Grave Digger – Tunes of War

7. Rhapsody – Symphony of Enchanted Lands II

8. Kiuas – The Spirit of Ukko

9. Stratovarius – Visions

10. Hammerfall – Crimson Thunder

These are probably my favourites. No doubt I’ll have missed out on something great, but there you go. Maybe I’ll go back to being grim again after this.

My willpower and ability to continually blog on all I’ve listened to each day in April came to a miserable, grinding halt once the Easter Holidays kicked in at our pub. Tired every night, I couldn’t summon the energy to write. Which is a shame, because I was actually enjoying the series, and enjoying the thought process between choices. But it is more and more difficult to find the time to properly blog on stuff at the moment. So I’m doing one last list before the end of Easter time, then I will be back to it. This week, I have been mostly listening to:

Cannibal Corpse – Butchered at Birth

Sodom – Agent Orange

Destruction – Infernal Overkill

Judas Priest – British Steel

Tankard – A Girl Called Cerveza

Benediction – Transcend the Rubicon

Sodom – Epitome of Torture

Children of Bodom – Relentless, Reckless Forever

Boris – Pink

Blind Guardian – Imaginations from the Other Side

The Sword – Age of Winters

The Company Band – The Company Band

Manowar – Battle Hymns

The Black Dahlia Murder – Deflorate

Yakuza – Samsara

Converge – No Heroes

This is since my last blog, not including the shuffling of my iPod in the car, which I did happen upon ‘The Mountain Goat’ by Sigirya as being a slamming tune. My previous German thrash thing has become an obvious influence, but I am sliding in some classic death metal and some more avant garde stuff like Yakuza and Boris. And of course, some epic, fist in the air, heavy metal goodness. As Manowar puts it, ‘They can’t stop us, let them try, for heavy metal we shall die!’

I’ve had to combine a few days here into one post because I got through one record on Sunday, none yesterday but a few tonight. Trying to keep a track of what you listen to each day isn’t that difficult, but finding time to write a blog on them is becoming a challenge. Ok, so the last few days have consisted of the following:

Burzum – Hvis Lyset Tar Oss

Annotations of An Autopsy – Before the Throne of Infection

Blind Guardian – A Night at the Opera

Marduk – Rom 5:12

Angelus Apatrida – Clockwork

Blind Guardian – Nightfall in Middle Earth

Incantation – Onwards to Golgotha

Sunday I gave up music time to watching Wrestlemania 30. I kinda wish I’d stuck to music afterwards but that’s for another time. ‘Hvis Lyset Tar Oss’ was one of Varg’s last decent records with Burzum before he disappeared into ambient nonsense. In fact, until some of his newer stuff (‘Belus’ and ‘Fallen’ in particular), I struggled to like Burzum outside the debut and ‘Filosefem’. Annotations of an Autopsy started off as a mediocre deathcore band before becoming a rather good death metal band. ‘Before the Throne of Infection’ is rather samey deathcore, but as a debut record it wasn’t too bad. I do however, thoroughly enjoy the track ‘Sludge City’, which includes the refrain “she bled from every fucking hole!” It’s metal.

Blind Guardian is a no brainer for me. They’ll always be one of my favourite bands, one of the early pure metal bands I liked and ‘Nightfall…’ is a genre classic. ‘A Night at the Opera’ is overblown and over produced, but full of cracking songs. Marduk pull no punches with ‘Rom 5:12’, but started to show signs of the slightly more twisted, less full throttle approach that ‘Wormwood’ and ‘Serpent Sermon’ highlight. Angelus Apatrida’s ‘Clockwork’ is a decent modern thrash record, full of tasty riffs and headbanging moments but struggles to keep the attention until the end. Their Maiden cover (Be Quick or Be Dead) is cracking though. Finally, what can you say about ‘Onwards to Golgotha’ that hasn’t already been said. Incantation do swampy, seasick groove better than everyone, and their blasphemous debut tears holes through everything else. I fucking love it

My friend asked me to do a blog on metal Christmas songs. Turns out that was a balls idea since I only know like 4, BUT it gave me an idea. Since it is the season to be cold, wet and generally miserable, I’ve decided to put together a list of ‘The Most Badass Songs With Winter In The Title!’

1. Blind Guardian – Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns): a fantastic piece of dark, bombastic power metal majesty

2. Sunn 0))) – Cursed Realm of the Winterdemons: The Immortal track was classic, but this cover is mind suffocatingly dense

3. Darkthrone – The Pagan Winter: Icy black metal from Norway’s finest sons

4. Sodom – Nuclear Winter: vicious early thrash from the German legends

5. Dragonforce – Black Winter Night: before they went all 500mph, Dragonforce were actually a pretty good power metal band

6. Immortal – At the Heart of Winter: the title track to probably my favourite Immortal record. At the heart of winter, there stands Immortal

7. Swallow the Sun – Descending Winters: crushing death/doom that truly feels like the cold is caving in

8. Wintersun – Winter Madness: melodic death metal at its purest, finest moments

9. Hail of Bullets – General Winter: an ominous air raid siren ushers in this juddering death metal classic about the harsh Russian cold

10. Cathedral – Aphrodites Winter: Another slab of finest English doom from the sadly retired legends.

So there we have it, that’s my top ten tracks involving winter. In fairness, I could’ve have just done an Immortal greatest hits, but that would’ve been lazy…!