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Review: Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red Mirror
Blind Guardian
Beyond the Red Mirror

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2015
Duration: 64:56
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: February 28, 2015
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Beyond the Red Mirror

Rated 3.78/5 (75.5%) (40 Votes)

When it comes to long-running bands the question is usually will they go back to what they used to sound like or will they continue to "progress" and move away from their original sound. Either can work though the odds are generally against any measure of success. Blind Guardian started as a Power/Speed Metal band and, as happens with bands of that ilk, has slowed and settled into a more Melodic/Power style. There is nothing egregiously wrong with recent albums but the fans tend to favor the earlier material. Beyond the Red Mirror, the band's 10th studio album, takes some of the speed of early releases ("The Ninth Wave") and some of the mid-paced material of later works ("Prophecies") and adds a new twist of Progressive Rock/Metal and comes up with an album that is both familiar and new.

The distinctive vocals of Hansi Kursch provide easy access into Beyond the Red Mirror but from there you're just as like to run into something that sounds like Queen mixed with Symphony X as you are Blind Guardian. This new musical direction has pushed the band to write some great riffs and melodies along with lyrics that run a bit deeper than they have in the past. Choosing religion will do that. Both "The Ninth Wave" and "Grand Parade" clock in at 9:30, epic length to be sure, and neither suffers from being tedious, an impressive feat. Musically it is still Blind Guardian-style Power Metal with plenty of keys supporting the guitars but the harmonies are a bit more complicated and, with some huge choirs, give the songs a densely layered sound. If you've ever heard "Bohemian Rhapsody" the backing vocals and a few notes of the guitar solo on "Ashes of Eternity" should sound familiar. Right after that, you can settle in with some good old speedy Power Metal on "The Holy Grail."

I've said this before, about other bands, but if you didn't like Blind Guardian before, Beyond the Red Mirror won't change your mind. If you do like a little (or a lot of) Blind Guardian in your mix and have grown bored with their recent albums you need to check out this new one. Give it time as the band has set out to challenge you a bit but your perseverance will be rewarded.

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