A Twist In The Myth
posted on 9/2006 By:
This band’s journey through the world of power metal territory goes all the way back to the late 80’s, but it wasn’t until the late 90’s when I first caught wind of their style of fantasy land metal. Nightfall In Middle Earth was my first taste and is an album that rejuvenated my fondness for this style of music. Its brilliance brought fresh air to an era that saw many pioneers of the genre show their age and kind of disappear from the metal map ultimately allowing the next generation to come in and carry the reigns. Blind Guardian took things to a new level for me with their ostentatious musical arrangements involving high-flying progressive riffing filled with flamboyant vocal melodies and a youthful energy without coming across as the least bit pretentious. Or maybe it was just that my being turned onto this band hit me at a time in my life when I needed it most. We’ve all had those magical musical moments and this was definitely one of those glorious times in metal for me. Whatever the reason or reasons may or may not be, I’ve enjoyed their work ever since.
Epic stories filled with dungeons and dragons, fire and steel are this band’s trademark style from a lyrical point of view. Whether those stories are based on works already written somewhere in literature’s past, or if they come from Blind Guardian’s inner sanctum of fantasy and adventure, it never gets old and they continue to amaze me with their ability to tell a tale. When it comes to the music at hand I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t too keen on the two original songs served as an appetizer from the Fly EP released earlier this year (the title track and "Skalds & Shadows"), and as much as the two songs have grown on me after revisiting them again on A Twist In the Myth, it’s the numbers that flourish with the hook in mouth, gargantuan choruses chock full of multilayered vocal tracks ("This Will Never End", "Otherland", "Another Stranger Me" & "Straight Through the Mirror") that tell me all was good in the world of BG during the songwriting process. Other slower tracks bring out the band’s softer side and are very well composed ballads that reek of great emotion and bring hope to feelings of sadness by illuminating you with delight ("Carrie the Blessed Home" & "The New Order"). And not to be outdone other songs on the album leave the listener thriving with an almost comforting feeling of worth with their confident sense of enchantment ('Turn the Page", "Lionheart" & "The Edge"). This is not dark and evil metal; this is the brighter side of the coin that says it doesn't have to always be about anger and hatred yet can still make a strong impact on the metal listener.
As can be expected every track shines with exceptional drumming which serves as the perfect backdrop for the technical prowess and guitar wizardry which has always been prevalent in anything the band writes. Each song contains outstanding melodic licks and their excellent lead work is heard throughout the album’s entirety. But at the forefront has always been the vocal performance, and Hansi Kürsch does not disappoint. The vocal harmonies he comes up with have always been some of the most unique in the genre and that has not changed. You don't try and veer away from what has worked so well in the recent past and Blind Guardian has shown they know what works best for them and plan on sticking to that formula. The topnotch production of the album brings all of these pieces together as one into a unified and grandiose metal experience.
At the end of the day BG fans will be pleased with this offering and I could see quite a few power and progressive lovers having A Twist In the Myth on their end of the year lists for 2006. Although maybe not quite as strong as the band’s previous two releases, it undoubtedly shows that this German powerhouse hasn’t regressed and can still write a great album. Highly recommended for fans of the band and any and all power and progressive fans. Picking up a copy of this album will be money well spent.
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