We waited a long time in order to get a new album of the Guardians
– exactly four years without their brilliant music. Was it worth the wait? Just like everytime Blind Guardian
release something, the answer to the question is difficult and requires a lot of album spins, because the rest would seem unappropriate and not serious one bit, considering the diversity of their works. “At the Edge of Time” is full with complex sound, multi-layered guitar effects and just about everything that allows the band to continue their journey on the road to the perfect symbiosis between their ambitious compositional decisions and the melodic speed metal which turned into their trademark over the years.
The 9 min. long opener “Sacred Worlds” has nothing to do with its first version which Blind Guardian
on a local concert last year. Here, the song begins with a long intro, resembling film score music which merges into an epic and utterly melodic composition with one hell of an awesome chorus. This piece, along with the closing theme “Wheel
of Time” is a semi-continuation of the band’s intention to include orchestral arrangements which started in “And
Then There Was Silence
” from the opus “A Night
at the Opera”. The next trio is much more hit-orriented and direct: “Tanelorn
(Into the Void
)” and my favorite “Ride into Obsession
” are bound to be favoured by the fans of the “Imaginations...” era, while “Road
of No Release” is a more logical successor of the musical direction of “A Twist in the Myth
”. The abovementioned “Ride into Obsession
” got under my skin because of the uncommon for Guardian
rhythm section and the thick, vigorous sound.
While we’re on it, now’s the time to mention the great sound of the drums – the entire production is once again on a very high level, to say the least. After that three-songs-long attack, the tempo gets tranquilized with “Curse
My Name” which has beautiful Irish elements and which actually is a direct conceptual follower of the classic “The Bard’s Song”. In “Valkyries” and “Control the Divine” the rhythm is raised once again and while the first has a varied, loaded with different sounds musical structure with a lot of choral vocals and epic mood, “Control the Divine” is a fairly oldschool track, but while reading this cliché you shouldn’t imagine your favorite song from the late 80’s, but pure metal, transferring that cherished by many fans atmosphere into the year of 2010. Blind Guardian
started their quest into the progressive metal universe a long time ago, but namely in songs such as “Control the Divine” and the first single “A Voice
in the Dark
” they successfully manage to shake off the pretentiousness of the sound, achieving their goal quite spontaneously and in an original manner. Actually, “A Voice
in the Dark
”, just like “Ride into Obsession
”, undoubtedly carry along the spirit of “Imaginations…”, provoking a smile of joy under the sound of those favorite multi-recordedly layed down solo guitars of Andre Olbrich. By default, I can’t help but congratulate Hansi for his inspired performance in all tracks in this new album; he finally managed to fulfill his personal dream and write a tribute to the great “Wheel
of Time” fantasy epos – the homonymous closing song (again 9 min. long) puts an end to one of the most varied and enriched from a listener’s point of view albums of the Guardians
. Heavily melodic, with a lot symphonic interludes and full with Eastern parts, “The Wheel
…” is the inevitable culmination itself; if there was ever something negative I found in any of the previous tracks, this one song makes me to forget it all, get done with the review already and just listen to one of the major grand hits the band ever recorded.
To cut it short, “At the Edge of Time” is an album which needs mostly “time” to get to the “edge”, therefore I recommend you to listen carefully minimum 10 times in order to rationalize at least a considerable part of “what the hell do the band want to say with this record”. All I can say on this stage after a week full of spins is that the album will hardly disappoint fans of each period of the musical development of Blind Guardian
and might just turn into the next step towards their recognition among the ranks of the top metal bands in a universal scale.