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Recorded two and a half years after the legendary Helloween EP, Blind Guardian truly proved themselves with this invincible speed metal attack. It takes all of the standard elements set by the latter and blends them into a unique form of brute, yet melodious, mind-blowing Metal. Everything is perfect on this LP. Hansi does an excellent job. His voice is really clean and euphonic, and is nowhere near as rough as Kai’s. And what about ferocious shrieks? There’s plenty to find. The rhythm section is nice and tight, featuring solid bass work that is actually audible, precise drumming, and ear-blistering double bass. Yet the guitars are without a doubt the highlight of the album. Marcus und André deal out deadly riffs that’ll slice you to bits before you can fathom a thought. And their leads are absolutely the best. They have an unparalleled style that takes the brilliance of Glenn Tipton and Kai Hansen, and then takes it up a level or two.
After a short intro (don’t be alarmed, it’s a requirement for a Speed Metal release) it kicks off with Majesty, a fierce 7 and a half minute track that greatly shows how Metal euphoria sounds. Catchiness is an understatement. You can’t help but singing along, even if you don’t know the lyrics. Along with Hansi’s melodic vocals, there are many vicious riffs to headbang to, solos, and FUCKING SOLOS! Holy Shit! There’s enough trills to suffocate a domesticated horse! You can’t start an album with a better song. It’s simply not possible. A short burst of drumming and then Guardian Of The Blind continues with more of those speedy, skull-crushing riffs. It has a very nice chorus, which is followed by an extraordinary solo. Man, that’s how Metal ought to sound.
Trial By The Archon is an excellent instrumental. A couple of grade-A quality riffs with outstanding solos enhance this short one. It accurately shows the intense excellence of Blind Guardian’s lead work. Plus, it serves as an opener to the next song…Halloween, er Wizard's Crown. This is just as incredibly catchy as Majesty. Everyone does a godly performance. The riffs are real harmonious and bone-crushingly heavy. It’s so damn simple, but it definitely stands out among this LP of classics. The last minute is from Trial By The Archon, which makes repetition extremely better. More breath-taking trills end this hell-of-a-track. Pure bliss!
Run For The Night has great verses and chorus. Memorable riffs and a flashy solo uphold this streak of unadulterated Speed Metal.
Martyr! We’re following you. Bless us for eternity. This is unquestionably one of the choice cuts; it’s raw, evil, and shreds immensely. The savage riffs will devastate you to no end. And of course more impressive solos, you can never have too much of that. Tons of aggressive passages really display Hansi’s distinct vocals to his best. Even just judging by the lyrics, Martyr is a superior gem. Much like the previous, the title track is furious and raw. Just check out that verse riff, pure headbanging fury. The rest of it doesn’t let down a bit. Sonic drum pounding is much more dominant here, and there’s classic riffs up the ass. The bridge and chorus are among the best of all time. And you must pay homage to that ethereal solo. Damn! Is that a mortal playing that, ‘cause it could give God a worthy challenge.
By The Gates Of Moria has tight riffs that accompany the superb lead work. It’s unbelievable how they pull it off with such precision. Sloppy Kerry King wanking bullshit this is far from. The album ends with yet another instrumental, Gandalf’s Rebirth. This actually has a great solo with lots of technical skill. If you love predominant guitar excellence, then you shouldn’t give a shit about all the instrumentals.
There you have it, the perfect Speed Metal album of all time. This baby is carved in stone, right above the Helloween EP. Every single second is memorable. You can’t be left unsatisfied. It’s decked out with a typical Speed Metal rhythm section (which means exceedingly excellent) and guitar work that even smother the Gods themselves, Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing. Stellar music with outstanding fantasy-tinged lyrics and a unique set of vocals really sets this far from the rest of Metal bands. It’s odd song patterns make it never old. If you’re a fan of Metal (which of course you are. Why else would you be reading this and this site?) then you absolutely NEED this album.