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Overall, this album has good music on it; the new age of Blind Guardian is here, and it's going along well. However, there are a number of problems I see with this particular single, probably the first of which is the version of Skalds and Shadows. Why do an acoustic version of an already fairly light on its feet song? It's not bad, but it's a bit pointless. One of the other major problems with the album is the length of In A Gadda Da Vida; they could've done this song the way it originally was, with around 20 minutes of 60's musical perfection, but instead opted for only around 3 minutes, which considering the genre, is nothing. Also, they didn't put too much of their own spin on it -- it's played with great abilities and a fair amount of power, but there's not much to Hansi's voice in this song. Really, it could either be that it's just not a very good cover for them, or that the song just wasn't right. Of course, this album has the obvious redeeming quality of having Fly as its first track; it's a great one, too. Problem is it's overshadowed by the generally poor quality of the other two songs.
Overall, I'd say don't buy this, just buy A Twist In Myth, as this is a waste of money. It could have been much better if they'd done a better cover and maybe used Dead Sound of Misery as another track, seeing as it's Fly's sister song. But that's just my two cents on the matter, it's up to you to decide in the end.
Fly is another of Blind Guardian's many singles, dropped far in advance of the release of its corresponding LP (A Twist in the Myth), and perhaps wisely, as it was the first real buzz about the band since their Live album and Through the Looking Glass DVD, the first new material in years. While the album was not due until September of 2006, this single came out in February, so the fans were left to simmer in its glories for a little over six months, though other teasers were offered online before the fateful full-length. Like most CD singles, Fly features both album and non-album material, three tracks in total in under 13 minutes.
"Fly" is one of the catchier songs from A Twist in the Myth, a tribute to Peter Pan. Granted, this is based more on the film Finding Neverland and it's message of believing in one's abilities; but still, something about the thought of Pete's tights and Tinkerbell in the hands of a German power metal band has my heart bursting with awkward, nervous laughter. The song itself is quite good, carefully developing its momentum with an inspirational chorus that more than honors its source material, and if you can close your eyes and imagine this track is about something else...anything else, then you'll probably dig it. Though the material doesn't fall far from A Night at the Opera, you can already hear hints at an even more accessible Blind Guardian, with a hard rocking vibe right down the center (which coincidentally would be carried forward to their next single).
The single also contains an acoustic version of "Skalds and Shadows". The album version features a more powerful chorus, but otherwise this doesn't differ greatly. The lyrics here once again feel rather self-referential to the whole bard culture that Blind Guardian propagates, but when someone utters the word 'skald' I simply perk up. The track reminds me a lot of "The Bard's Song (In the Shadows)", which I didn't like, so you can imagine this one runs straight through me like cranberry juice through a kidney. The last track of the three is a cover of Iron Butterfly's "In a Gadda Da Vida", which has already seen a treatment via Slayer and just about every blues or cover rock band across seven continents. I can't say that Blind Guardian's version offers me much to come back for, but at least they transform it into an epic composition that suits their style.
As for the value of the Fly single, there is simply little left now that A Twist in the Myth has been out forever. The Iron Butterfly track is the only reason one might spin this, as the "Skalds and Shadows" version here simply doesn't live up to that of the album.
So, there's three songs on this single. Fly, Skalds and Shadows, and a cover of the Iron Butterfly song In A Gadda Da Vida. Each of these is very solid, and it was a great introduction to the continuously progressing Blind Guardian sound.
Fly is the best example of this evolution of the Blind Guardian sound. It's certainly got traits of their 90s style, but there's something different. It's a bit more progressive. And the drums are a bit weird here because of some of more unusual parts of the drumset that are (if my suspicions are correct) made of wood. And this is good, because it seperates it from the rest of the metal world, and keeps it from being "just another Blind Guardian song." The next song however, is a lot like their older stuff. Specifically, the The Bards Song. And I actually like this song more than the Bard Song. The vocals are far better, and what sparse drumming there is, is used well. The cymbals come in at just the right moment to add that epic feeling. And despite the clear similarities to The Bards Song, this manages to be unique enough that it fits in with newer Blind Guardian material, making it work well with Fly. And finally, we have the cover of In A Gadda Da Vidda. A cool song, and far heavier than anything on this album. It adds a fun and bombastic ending to this single.
I got this CD early on into my Blind Guardian days. Before this CD, I wasn't used to Blind Guardian releases being so clean clean. In fact, I was a little hesitant to listen to it. Once I popped it in though, I was instantly drawn to the catchy intro and the really Progressive-80s rock style to it. After Fly, comes the acoustic version of "Skalds and Shadows". Which, oddly enough, seemed to fit very well after the upbeat "Fly". Although acoustic, it has quite an upbeat melody to it. and also is very relaxing. There is a minimal use of drums in this track, and it gives it a much more "warm" feeling. At the end, the In A Gadda Da Vida cover was always very nice. Blind Guardian covers have always appealed to me because of how they manage to capture the style and feel of the song that they're covering, and yet they manage to leave a very "metalized" touch to it. This track is no exception. Although,I found the vocals to be a little unfitting for the music itself, I thought the track as a whole to be very enjoyable.
All in all, I've had this CD for about three years now and I'm still enjoying listening to it now and then very much. I recommend it for any old-school Power Metal and Traditional Metal fan and definitely for any Blind Guardian fan.
I read a lot of articles in different magazines about the new Blind Guardian single “Fly”. They all said that this is another masterpiece from the German Progressive/Power Metal heroes. I’m a big fan of Blind Guardian but this single is a disaster in comparison with all the other releases.
Obviously the single has a high quality production and a powerful sound. Although this is obviously for Blind Guardian, I have to mention it, because these are (almost) the only positive aspects of the single.
The opening song “Fly” has good Speed and very amazing drumming, but the singing of Hansi Kürsch and the sound of the guitars are extremly weird. Some parts of the song are really good. But than the very unorganized song structures break them up so that it doesn’t seem like one song, more than a medley of indescriminating motley songs. So that’s why you can listen to the song how often you want and it wouldn’t sound better.
The third part on this single, “In A Gadda Da Vida”, is not as good as we all know it from Blind Guardian. The riffing sounds a bit like Metallica on their 90s albums (Load, Reload,...) and Hansi’s voice has not the power and the feeling like in their own songs. (this is a cover from the band Iron Butterfly)
It also has a flair from a happy summertime pop song in the radio. The only highlights are the solo in the midpart and the precision of their new drummer. Nice experiment, but it would have been better not to record this.
The rescue of this single is the second track “Skalds and Shadows”. This is, simply said, a typically Blind Guardian ballad. It has a great atmosphere and Hansi’s voice is just brilliant! It has everything to get another sing along hymn like “The Bard’s Song”. This is truly Blind Guardian and shows why we love their music. Very calm but with much of mysterious power!
The candidate gets 100 points for this!
Final resume: Track one and track three are gaffe, but “Skalds and Shadows” is on top of all and makes you forget the two “mistakes”
After 4 years of waiting, and a rather unfortunately line-up change that left one of the few metal bands to keep it's original fold together so long splintered, Blind Guardian has given us a taste of what is to come for the 2006 release season. Unlike what many have suggested, I have few questions and most of the answers that I'm looking for, and that is how the line-up change would affect the band.
Frederik Ehmke is pretty much a carbon copy of Thomen Stauch in terms of both style and sound, and to this I have absolutely no complaints. You don't mess with perfection by taking on someone with a radically different sound simply for the sake of cutting ties with the past. Stauch didn't see eye to eye with the others on the musical direction of the band, and opted to create his own band, and now we have 2 bands that have a somewhat similar sound, but whom have a very different philosophy about where metal should go. Blind Guardian has opted to paint their sound with a more progressive edge, while Savage Circus seeks to keep the older Speed Metal version of Blind Guardian's past alive. Both of these approaches are correct in my view, as they help to continue to both grow and keep the genre centered, and I am actually glad that things turned out as they did.
The songs on here represent the dual nature of the studio album that would soon follow, one that is in my top 3 for the best release of 2006. "Fly" represents the further expansion of the progressive sound that first appeared on "A Night at the Opera", complete with a very processed sounding production and loads of contrasting musical sections. "Skalds and Shadows" is, by contrast, a revisiting of the classic ballad approach that made "A Past and Future Secret" an instant classic. This version lacks many additional textural dressings that would appear on the album version, but is a pleasant, quasi-Blackmore's Night ballad that keeps the spirit of BG's Middle Earth sound alive.
The cover song "In a Gadda Da Vida" is, surprisingly, the highlight of this single. I used to be a huge fan of the original Iron Butterfly song before getting into Metal, and I can confidently say that I prefer this version to the original. It's more time compressed, and consequently less boring, and given a good healthy does of BG style guitar harmonizing. André Olbrich is still tearing up the fret board with the best of them, and his wah pedal dominated solo on here gives this song a slightly Jimi Hendrix character.
In conclusion, this is a great single that is worthy of picking up even if you already have "A Twist in the Myth" in your collection. The Iron Butterfly cover, alone, is worth the few bucks to pic it up, and I suspect the next compilation of BG rarities will not be coming out for quite a while.
Blind Guardian's new single easily sums up both the best and the worst of this band, containing three songs: the heavily progressive title track, the acoustic ballad, and the (rare) cover. Had the single included the last two tracks only, it would have received 100% from me, but the flaws of 'Fly' mark it down.
The song 'Fly', the first recording with BG's new drummer, is so heavy with effects that, were it not for Hansi's distinctive voice, I would not have recognized the band. It is progressive and a huge step forward for them, but if there was such a thing as being too progressive, this would be a perfect example. Almost every second there is some unneeded effect that does not improve the song in the least. It's different from the over-orchestrated Night at the Opera in that it doesn't have a whole orchestra playing behind it, but the music becomes too full of unnecessary sounds that in some ways it loses the power that BG accomplished with their early albums, when all there was was guitars, drums, and voice (only one voice, back then). Now for the better parts: The chorus is excellent, and the guitar solo is good. The lyrics should have been put to better use, as they are inspirational and well-written. In the parts of the song that are free of effects, you can hear a little of the old sound of the band, but not much. The only conclusion I can draw from this is simply that some parts of the song rock hard, and some suck hard, and I am not sure what to expect of the upcoming album.
'Skalds and Shadows': now this is what Blind Guardian is about! An acoustic ballad to rival 'The Bard's Song', it makes up for whatever the single lost on 'Fly'. This is what they were meant to do, and I am glad to see that even with the prog-fest of 'Fly', they are still able to produce a more-than-high-quality song. Skalds and Shadows only improves with the references to Norse mythology (the Volsunga saga), which has not been seen in BG music since the masterpiece 'Valhalla'. This one is near-perfect, and the lyrics ("songs I will sing, of runes and rings") sum up everything that is great about this band.
'In a gadda da Vida" is the last song I would have expected BG to cover, but it ends being an interesting example of what happens when you take a 70s acid-rock tune and translate it into speed metal. The result is entertaining, to say the least. As it will not appear on the upcoming album, I dont think it was intended to be taken entirely seriously. But whatever, its good fun, and a chance for the new drummer to prove his worth.
In conclusion, this single leaves me with mixed expectations for the new album. At points while listening to 'Fly', I had to fight the urge to turn it off and play the good old songs off of Battalions of Fear or Nightfall in Middle-earth, which single-handedly made this band one of my favorites. Its important for bands to progess and take steps forward, but they should keep in mind that if they found a sound that worked and owned and kicked ass (and most importantly, fucking rocked), they should try to preserve some of it. All I can say about the new album is that I'm hoping for a return to the sound of 'Nightfall' and 'Somewhere far Beyond', and the things that established BG as the kings of Power Metal.
So, here we have the latest single from Blind Guardian. The large gap between this single and the upcoming album makes this single the only thing we'll get to know from the album for a long time (the reason for that, by the way, is that Hansi caught a flu and hence couldn't continue the recording of the album. However, since the single was already done by then, the band has decided not to delay its scheduled release). The only real glimpse of what Blind Guardian are cooking in their musical pot is the title track, since the other 2 songs are an acoustic ballad and a cover.
The way I see it, after hearing the negative opinions on the last album and with Thomen (the former drummer) leaving the band, Blind Guardian have decided to go back and try a slighltly different path. I can't say I'm pleased, since in my opinion, on their last two albums Blind Guardian have reached new musical heights - for themselves and for the world of metal alike - and I would want to see them continue their progression in that direction. However, I seem to be in a serious minority with this opinion.
The song Fly shows Blind Guardian returning to the more straightforward style of the 90s but with a lot of goofing with electronics and various effects. Personally, I'm not really fond of such effects and don't think they add any depth to the song. They don't really bother eventually, though, and overall the song is very good power metal, much like what we've come to expect from Blind Guardian, and the acoustic bridge is especially sweet and sounds great. The song is not astonishing, and I do hope to see better material on the upcoming album, but it's still very promising and shows that Blind Guardian still have a lot to show and new paths to explore.
The second song is Skalds and Shadows - the semi-mandatory acoustic ballad in the vein of The Bard's Song (In the Forest) and A Past and Future Secret. It's very sweet, well done and played, and it is as if we're being conveyed the message of "don't worry, we're still the good old Blind Guardian". The acoustic version of this song featured on the single will appear on it only - the album will instead offer us this song played with an orchestra. We shall see, we shall see. Meanwile, this acoustic version is great on its own right.
The last song on the single is In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, a cover of Iron Butterfly. Before the release of the single, Blind Guardian said that while they liked stoner music, they'd turned the song into a speed metal tune. Metal? Yes. Speed? Hell no. Amazingly, they've managed to make this song sound even more doped than the original did, and this already deserves noting. However, I feel the song lost a lot from being cut down from 17:02 to 3:37. Expectedly, they took only the main part (I'm not really sure if it can be called a chorus), while removing all the instrumental ones. I believe the cover would've gained a lot if it'd be at least 8-10 minutes long, since the way it is, it's almost an insult to the original. Not that the 3 minutes are bad, they are in fact quite an interesting listen once you get used to the vocals - but just imagine someone taking ...And Then There Was Silence and turning it into a 3 minute song.
Finally, a word about the new drummer: while Thomen Stauch remains one of my favourite drummers, Frederik Ehmke does a great job too, and sometimes it's quite hard to tell that the drummer has changed. I have the feeling though that the electronic effects on Fly were mainly his idea, albeit maybe it's just me.
In conclusion, the single leaves us with high expectations for the upcoming album, so let's hope they'll be meeted.
The long awaited Blind Guardian single is finally here.
And so, as a one of many BG fans I acquired it to hear what will be going on when they release the full length album. Will they choose the way of Night At the Opera, or go back to earlier albums like Imaginations from the Other Side, or Somewhere Far Beyond?
After hearing this single for about 5 times I still don't have one and only opinion on new Blind Guardian work. I would not mention here leaving of Thomen, as on the "Fly" there are not enough tracks to fully hear is it really a great loss. So far - new drummer does his work and does it very good.
So what about "Fly" itself? At first hearing it's... weird. Very weird.
I've listened to the title track for the first time I thought to myself "what the hell is that crappy intro?" FOrtunately as the song went on It gets better and better. However, I'd rather see that one on some Demons & Wizards album, as the guitars sometimes sound similar to those known from D&W and also Hansi sings in the D&W manner. At least at times. Apart from that I found those additional effects like snares and so on a bit annoying. Especially in the chorus part ("No one ever dares to speak(...)") when they sound a bit out of place. But as usual the lyrics are very good and "Fly" has some very catchy parts. And, after hearing that one I was convinced that their new album will go rather into A Night at the Opera direction.
Overally - a good Blind Guardian piece, although a bit bending into D&W style.
Then we have acoustic version of Skalds and Shadows. (So I can suppose that if that's an acoustic version we may expect another arrangement of that track on the full album...?) Here will be not much to say. A typical Blind Guardian ballad and that should be the best recomenndation. But anyway :) Very much like Bard's Song (in the forest). Although not as good as their ballad masterpiece it is still very pleasant to hear. Very medieval feeling and a large variety of instruments gives it great atmosphere. You can really feel like sitting around the fire in the deep forest.
And finally an Iron Butterfly "I-a-gadda-da-vida" cover. I must say that it's not quite worth recomennding. Average to say the least. I haven't heard the original, but after that cover - I somehow don't even want to. Simply - that song doesn't appeal to me, and as it's a cover anyway - it won't tell much about BG's new album.
To conclude - a long awaited single, brings more questions and is not a complete answer to "what will be the new album like?"
So far it is a good blend of "old" BG, ANatO style and some D&W feeling. Strange mixture. And yet very fascinating. It makes me want to hear their new album even more than before...
Finally, at long last, its here. New candy for my ears. The latest single by the mighty Blind Guardian. I'm going to just jump into it...
This is definitly the direction I would think Guardian would go to. A slight return to their older style circa the Imaginations era, while still maintaining the song structure and vibe of A Night at the Opera. Personally, I am glad that they stopped "over saturating" the vocals. It definitly allows his true voice to come through better without heres a million choruses and whatnot.
Good guitar riffage going on. Definitly some things I have never heard before from ANY band, so good job Andre and Marcus. Drum wise, I often forgot it wasn't Thomen. The new guy definitly does a good job keeping up the power and feel that should be expected in a BG release.
Listener Beware: 1:10-1:30 will get INGRAINED into your mind. ("No one ever dares to speak...") I haven't been able to stop humming that lyrical line.
All in all a great new Blind Guardian tune and hopefully a small sample of what their upcomming full album will offer.
2.) Skalds and Shadows (Acoustic)
First off, I am a huge fan of this sort of melodic folk stuff, (sort of in the realm of Ensiferum) so this stuff is like liquid crack pumped directly into my veins. Classic acoustic Guardian here folks: flutes, tambourine, the whole medieval array of tones and textures. Sort of makes you wish you lived back in the Dark Ages, although it's been fairly romanticized... Anyway, this should give all the other acoustic BG favorites (Bard's Song, A Past and Future Secret, Lord of the Rings, etc.) a run for their money. Good production, good lyrics. Personally I think Hansi could have choosen some better words here and there, but hey, who am I disagree...
3.) In a Gadda Da Vida (Iron Butterfly Cover)
When I first heard that they were covering this song I was pumped. I was significantly more pumped when I listened to it. They did an excellent job preserving the feel of the original version while adding their own twist to the classic. Some people I know have given me crap about how the vocals sound, but I feel Hansi did a great job recreating the original vibe.
Finally, their new CD single is within my clutches. This is the first review on this site and I'm telling you that any Blind Guardian fan will worship every second of this new CD single.
After Thomen Stauch left the band, some of you might be asking whether they're still good or went to the crap side of metal. Fear not Blind Guardian fans, they are back with more focus like old good days.
About the musicians, Hansi, as usual, has a very uniques style of vocals but on this one, it's quite different in a way, but it is still very powerful and enjoyable. Andre is one crazy lead guitarist which makes great performance on the 3 songs especially the melodic solo section on Fly. Marcus displays some powerful rhythms that are so catchy. Then, we have the new dude, Frederik, the guy has lots of potential and I am impressed by his perormance. His drumming is fast and furious just like Thomen and he'll impress any Blind Guardian fan just like me.
Onto the songs now:
Fly: It is a typical Blind Guardian song that is as catchy and happy as fuck. The song is very very good and makes anyone's head fly with headbanging. The guitar melodies are beautiful and the guitar solo in the middle is very happily glorious. The chorus begins mellow and then it explodes to an amazing typical Blind Guardian song.
Skalds and Shadows (Acoustic version): It is a typical Blind Guardian ballad in the league of The Bard's Song (In The Forest) and A Past And Future Secret. The medieval style music that is very catchy just like the other Guardian's classic ballads. The use of different instruments like keyboards and flutes does give a beautiful atmosphere throughout the song. It's short but sweet.
In A Gadda Da Vida (Iron Butterfly cover): It is a very good cover, however, I haven't heard the original version by Iron Butterfly, but it's good. It begins like a Western style music then it explodes to great Power Metal song. Hust wait for the middle part, Andre unleashes his power with an amazing guitar solo.
All in all, I'm very impressed and I have a feeling that I'm not going to get disappointed with their new release. Yup, this CD single deserves this grade. Blind Guardian had never disappointed me throughout their great career. The new 2 songs by them got me convinced that I am in for an amazing album. Can't fucking wait.
Blind Guardian is still my all time favrotie band. Period.