without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
(Originally posted by me to the Metal Music Archives: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/)
Since there are people going around claiming that Blind Guardian is the only power metal band that you can wear a shirt bearing their logo and still get laid, I had to go ahead and buy this album (for around 5 or 6 dollars) at a used CD store. What I can tell you now is that I ended up being less than impressed. Nightfall in Middle-Earth promises a whole, literal fantasy landscape and ends up throwing the listener a book (almost literally with the ridiculous liner notes) and telling them to work off that.
I'll start off with what irks me the most about this album: interludes! Too many fucking interludes! They take up around seven minutes of this album and occur right after almost all the real songs on here. They are totally unnecessary and totally unwanted. I thought this was supposed to be power metal, not German time waste! Hansi Kürsch, if you wanted to bow to Tolkien so badly and convince others to do the same, you shouldn't have put such useless filler in. In fact, stupid shit like "The Minstrel" makes me want to do the exact opposite. "What will be next? I still don't have a clue." Go to hell.
However, there are some really good tunes to be heard among the actual songs. There's excellent songs here with catchy hooks and well crafted variations. When Blind Guardian get it right, they really produce some valuable pieces of gold. "The Curse of Feanor" and "Mirror Mirror" are some awesome fast-paced licks, and "Nightfall" is a pretty epic if you're looking for a slower piece. There is one song here though that really annoys me: "Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns)". You know those slow power metal ballads that nobody really likes? This is by-far one of the worst ones I've listened to. I know these types of songs are supposed to be emotional and whatnot, but this is just unnecessary overkill.
And there are also songs like "Blood Tears" and "Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)" that are just okay. It's in songs like these that Hansi's voice gets grating, wearing out my enthusiasm. With the interludes added alongside, the album seems to get old faster than it really should. The Middle Earth vibe that seemed intriguing at first ultimately became too much for me and had me looking for something decidedly less nerdy by the end of the album.
There are single songs or parts of songs that were really good in this album, but ultimately this isn't worth getting if you're just a casual power metal fan. There's plenty of power metal material out there (including other albums by Blind Guardian) that isn't as tiring as 'Nightfall in Middle-Earth'. Go find them instead.