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Blind Guardian is one of the most famous power metal bands to ever crawl out of the ground of the earth and they are quite often considered to be one of the best in their genre and sometimes, one of the best of all time. People who are super drawn in by the power metal genre might sometimes develop a curiosity to look into the band's roots and find themselves surprised and possibly even a little bit frightened due to what their ears pick up. This is actually pretty different when compared to what the band is mostly known for doing. During the band's early days, at which time they were known as "Lucifer's Heritage". They changed their name in the year 1987, due to the fact that there was quite a large a large amount of people who had found themselves under the perceptive assumption that they had been a band playing in the black metal genre. This here demo tape (along with their first one from 1985, which was called "Symphonies Of Doom") were being placed with tapes and records by Bathory, Poison (the black metal one from Germany), Vulcano, etc. The band was actually a melodic speed metal band, however, they were quite thrashy. Listeners can very much tell when listening to this that there are influences from bands such as Testament, Kreator and what Metallica was at the time (although this would go even further with the album, "Follow The Blind").
The first track on the demo is everybody's favorite, "Majesty". It's a fast-paced, energetic and aggressive (yet epic and melodic). With lyrics dealing with the Lord of the Rings character, Frodo, this one does not fuck around by any means and if it did, it would greatly drag the song down. Sure, it isn't quite as fast as the album version, but it's still entertaining as hell. Then there's the instrumental, "Trial By The Archon" which is half a key lower than the album version, as is the rest of the music here. This one surprisingly sounds better in E-flat than it does in standard E tuning and I really like the album version, so I definitely didn't expect to enjoy this one any more than it. I don't like "Run For The Night" as much as I like the album version. It seems a lot less focused, it doesn't have the amazing vocal performance as Hansi gave forth on the album. I still enjoyed it quite a bit, just not quite as much as I did the album version. Not everything is always perfect when it is compared to something else. But not as much was expected here anyway.
The production is not nearly as clean as the studio album, but I think that it works. It is a very raw production, but it's echoed sound gives the demo a bit more of an epic and feeling (for the majority of the time). Even if you don't like it, you can't be too hard on it, as it is just a self-released demo tape from the mid-fucking-nineteen-eighties. Production isn't always everything, now is it? The music matters more than anything else on an album. Luckily, I do not even have to worry about anything, as it is my opinion that the production is for 90% of the time perfectly appropriate and perfectly charismatic for the music. If there is a complaint that I have to make, it that "Gandalf's Rebirth" got slightly draggy for only but a few moments. Also, "Run For The Night" doesn't sound quite as nice as it does in standard E tuning. Everything else is perfect. If that track had been replaced and the slightly boring parts of "Gandalf's Rebirth" had been cut, this would have gotten a 100%.
This demo was absolutely surprising to me. Sure, "Symphonies Of Doom" was a bit more raw, but it was also a bit sloppier and it was not quite as well-structured as this or the album. That was why most of the songs from there didn't make it to the album. The album has just as much good to say about it, maybe even a bit more. But there is also a bit more filler on there. That album will definitely get an above 90% rating from me as well, just not quite as high as this. This is quite easily one of the best pieces of self-released material that I have ever subjected to my personal listening pleasure.
Blind Guardians first release “Battalions of Fear” is great, one of Guardians best. Before Blind Guardian the bands name was Lucifer’s Heritage, and getting my hands on this demo was quite a treat. It has four tracks from the BG album “Battalions of Fear” with one not on the original release. This demo is amazing. The songs are actually better. Production isn’t much better; In fact, it’s as bad as most demos sound. Compared to the original album, the songs sound better because of it. Hansi Kurcsh’s vocals are fantastic. The screeches he can pull off here are phenomenal. “Majesty” is the best on here, with a carnival sound intro that lets into speed power metal perfection. The riff here rules and the overpowering bass works well here. The overproduced bass makes the song more efficient. “Run for the Night” closes out this fantastic demo, this song is one of Guardian’s best and it’s a shame they never play it live, and once again it’s better on this demo!
Any fan of Blind Guardians earlier releases must check this out, you will not be disappointed. I wish their first release sounded more like this!