Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Delivering the goods - 84%

Thiestru, July 20th, 2010

Blind Guardian have been on a roll with their release times, haven't they? With four-year intervals between albums ever since 'Nightfall in Middle-Earth', they can't exactly be called prolific, but what the hell, as long as the music is still strong.

And if this single is any indication, it certainly is.

I, like many fans out there, have missed Blind Guardian's older, faster style for a while now. There's nothing (much) wrong with 'A Twist in the Myth' and 'A Night at the Opera', but the old aggression was definitely lacking. It seems that, for at least one song, Blind Guardian has brought that aggression back. 'A Voice in the Dark' hearkens back to the glorious albums they released in the '90s, featuring a quick overall tempo, thrashing rhythm guitars, soaring melodies, and lyrical yet shredding solos. This is how they were meant to sound - this is awesome.

And how about Hansi's voice? The man's been singing heavy metal for at least 25 years now, and yet his voice shows no signs of decay. (For an example of the opposite story, see: Geoff Tate.) His vocals are still gravelly yet supremely melodic, and his range actually seems to be expanding as he gets older (listen to those high harmonies!).

Time isn't slowing down Andre Olbrich or Marcus Siepen either; it's been some time since I heard them play with such energy. The rhythm guitar is more prominent than it has been in over eight years, and the lead guitar remains flawless. Seriously, give me a Blind Guardian solo over just about any other band in metal. They don't just serve as a release of energy in the middle of the song, they tell their own story, introducing little melodies, developing them, and tying them into the context of the overall song, all while feeling every bit as spontaneous and fun as any chaotic thrash solo. I've always loved that.

Frederik Ehmke continues to perform admirably on the drums; I would not guess that he's a relatively new addition to the group if I didn't already know it. Also, the other little things he brings, like the bagpipe solo in the middle of 'You're the Voice', are really nice touches.

Speaking of 'You're the Voice', it's a good cover, just as well-done as any other they've done, but I don't expect to listen to it much. Furthermore, I'd have preferred another original song, preferably one that won't be on the full album, and for that reason I must dock some points. 'War of the Thrones' is yet another great 'medieval ballad' by the Bards, sounding similar to 'A Past and Future Secret' and 'Skalds and Shadows' while being a bit more complex and involved than either; if track two were an original song on a level with the first and last songs, we'd have a damn near perfect single.

Lastly, the production is the best they've had in over a decade. 'A Twist in the Myth' had a rather artificial, modern, glossy sheen that bugged me, and 'A Night at the Opera' was just too dense, but this time they got it right. The rhythm section is heavy and natural-sounding, the vocals and lead guitar are clear and just loud enough, and basically the whole thing just wins.

So should you get this? If you're already a fan, my answer is yes, absolutely. If you're new to Blind Guardian, you're probably better off just waiting for 'At the Edge of Time' (but whose first purchase by a band is a single, anyway?). For my part, I'm extremely happy with what I'm hearing from these guys, and if 'A Twist in the Myth' was a slight departure for them, then with 'A Voice in the Dark' I feel confident in saying: they're back.