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Thank God this happened come 2010 - 90%

rapps, December 13th, 2012

I'll just get straight to the point here, I love this album and what a friggin reilef too! Blind Guardian has been a fav of mine for about 6 years now ever since discovering that "A Night at the Opera" was (in my opinion) a brain fart on the radar of a lengthy career. Unfortunately, that album was my first BG experience after hearing about them for so long and how good they are. I hated that album but it was easily forgiven after I eventually sat back with a beer one night and sampled their back catalogue. I ended up damn near spilling that beer with what I heard and since then I have loved these guys...their older stuff though.

So, I then hard to stay current but following "A Night at the Opera" 4 years later we got turned around and again kicked in the balls with one of those pointed toe bitch boots with "A Twist In the Myth" a different album than the last, yes, but nonetheless boring as hell other than "Fly", a catchy enough tune but the album offered nothing else at all otherwise. Damn it then, for a fan of the older BG the natural assumption then was that these guys have lost it so forget it now and just keep to the back catalogue and enjoy.

For this reason is why "At the Edge of Time" breathes a huge sigh of relief in that it offers a little of everything that made BG great throughout the years, for better or worse, depending on what era you prefer of course. Now see, this would actually be the perfect album for someone joining the BG scene fashionably late to listen to in order to gauge this band's full monty and take from it what they will rather than my inadvertent backwards approach that cost me years of great listening thanks to that damn "A Night at the Opera". Specifically though "At the Edge of Time" is a rejuvenating listen for a fan like me who so desperately wanted like hell a re-living of the speed, grit and, well, metal music in general. No more of this side-show shit.

So, for those who dig the (ahem...boring) ballad and folksy type sound that BG defers to at times (The Bard's Song - In the Forest is one of the most boring songs I have ever listened to) then you have "Curse My Name" and "War of the Thrones" to enjoy from this album. Personally, it is because of these two songs why I dropped the bid to 90% for the review. Now please, take my opinion here with a grain of salt as I know that there will be those who will spill their own beer (or whatever your tonic) when reading this because of their "love" for those two songs and the Bard's Song (I have seen the live footage where every person in the crowd sings every word to the Bard's song in a festive few minutes of kumbaya so I am aware of how unpopular my opinion here will be to some). But, to those who know what I mean about craving the earlier stuff that doesn't urge you to hold your girlfriend's hand then the fact that my review is essentially 100% without those two ballads might give you a good idea of what you are getting here in a modern sense with "At the Edge of Time".

With that said and out of the way, being a fan of the earlier stuff it would be no surprise that the tunes from "At the Edge of Time" that hit me right in the face are Sacred Worlds, Tanelorn, Ride Into Obsession, Valkyries and Control the Divine to a slightly lesser extent. For some reason "A Voice in the Dark" just doesn't hit that mark with me even though it features everything I have ever enjoyed about BG from the earlier years but doesn't get skipped because it is still bad ass in its own way. "Road of No Release" is quite enjoyable too because I like the piano intro and Hansi carries his chorus quite nicely in that one and I love that guy.

Which leads me to my final point and the only other noticeable difference on this album which is in the vocal delivery. It is still great and Hansi will always be better than most in this department even if/when he reaches 80 years old but his voice is losing its steam and he ends up delivering on this album with a slightly more of a raspier sound. Interestingly, this does not diminish the product at all but rather I find that it almost adds an aging maturity that is suitable after 20 plus years on the job. This is what a talented lead man will inevitably end up creating over time so really what I am pointing out in this case can be considered a tribute to one of metal's best vocalists. Still, it makes me wonder how many albums BG (or Hansi) physically have left in the tank moving forward especially considering the piss and vinegar this entire band was fueled with back in the late 80's and early 90's which has to take it's toll even on the great ones.