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Developing from the opposite end of the spectrum - 80%

TrooperEd, April 23rd, 2018
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Century Media Records (Remastered)

Most speed metal bands work their way down from their fast tempos for the first couple of albums before breaking out the acoustic ballad for the fifth or sixth album (and possibly an attempt at going pop). Tales from the Twilight World dumps Lord of the Rings on us around the fourth track, which was exactly where the much slower title track for the previous album was unveiled to us. Plus, this was in 1990, when the only thing most people knew about that Tolkien tale was that it was a series of books and that there was a so bad its good cartoon movie about it. Not exactly the lyrical subject you want to go for to pull in Connie's cheerleader clique.

The song itself is a fine piece of work, though if you've ever seen or heard it live, you'll know its not quite the final form. Live, the band further refined the song to be fully acoustic, as well as add a few extra vocal passages which are fun to sing-along, but man I do miss that electric soloing at 0:56 and 2:33. Especially since the latter is the perfect set-up to the release of that bounce swinging attack of that final chorus.

The rest of the album is the same speed metal insanity as the previous two records, albeit with a few more noticeable time changes and more pronounced melodies, both guitar and vocally. Choice Tony Award winners for song of the year include Lost In The Twilight Hall, which features an encore appearance from Kai Hansen, both guitar and vocally; Tommyknockers is stupidly fun-catchy (in that it sounds really dumb, but you can't help but chant it regardless) in the way that Blind Guardian (and most power metal) usually is, and Traveller In Time certainly lets you know what tempo you're going to be listening to for most of this record. Speed metal is fun and all, but the monotony of the tempo amongst so many tracks makes it less interesting. Bathory's Hammerheart is on the complete opposite side of the speed spectrum, and that's more varying and compelling snapshot of swords and sorcery than this, to say nothing of other classics like Cowboys From Hell, Painkiller and Rust In Peace.

You could make Tales From The Twilight World your first Blind Guardian purchase, particularly if you wanted to watch the band evolve. I suppose it's a slightly more entertaining starting point than Battalions of Fear or Follow The Blind. It's a great album, just don't expect much variety after track 4.

Two eras blended; BG's first truly great album. - 83%

ConorFynes, May 11th, 2015

This will undoubtedly seem like a left-field association for most people, but I can't help but feel there are more similarities between Blind Guardian's Tales from the Twilight World and Death's Spiritual Healing than first impressions would appear to indicate-- certainly to the point where I will often recall one while listening to the other. Both albums were released in 1990, ten months apart from one another, both constitute the third full-length in their respective bands' discographies, and while we're on the topic, it's arguable that both albums are unduly overlooked in the context of later, better-sculpted masterpieces. What really enforced this psychic association however is the common role the albums share in each band's artistic development. Where Spiritual Healing merged Death's primitive origins with a freshly progressive and technical outlook, so the same could be said for Blind Guardian. Tales from the Twilight World represents a unique blend of the band's gritty speed metal with the lavishly arranged prog-power hybrid we know them for. It was Blind Guardian's first truly 'great' album, and though it may sound primitive in the context of what the band have done since, the fusion of eras still makes it a fairly unique statement in their career.

Admittedly, I didn't always feel so warmly towards Tales from the Twilight World, and it wasn't until a more recent revisitation of the album that I realized what I had been missing. In fact, the primitive speed metal grit that turned me off initially about the album is exactly what I like most about it now; particularly from A Night at the Opera onward, Blind Guardian have become increasingly refined in their presentation. Considering the technical demands of their music, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but there's a certain amorphous energy in raw-produced music that Blind Guardian had lost by the time they transitioned completely on their fourth record, Somewhere Far Beyond. On Tales from the Twilight World, Blind Guardian were in the midst of that transition. The album's style has more in common with the progressive trends of later albums. Acoustic arrangements are featured heavily (see: "Lord of the Rings") and some of the albums best tracks highlight increasingly sophisticated songwriting. While "Lost in the Twilight Hall" and "The Last Candle" are both fuelled with the same ravenous speed as the material on Blind Guardian's first two albums, the songwriting is more ambitious in its scope. Even at this relatively early stage, the band had already adopted the 'more is more' approach to their execution; the now-signature vocal arrangements were as complex and lavishly overblown as anything heard in power metal in the day. Of course, any claims to complexity that Tales might claim are dwarfed by the bombastic insanity of A Night at the Opera. Even if Blind Guardian would ascend to ever-more ridiculous heights with their orchestration, the ambition here was considerable, and the retroactive context doesn't serve to hurt that impression.

Although it's safe to call this the first 'modern' Blind Guardian album, the sound and feel of Tales from the Twilight World shares far more in common with Battalions of Fear and Follow the Blind than any well-laboured masterpieces that came afterward. Even if songs like the classic "Lord of the Rings" show them operating with an unprecedented level of musical sophistication, their recording still sounds a significant step away from the standards of the 'big names'-- in hindsight, this limitation is a large part of what gives the album its unique charm. Blind Guardian have never been a slow band by any means, but the growing sophistication would eventually come at the cost of some of their aggression. Fans of the band sometimes forget just how fierce Blind Guardian really were at the start, and though they would have lost part of that energy by the next album, there were no signs of slowing down here; "Traveler in Time" and "Welcome to Dying" sound just as ear-splittingly energetic as anything they did on the first two albums, with the added benefit of improved arrangements. Hansi Kursch had hinted at his now-signature choral overdubs earlier on, but it's only here where the big vocal impressions came full force-- even then, there's still an audible presence of the visceral 'gang shout' in these choruses. Considering that the vast majority of power metal favours a glossy representation, it is powerful to hear those bombastic aspirations performed with a proud coat of grime.

Even if the album doesn't always feel as coherent as Somewhere Far Beyond or Nightfall in Middle-Earth, there is a concentration of excellent songs here that is impossible to ignore. Only a handful of songs on the first two albums compare to the bite of "Traveler in Time", "Welcome to Dying" and "Goodbye My Friend". Simultaneously, their boundaries were expanded with relatively forward-thinking tracks like "Lord of the Rings" and "Lost in the Twilight Hall". For what it's worth, I'm glad I gave this album another chance. It's the work of a band in transition to be sure, but in navigating the evolution from speed to power metal, they created the first in a string of masterpieces that only ended sixteen years later with A Twist in the Myth. Even then, there are some days when I'd argue they're still going as strong.

Fun, sloppy speed metal with a dash of power - 91%

Jophelerx, April 8th, 2012

Tales from the Twilight World has more in common aesthetically with the unambitious, catchy Battalions of Fear than with the more complex, dark and furious Somewhere Far Beyond. That being said, it has significant power metal influences, and shows the beginning of Blind Guardian's progression towards a more complex, more ambitious, more epic sound, as well as the first time they would write songs through premeditated composition rather than band jamming, which is certainly noticeable in the more intricate, yet still relatively simplistic, songwriting.

Unfortunately, Tales isn't exactly the best of both worlds; it's neither as catchy and headbang-able as Battalions of Fear nor as dark and powerful as Somewhere Far Beyond; however, it still succeeds at what it attempts to do. The guitar tone is strong, the melodies are still pretty catchy, and Hansi's voice is good, if not great; his voice is still largely wild and technically poor, which doesn't work as well for a power metal-y album like Tales as it does for one like Battalions. However, it's definitely not bad and works pretty well for the most part, the major exception being the ballad, "Lord of the Rings".

The album can be broken down more or less into two parts: songs that rely more heavily on the speed metal influence, and those that rely more on the power influence. "Goodbye My Friend", "Altair 4", "Lost in the Twilight Hall" and "Tommyknockers" fall into the former category, while "Welcome to Dying", "Traveler in Time" and "The Last Candle" fall into the latter ("Lord of the Rings", as I mentioned earlier, is the oddball of the album as its only ballad).

"Lost in the Twilight Hall" is pretty strong as well, with solid riffing throughout and guest vocals from Kai Hansen, which are hilarious if nothing else. The guitar harmonies here are fantastic, hearkening back to the likes of "Majesty". It creates a pretty strong atmosphere at times, something we'll see from the band more and more in later releases. "Goodbye My Friend" is a darker song that makes use of a slightly worse opening riff that leads into a mediocre verse but a decent chorus. There is some good soloing, but ultimately the song is merely okay. "Altair 4" is a more ambitious number that, unfortunately, falls flat on its face, throwing out several ideas in the span of two and a half minutes that do very little. "Tommyknockers", on the other hand, is a fantastic song, dark and malicious, with some of the best riffs on the album and a killer chorus. Hansi sounds especially fierce here and it's definitely a song you don't want to miss.

"Traveler in Time" starts out with a fun, if not particularly great, riff that leads into a fantastic verse but a mediocre chorus; ultimately "Traveler in Time" is pretty representative of the album as a whole; good but not great. Still, it's definitely worthwhile, although the poor chorus does really bug me. "Welcome To Dying" is another standout track, with an excellent opening riff and guitar work that, with Hansi's vocal lines, work to maintain a strong sense of power throughout the song. The chorus here is especially good, leaving me many times wanting to sing along. "The Last Candle" starts out with an occult-sounding gang chant that explodes into a vicious riff and then some guitar harmonizing to kick off the verse; this is another strong song. The contrast between the warm first half of the verses and the savage second half works well. Additionally, the chorus is pretty damn infectious. However, the best part of the song might be the outro where the two groups of background singers riff off of each other with "Somebody's out there" and "I know there is somebody". It's a great end to a good album.

Finally, we have "Weird Dreams" which is a short, quirky, dissonant instrumental that serves little purpose and is completely skippable; and "Lord of the Rings", which is a well-written ballad with a passable, if less-then-stellar, vocal performance from Hansi. It maintains a pretty enchanting atmosphere, something we really see for the first time from Blind Guardian, which they'll eventually put in the spotlight in albums like Nightfall in Middle-Earth and A Night at the Opera. For their first attempt at a ballad, it really is pretty damn good.

Overall, this isn't their most consistent release nor their most ambitious, but it is a fun album that at times really shines with its guitar harmonies and savage vocal performance from Hansi. Recommended for any fans of Blind Guardian or power metal in general.

The Start of An Unmatched Run. - 90%

Light13, September 19th, 2011

Blind Guardian are apart of the power metal elite, no doubt about it. They where doing classic power metal albums whilst Sonata Arctica where getting their noses rubbed and bottle fed of their mother. The album in question "Tales From The Twilight World" started one of the most godly runs in metal history. This and the three releases after this are all top quality power metal.


This is where Blind Guardian defined their sound. Found their own style and created an amazing power metal album. Blind Guardian had started off well releasing two pretty cool speed/thrash/power albums. But this is just something else compared to them. The album was the first to have that Blind Guardian feel we all love. A lot of multi layering with guitar and vocal tracks. Hansi Kürsch lays down a performance of the gods. Showcasing a lot of power and range when it comes to his choir sections.


The album is mostly filled with power metal double kicking songs, that are quiet fast. The songs are very uplifting and beyond infectious. The vocal melodies will stick in your head after a couple of listens and you will want to revisit this masterpiece more and more. It's very addictive mostly due to it's consistency, no song is a let down and the album is well arranged.


Clocking in at just over forty minutes means the album is perfect for an immediate re listen. The album is easy to digest which is a good thing. Something I find to be the problem with some power metal albums. When they are over an hour long and some songs have a very filler vibe. This is not the case with this record.


The guitar work is a highlight, you can only get what is on display here by listening to Blind Guardian. Calling
André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen guitar masters would be an understatement. Dual guitar attacks that are so unique, displayed in such songs like the epic title track and "Welcome to Dying". The previously mentioned title track has an epic feel in the mid section with a nice use of clean guitars with distortion that gives Hansi a perfect back drop to lay down a powerful vocal performance.


If you are looking to get into power metal this would be a good starting point. It is beyond essential as it is also very innovative. No song is a let down and it is hard to pick highlights. But it would have to be "Welcome To Dying", the title track with its epic arrangement and one of the biggest sounding power metal chorus's in the genre . "The Last Candle" with one of the best guitar harmonies on the album. Displayed at the begging of the song. Don't have this album or listen to this band? Rectify that now.

Blind Guardian Runs Out of Steam - 60%

BotD, June 25th, 2011

Up to this album Blind Guardian had played straightforward speed album of the old school German variety and it worked relatively well. Their first album is chock full of speed metal classics and the second album muddled through with the excellent Banished from Sanctuary and Valhalla. But here there are no songs to elevate the album from speed metal mediocrity.

It's a well-known fact that speed metal albums suffer because of their monotonous adherence to playing fast all the time. It takes a level of brilliance only found on the likes of Walls of Jericho or Scanner's first two albums to keep that pace and not start to bore the listener and even they conceded the point by having a few slower numbers. Unfortunately, Blind Guardian has never been that good and they weren't even at the top of their game here. Yes, they play really fast here but for the most part there are no riffs. Instead your ears will perk up for a moment as the lead guitar comes in at a higher register and plays something interesting to break up the monotony before we get back to more generic speed metal. It's a gimmick that Blind Guardian uses and abuses throughout their discography, but it's no substitute for some good riffs during the verses.

It should also be noted that the leads on this album feel kind of disjointed. For instance the solo section in Welcome to Dying is all over the place, there is no continuity to it and it ends up superfluous to the song.

What saves this album is Kursch who basically carries every song with a great chorus and decent work on the verses. Sadly, this is recurring theme in their later albums as well. Without his unique voice, Blind Guardian would never have been entertained as a first tier power metal band. He brings catchy melodies and emotion to songs that really don't deserve it and he doesn't while breaking the standard power metal vocalist mold. Unfortunately, his great choruses are undermined by Blind Guardian's inability to put anything musically interesting under them. Go listen to Majesty from their first album and tell me that tight under-chorus riff is not a vital complement to Kursch's vocals.

So recommended only for German speed metal or BG fanatics. Otherwise satisfy yourself with the first two and move on to their power metal days.

I found you at the end - 80%

autothrall, January 9th, 2010

Coming off the blistering Follow the Blind, Tales from the Twilight World feels like the first album where Blind Guardian began to conceive of their epic direction, with an increased attention to the vocal arrangements. Certainly, the roots were already laid with the prior records, and in response, some of the speed metal antics do bleed through onto this and the following Somewhere Far Beyond. Surprisingly, this effort was not one of my paramount Blind Guardian experiences, as there are 1-2 songs which I rarely find the desire to re-visit. However, even when not writing at their best, these Germans still outclass many of their peers, and sure enough, Tales from the Twilight World has a half dozen (or more) tracks which should knock the socks off any Teutonic power metal fan.

"Traveler in Time" is a lengthy exposition to open the album, at 6:00 and commencing through a march-like arrangement with Hansi performing his vocals with operatic punctuation. The melodic, charging power/speed rhythms of Follow the Blind return, and once more the band exhibits a strength in the bridge of the song, as the solos crash across a slew of solid rhythms that veer into a brief acoustic mystique at 3:30 before soaring the leads soar back into the sky like eagles. "Welcome to Dying" is considered a classic by many, a staple of their setlists for decades to come, and deservedly so, with a forceful verse rhythm and a pretty predictable chorus, but it's not the best of this album. "Weird Dreams" is a spicy, wild little instrumental with some great guitar work and warped out effects, and "Lord of the Rings" is a great orchestral piece with synth and acoustics that highlights the band's fascination with Tolkien and foreshadows their future, and who could forget that vocal bridge?

Slow down and I sail on the river
Slow dawn and I walk to the hill

"Goodbye My Friend" is a solid charger with some decent solo hooks and somewhat memorable (again, predictable chorus), though my favorite part here is the winding melody in the speed metal hook at about 2:25. "Lost in the Twilight Hall" is another of the fan favorites off this album, with good reason, it's catchy from the start with its arching melodies and superb vocals that immerse you in its world of glory and desperation, not to mention the vocal spot from Kai Hansen of Helloween/Gamma Ray (who had also appeared on the previous album). The Steven King inspired "Tommyknockers" makes a cool use of the rhyme rhythm from the story, interspersed with the charging, glorious speed/power metal you have come to expect and a damn fine solo bridge with toys through various rhythms.

"Altair 4" is a sort of sequel to "Tommyknockers", and while it's got some cool ideas, they feel a little too packed into the song's 2:27 minute length, and it simply does not sit in the stew long enough. "The Last Candle" is a self-referential track that opens with the familiar 'Guardian guardian guardian of the blind' repetition before a catchy dual melody. The track gets pretty intense from around 3:00-5:00, ultimately a great ending for the album. If you've got the Japanese version, you get a bonus live version of "Run for the Night" from the debut album. It sounds decent, but certainly not essential here.

Tales from the Twilight World is simply another great Blind Guardian album, even if it's not always gunning at 100%. Though I didn't enjoy it as much as Follow the Blind, the quality is close, and it feels like the band took even more liberties here to incorporate a wide array of lyrical subjects that focus on fantasy and science fiction. Most of the riffs are good, and the vocal performance is ample proof that Hansi Kursch is one of the most original and distinct frontmen in metal music. It holds up fairly well, and sets up the following album, which would be start of the 'Golden Age' of Blind Guardian (four amazing, consecutive albums).

Highlights: Lord of the Rings, Lost in the Twilight Hall, Tommyknockers, The Last Candle

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Transitional and very good - 70%

OllieS, February 11th, 2009

Nowadays we all think of Blind Guardian as one of the most crazy, OTT, grandiose bands power Metal has ever seen, and even if you don't you really can't ignore releases such as Nightfall In Middle-Earth or A Night At The Opera. Before BG started to stretch the boundaries of Metal however, they were a relatively straight-forward speed Metal band - basically a mixture of 80's style thrash and power Metal. This is well exemplified on the two albums before this, but here, Tales From The Twilight World is the album where BG started to become complex: the song structures started getting unconventional, the backing vocals got numerous, and the guitars layered - this is why Tales... is frequently named the transitional album; BG going from a basic speed Metal band to the insane power Metal machine they would become.

As this is very much the transitional album for BG, it obviously isn't as strong as the albums where they'd fully found and developed their power Metal sound (Imaginations..., Nightfall..., etc). The sound here is like that of the two previous albums promptly injected with huge Uriah Heep style backing vocals and some epic Helloween style song structures. While the songwriting on here generally scores, it fails at points simply because Andre and Hansi weren't such experienced songwriters at the time (especially with integrating the new power Metal sound, which was luckily fixed on the amazing Somewhere Far Beyond), which is understandable, although does hinder the record overall.

In terms of classic BG, there's definitely some to be found here. Opener 'Traveller In Time' is a wicked six minute BG Power Metal assault which due to its unconventional structure and amazing choruses doesn't feel six minutes long at all. 'Lost In The Twilight Hall' features a haunting atmosphere and a fantastic vocal duel (Kai Hansen with Hansi), while closer 'The Last Candle' is the perfect epic ending for such an album, having a chorus and outro that will be stuck in your head long after the record has ended. Tracks 'Goodbye My Friend' and 'Welcome To Dying' are very solid, and this album features the band's first ever ballad, 'Lord Of The Rings', which is a nice break from the Metal atmosphere of the rest of the album.

As good as the aforementioned songs are though, they aren't without their flaws. The main problem here is many of the songs try too hard to keep the listener's interest, but considering their length and structure, some parts end up dragging. This isn't the case with songs such as 'The Script For My Requiem' on later releases, but it's certainly prevalent on tracks such as 'Traveller In Time' (the solo section doesn't seem to click), 'Lost In The Twilight Hall' (unnecessary guitar solo after vocal duel, some riffs dragged out) and 'The Last Candle' (feels like it has one too many choruses) on this album. Some tracks simply aren't that ambitious, such as 'Goodbye My Friend' 'Welcome To Dying', which is good and bad I suppose. Some songs simply don't end after their final chorus, and while it works on 'The Last Candle', it makes 'Welcome To Dying' (while the outro solo isn't necessarily bad) drag on. Finally, although it's an extreme rarity for BG, some parts of songs sound samey, such as the second verse of 'Welcome To Dying' being hard to distinguish from parts in 'Lost In The Twilight Hall'.

In terms of band performance it's good as expected. Thomen's drumming is fast and repetitive yet oddly satisfying (although not as creative as what he'd do on later albums), Andre's leads precise and melodic, Marcus' rhythm guitar patterns simplistic and fast and Hansi's voice powerful and slightly rough. Hansi does show off some more melodic singing on 'Lord Of The Rings', which is very strong and fitting for the song. One small flaw instrumentally is the backing vocals. Marcus and Andre harmonise with Hansi on every chorus, while a plethora of people (exclusive backing vocalists, people from other bands, producers) contribute the rest of them. Lots of them sound slightly too high pitched and relatively tuneless, but they get the job done well enough overall.

This a very interesting album if you're a BG fan and want to see how their sound came about, and it contains 3 classic BG tracks, but if you're new to the band I'd recommend releases such as Somewhere Far Beyond or Imaginations From The Other Side simply due to the higher quality material within. Still, Tales From The Twilight World is definitely an enjoyable listen for power Metal fans.

Blind Guardian's final speed metal release is nice - 85%

SilenceIsConsent, March 13th, 2008

Blind Guardian is a band that I heard quite a bit about before never actually listening to. I have heard this German heavy metal quartet (officially a quartet, technically a quintet) been praised again and again from everything from Hansi Kursch's amazing vocal performance to Andre Olbrich's lead guitar. So ever since then I have been listening to Blind Guardian. I've listened to many songs (at least one off of ever album) and currently own five albums. Tales From the Twilight World was my most recent purchase, one that I bought through Virgin Records as a reissue.

This is Blind Guardian's final offering as a speed metal band. Some would argue this is Blind Guardian's first true power metal album. Then again that is said about every single release before it (Battalions of Fear, Follow The Blind). All three of these albums have power metal elements but the speed metal really prevails more then the power metal for the most part. On Tales From the Twilight World, speed metal once again prevails over power metal. All in all, the album is pretty good. It shows Blind Guardian's dark, powerful, and spirited approach to metal further evolving and the progressive elements beginning to show more and more into the music. Though it took me time to get into this album (as it did with any Blind Guardian album that I own) and there are several things about the album that I do not like, I have truly grown to appreciate Tales From the Twilight Hall as the final offering of one era of Blind Guardian and one that highlighted the beginning of another nicely.

Like many power metal bands, Blind Guardian recognized early on their greatest asset was singer (in this case Hansi Kursch). So they immediately give him the most control so that way they can sound the best they can while the rest of the band gives good input. Unlike other bands (for example Edguy) who do this, they end up compromising the band's talents just to allow the singer to perform his best. Blind Guardian never quite did that for the most part. Though you can tell that the band is compromised by Hansi to an extent, Hansi himself realizes that he has a few musicians to back him up that are truly talented and may not always be what people want but possess very nice skills for the most part. So the band is able to put in some offering and make music that sort combines Hansi's need for melody with their desire to be fast. This makes for music that is about seventy five percent nice, twenty percent not so nice, and five percent crap. Not exactly the best numbers but I have seen much worse.

Vocally, this album is (at least) very good (as is any Blind Guardian release). I got to say that I love the performance offered by Herr Kursch (as I mostly have on any Blind Guardian release). He's an incredibly talented singer and frontman that deserves most of the acclaim that he gets. While Hansi does not really move beyond the tenor and soprano range, his voice is incredibly clear and unique. Really few vocalists have ever sounded like Hansi (many have tried and failed) and this is a very good thing. He sounds just like someone out of medieval times, just how you would think the minstrel in all those fairy tales your mother and father used to read to you before they would tuck you in at night when you were a child would sound. His vocal patterns are downright catchy for the most parts and his choruses are highly memorable (my favorite are the Lost in the Twilight Hall, Traveler In Time, and Goodbye My Friend). He possesses a massive amount of emotion and knows how to apply it, for the most part. There are several times when I feel Hansi wants to sound dramatic or sad and he just does not really do that. The biggest place to kind of really see this is on Lord of the Rings. He also really cannot seem to sound angry to well even when he tries to. The best place to kind of hear him faltering here is on Tommyknockers, where in the choruses he tries to sound angry and serious and it just kind of sounds childish and rather immature. Otherwise, his vocal talents are shown to an amazing degree and he is just great.

His lyrics also possess considerable prowess. Hansi is a true story teller. He puts in the fantasy not to make it cover up an underlying moral. He's like King Diamond. He wants to tell a story for the most part with his songs. Though these songs probably do have a moral to them (one that I have not figured out) in their lyrics, for the most part Herr Kursch seems like he just wants to tell a story and he does good at that. On the flip side though, it makes the lyrics really seem rather mindless and without a clear focus.

What's worth noting though is he is not the only singer on this album. The man who sang on Valhalla on their previous offering is back (yes, it's Kai Hansen). This time around, Kai contributes on the title track. There he harmonizes with Hansi amazingly as well as sings great on his own for a few lines, and also harmonizes with them amazingly with Andre Olbrich and Marcus Siepen. The band's two guitarists harmonize with Hansi on all the songs at some point or another when they do backing vocals, and they really help add a lot to the lines they contribute to. They make them more catchy and give them a lot more depth then Hansi could give on his own. It's good to hear that Hansi let them do this, because they honestly sound great.

Speaking of Andre and Marcus, their guitar work is also pretty nice. Both of these guys really know how to play guitar, and they play guitar pretty nice. Both of them know how to crank out great riffs that are fast and heavy. These riffs are crushing and add a lot of heaviness to the music. They also change chords a lot, which is good for power metal considering most power metal riffs do not change chords and these actually do plenty of the time. Harmonization between these two guitarists also adds a ton of depth and other goodies to the music that really make you just want to keep on listening. This harmonization work is best seen on the instrumental track Weird Dreams, TommyKnockers, Goodbye My Friend, and Lost in the Twilight Hal. In these tracks, the harmonization is shown of great it is just awesome.

Acoustic guitars are also very nice, though you can only really hear them on Lord Of The Rings. Hear though they are very nicely prevalents and sound incredibly clear and vibrant. I have to admire Blind Guardian somewhat for making so many acoustic based songs (even though sometimes it gets on my nerves). It is really kind of daring and provides a nice break from the speed metal assault of this album for the most part.

Andre's leads are all in his own unique style of basing his solos off of Hansi's vocal melodies and feature primarily some minor tremolo picking and rapid bursts of staccato as well as great use of the whammy bar for expression and flair. Think of him as sort of like a toned down and less spaced out version of Joe Satriani. For me, this is a double edged sword. I got to respect Andre for having his own style, and it's a nice one at that. Unlike most guitarists who claim to play with a revolutionary style (that more often then not sucks) like Kerry King, Andre's is actually alright and his style is alright to. I got to admit, his solos are a lot more catchy then most power metal guitarists (who simply rip off Yngwie Malmsteen save a few amazing exceptions) and they sound very catchy. You can actually almost dance to most of them on Tales From the Twilight World and this sounds alright. However, considering that I got into metal listening to guys who were real shredders and truly ripped up the fretboard on their guitars (guys like Alexi Laiho and Marty Friedman), for awhile I considered Andre to be a crappy guitar player. I've since moved on from that but I do not consider him the musical genius and guitar virtuoso that most credit him as. So his leads are either enjoyed by some or seen as stale and boring by others. It all really depends how you look at it.

Bass cannot really be heard except for low frequencies that do not really allow me to judge Hansi's talents as a bassist (I will leave this for another review), so I am just going to skip that for now.

The drum work done by Thomen is really top notch. Thomen does not just rip off Ingo Schwitenberg (RIP) on Tales From the Twilight World. Instead, he takes some influence from Helloween's former drummer and combines it with plenty of his own style and even some thrash influence. He drums very fast and powerful, beating the living shit out of his drums and using every single drum in his kit in his disposal. For a power metal drummer he is pretty fast, highly technical and very unique. He never goes out of time when Blind Guardian is blazing ahead at full speed and knows just how to reserve himself when he is required. He is always using his snare drum and not just for accents. All the fills he creates are really great and will utilize all the things he can beat at his disposal. Truly a great drummer when you come to think about it.

I do not know who did the production on this album. I do not know mixed, engineered, or mastered this album but it is alright. This is old school sounding metal production. It is the kind of production where you hear the bass drums thumping rather then clicking and the guitars sound much more organic then modern day terms. This is actually very nice for the most part. It's all mixed very nicely and everything appears to be in balance. Then again, the bass is really only these lame low end frequencies that you can hardly hear at all (being a bass player like I am you kind of develop a good sense for hearing things like this). I wish they were a bit more prevalent and sounded like real bass sounds rather then frequencies, but all in all it's alright. The guitars are amazingly clear and Hansi's vocals are not affected by the mix one bit. The only other downside I can think of besides the lack of good bass sounds is the fact that for a metal album Tales From the Twilight World is really rather quiet. I find myself having to turn up the volume to really hear this album good more of then not when I choose to listen to it on Itunes or on a CD. This is good in the sense no one is really going to get pissed at you for playing it loud unless you are playing it at an extremely high volume, but then again metal albums are supposed to be loud and this is not that loud.

All in all, Tales From the Twilight World is a nice speed metal offering that would prove to be Blind Guardian's last offering of such a kind. It's worth checking out for anyone into power metal or metal with a unique approach and should be a must have album for any fan of Blind Guardian. I would not advise this to be the album newcomers use to get into Blind Guardian, they might have a rather hard time getting into it. So all in all, seek out Tales From the Twilight World prepare to be (mostly) mystified.

Let's Call It "Power Thrash" - 95%

elfo19, March 8th, 2008

Blind Guardian-Tales From The Twilight Hall

I dislike thrash metal. Sure, you can catch me with a little Metal Church playing sometimes but for the most part I’m not the biggest fan of the genre. Knowing this you can probably tell that I don’t like Blind Guardian’s early albums too much. This is true. This album being reviewed is their third, and more importantly, their first to incorporate power metal. Yeah, the thrash is still there, but it’s made more melodic, and Blind Guardian as we know them is beginning to form. This is probably my favorite Blind Guardian album.

The music on the album is still quite thrashy but the uplifting vocals sung by several people has been added. (To demonstrate progression, on their later albums they had a whole male choir sing.) There isn’t really a bad moment on the album and each song keeps you entertained. The subject matter is very Blind Guardian-ish on this album. First of all, you got a song that’s literally called “Lord Of The Rings”, which is one of the album’s best songs, a beautiful ballad. Then there’s “Tommyknockers” and “Altair 4” both of which are about the Stephen King book, Tommyknockers. “Tommyknockers is a great track, a little more thrashy then some of the others, and definitely heavy. The chorus is ridiculously fun to sing. “Altair 4” is only two minutes long and it’s nothing special.

Some songs are more thrashy then others, such as “Weird Dreams”. It’s not even two minutes long, but it’s a realy heavy instrumental bit that kind of goes nowhere. That’s more like thrash than say, “The Last Candle”, the album’s closer. Still, this a lot heavier than any Blind Guardian that would come after. I believe that this may be Blind Guardian’s most accessible release because it finds a nice in between of the two genres, thrash and power.

However a lot of people don’t like this album. It could be that they hate thrash, but that’s unlikely because I don’t really like it, or they hate power metal, but if you hate power metal I don’t think you’re even going to touch Blind Guardian or Gamma Ray or Helloween. So why not like this album. I think people just like to complain. There actually are no epic tracks but you have to take in mind that this is their progression between thrash and power. I like epic 9 minute songs as much as the next guy, in fact I adore Manowar’s 28 minute long epic “Achilles, Agony And Ecstasy In Eight Parts”, but you can’t complain that there isn’t an epic. Taking into mind that Blind Guardian is stuck between genres this may be their best written alum.

Overall, the album delivers some nice performances from all the members of the band and no one falls short. This album gets you head banging furiously but still has everything, except an epic, that you’ve come to love about Blind Guardian. Any fan should pick up this album and enjoy it because it’s definitely worth it.

Right Up There With SwFB - 97%

Head_Shot, January 25th, 2008

Comparing the mighty Blind Guardian to there first two albums, (Battalions of Fear, and Follow the Blind), TftTW show's the more noticeable power metal traits starting to unfold in the still young band. TftTW along with SwFB is there mid-phase, where they begin to dive into power metal while keeping there speed metal style, the difference between the two is that TftTW is more speed orientated but one thing remains a constant, Hansi's incredible vocal's and the amazing guitar duo-ship of Marcus and Andre', Thomas get's credit but I noticed he hit's a pattern wrong now and then which is why the score it lower.

There are 10 track's in total, all clocking in about 45 minute's but is it a good 45 minutes. The album is long for speed metal standards but too short for power metal standards and when it's over you will want MORE! Each song has a hook that instantly draw's you in, and the chorus' are so damn anthemic that as soon as you learn the words you will be singing along to them to. The standout tracks are "Traveler In Time" a fantastic opening song that sets the album, "Lord of The Rings" a ballad featuring two great guitar solo's from Marcus, ''Goodbye My Friend", "Lost In The Twilight Hall" is the best song on the album it features Kai Hansen (ex-Helloween, Gamma Ray) on vocal's but for only 25 seconds and some kick ass lead work courtesy of Andre'. "Tommyknockers" is based of the Stephen King novel of the same name and at first its a really great track (the beginning will bring King Diamond to mind also) but after several listens its one of those tracks that’s good but flawed, "Altair 4" is also based on the Stephen King novel and is more of a filler.

Finally the grand finale' "The Last Candle" the second best song on the album amazing vocals with great guitar and bass and some powerful drumming by Thomas makes this a great song, the second guitar solo is performed by Kai Hansen but live it is done by Marcus. There is also a live version of "Run For The Night" which is from there first album, and I find far better to the original. All in all minus several small flaws this is an AMAZING album and should be held as high as SwFB, speed, power, and some kick ass chorus's make this a must have GET IT NOW!!!

Quite an impressive showcase of power metal. - 91%

Blackheartx, August 2nd, 2007

First of, let me state that this was my second Blind Guardian album, my first being "A Night at the Opera." That being said, apart from a few tracks my friends showed me, I heard mostly their "polished" work.

That being said, this was rather a rather surprising album when I heard it. Instead of the multi-layered and overdubbed work found on the newer record, this was old-school power at it's best. The epic sound was beginning to show here, and it soon develop into the BG we all know and love today.

"Traveler in Time" opens up the album, and it proves to be one of the strongest tracks on the album. Although a bit slow in the beginning, it soon transforms into a very enjoyable track. "Welcome to Dying" is a good song, as well, but I do feel it is rather overrated. "Weird Dreams" is short, but not really filler. "Lord of the Rings" is the ballad of the album, and a good one at that. I never really cared too much for "Goodbye My Friend," but others may like it.

Now, next to "The Bard's Song," "Lost In The Twilight Hall" is favorite Blind Guardian song. Although Kai Hansen's vocals are not as prominent as I would have liked them, he really helps the epic feel of the song. The song also boasts some beautiful guitar harmonies and fantastic drum work, especially in the intro. It very well could have opened up the album.

"Tommyknockers" and "Altair 4" are both enjoyable songs (both of them based of off Steven King's 'Tommyknockers'), but not ones that I'm keen on listening to often. "The Last Candle" is a fitting way to end the album, and Kai's solos are enjoyable, to say the least.

Overall, this is not the quintessential power metal album, but it is one the most enjoyable & epic. A recommendation for any fan of the genre.

Underrated and Misunderstood. - 90%

hells_unicorn, March 11th, 2007

Often passed up by the old school thrash/speed faithful and fans of the newer and more progressive Blind Guardian, “Tales from the Twilight World” represents the first hint at a transition from the former school of metal to the latter. Formally it still functions as an extension of the melodic brand of thrash/speed established on BG’s first two releases, featuring fast paced songs with signature speed riffs, brief yet brilliant guitar solo interchanges and Hansi Kürsch’s rough edged yet tuneful vocals. But there are also some rather interesting innovations that, although rather limited, put the sound more on a course where we see hints of the power metal sound realized on “Imaginations from the Other Side” and “Nightfall on Middle Earth”.

The most obvious evolution in BG’s sound is found on the ballad “Lord of the Rings”, a rather impressive acoustic folk/metal hybrid that combines a well conceived lyrical summation of Tolkien’s timeless classic with some harmonically and texturally beautiful keyboard sounds. Unlike the title track of “Follow the Blind”, which made limited use of the acoustic guitar to complement an otherwise speed dominated song, this is the first true ballad in the sense of such classic tracks as “The Bard’s Song” and “A Past and Future Secret”, and stands tall even amongst them in terms of performance and sound.

The rest of the advancement in the BG sound is dispersed among most of the other tracks found on here, mostly appearing as added detailing to which is otherwise a speed metal track cut from the same grain as previous releases. “The Last Candle” and “Traveler in Time” feature much denser vocal tracking, much closer to the current BG approach to this area, as well as a tighter and crisper overall production in the guitars. “Weird Dreams” and “Altair 4” are shorter tracks that have some keyboard sounds not found on earlier works, and although they function mostly as afterthoughts when compared with the other tracks on here, also display the beginnings of the more conceptual oriented approach to album pacing that resulted in “Nightfall on Middle Earth”.

Much of the remaining work on here is closer to the older sound, although they do highlight some changes in the musical direction of the band. “Welcome to Dying” and “Goodbye my friends” are the closest to the sound heard on previous albums, but feature a much more melodic approach to guitar soloing and lead riffing on the part of Andre Olbrich. The title track features Kai doing another guest vocal slot, the first one being on “Valhalla” off the last release, and further pulls the sound of the album towards the “Walls of Jericho” sound that it is often compared to. “Tommyknockers” is heavily similar in the guitar department to several songs found on “Nightfall on Middle Earth”, although it still listens like an earlier thrash/speed track. In my opinion this is the most underrated BG song, mostly due to people obsessing over some corny parts in the lyrics and not really listening to the amazing guitar and drum work, not to mention Hansi’s raw edged vocal work.

Blind Guardian has taken a road different from most of its peers, opting for a gradual evolution in sound rather than the abrupt changes that other acts engaged in during the early 1990s (Pantera and Sepultura being the obvious examples). Consequently, this album exhibits a sound that is so gradual a transition from its predecessors that it is passed up by later fans of the band, despite the production being a step up. However, there is enough of a power metal tinge to it that people who didn’t take to the newer sound will often regard this as a lesser work to the first two BG releases. Those who have an appreciation for the entire BG catalog, and people who like both older thrash and newer melodic power metal will find a great album awaiting them. The music on here is top notch, which is par for the course for Blind Guardian, a band that weathered and overcame a tide of anti-metal sentiment and reminded us that what makes metal distinct from the rest of the rock styles out there is its uncompromising pursuit of greatness.

A Dissapointment for a Fan - 75%

GoddessofThunder, October 30th, 2005

While visiting Montreal, I picked up a copy of Blind Guardian's Nightfall in Middle-Earth. Sometime during my ride back to the airport, I opened up the case to find a copy of Tales From the Twilight World. Hoping that perhaps it would be up to par with the album I had intended to buy, I was dissapointed.

As a Blind Guardian fan who was introduced to the band during their middle era with such releases as Somewhere Far Beyond and Imagination From the Other Side, Tales From the Twilight World is a noticebly earlier release and the style leans towards their speedier beginnings at times. It lacks a lot of the epic, rich sound that Blind Guardian became known for with more recent releases.

While the songs are good, they are not great. This could be said for the entire album. A strong point of the music is defintely Hansi's vocals. This is one thing that has never been weak since Blind Guardian's entrance into the world of power metal, and although this album is sloppier than those that come after it, Hansi's voice manages to stay strong in both clean vocals and his few shouts.

Andre, Marcus, and Thomen really get some cred, however, for Weird Dreams, an awesome insturmental. Despite the lack of Hansi, track three is probably one of the best on the CD. Another superb song is quite reliant on Hansi; Lord of the Rings. A beautiful acoustic ballad, Lord of the Rings is like a foreshadowing of the band's future. And, of course, you have the energetic Lost in the Twilight Hall, which features dual vocals with the help of Gamma Ray's Kai Hansen.

However, there are some tracks that miss the mark completely. Tommyknockers is dragged out and simply boring, while Altair 4 seems like a filler track that could easily be removed.

A good album, but not up to par with Blind Guardian's later efforts.

Anti-Pussy power metal - 86%

PazuzuZlave, October 20th, 2005

I heard of this band a long time ago, but for some reason I passed their offerings up pretty quickly. About six months ago, I picked them up again and I’m glad I did. In these six months, I’ve bought three of their albums whilst downloading the rest. This has been my favourite all along. So, what have I learned in half a year? Blind Guardian is a marvellous band. Simply put, all their albums have something to offer, and while this may not be their most thought-through or majestic it’s definitely their catchiest.

Throughout the bands third full-length we are treated with several classic songs. Some of them might have influences from earlier makings, and some are all-new material, but the point is that it doesn’t get boring. It has an overall good flow to it, but one can’t help but to point out a few stand-outs. We have the neat instrumental “Weird Dreams”. Twin guitar-riffs which lead the entire one-minute song. This was good in theory and excellent in performing. “Goodbye My Friend” features a very good vocal performance by Hansi accompanied by excellent riffs, “Lord of the Rings” is THE definite ballad & “Welcome to Dying” was to be a live-favourite. Then we have “Lost in the Twilight Hall”, which features a rather (good) punkish riff at first, then combining cheesy power with majesty (no pun intended).

Quite often, the songs are structured in the powerful way. I’m talking about the low-profile verses and the exploding chorus. On most of the songs, they’ve executed this style with perfection. All the before-mentioned songs can be placed in that category.
This album was released back in 1991, and sounds like it too. This could really call for a re-mastering, because the sound level is way too low, and once they use acoustic guitars, you can’t almost hear them. On the other hand, amidst the weak sound, I can’t help but to oversee the production and keep on enjoying the masterful song material.

Power metal has never sounded this harsh and non-mellow. “Lord of the Rings” is the slowest here, and that rules beyond definition too. Blind Guardian has proven themselves to be a stellar band, and with 20 years on their belt, they continue offering their fans the music they love to hear. Buy or die!

Trying to make their mind up - 70%

Warmaster, October 11th, 2003

This album is where BG try to find a new path in the metal genre. as an experemental album, we should expect some great, some good, and some bad, and thats what we get.

This album could have been the best four song Ep ever made. Instead we have nine songs. of differing quality. as such, BG has a few really bad experiences on this one, but some really good ones as well. i did struggle to like it at first, and stayed with "follow the blind" but have always realised that two of my all time favorite songs are on this album.

We start with the amazing "traveller in time" aside from the slowish intro, this song flattens everything near it. honestly, this song is amazing. all of six minutes long, it has an amazing chorus, great riffs, great drumming, this song sticks right in my memory, its a travesty that they no longer play it live.

Then we come to the most over rated Blind guardian song of all time. "welcome to dying" the lyrics, are to be blunt, are crap. The music itself is good, if not brilliant, but the lyrics ruin it. only the last fifty secons do i enjoy, with the "i spread my wings and fly away" bit, but listening through a whole song to get to that is not something i do alot. this song has never intrested me, there are better songs here to intrest me.

"weird dreams" is next. pass. There is no point in that instrumental at all. then we come to "lord of the rings" a brilliant ballad, i admit it, but i don't listen to ballads a lot. also, there is no point doing a song about the whole book, they do songs about bits of the books all of the time. Still, its good.

Then we come to "goodbye my friend" brilliant song, i love the lyrics here, Hansi is really pulling off those screams now, and i even found the scream by kai hidden in there. Great song.

Then we come to the best song on the album "lost in a twilight hall" as i said for my follow the blind review, i love dual metal vocals, its something i wish more bands did regulary. And it is this song, only about twenty five seconds of it, but it is this song which sums up what is great about dual vocals. I am of course talking about the Hansi/kai vocal dual. that is the best thing that either singer has ever done, full stop. it is disapointing that they only did it once in the song, where as they could, and should have done it at least twice. still this song is amazing, not just becuase of that, also because of hansi's main vocals, the chorus itself is brilliant, the solo's are really good, the drums... its all there. as it stands, they've only done two songs which match up to this, "Curse..." and "somewhere..." but this song carries this album from the average, to the good.

However, the album slips once more then. "Tommyknockers" is very average, the lyrics sound very poor indeed, very atypical blind guaridan, and then "Altair 4" which is more of the same, just even less good.

However the album proper ends with another decent track "the last candle" which seems to be a sequel to "guardian of the blind" still, its a brilliant song, really picking up the pace, and the intensity of the good stuff. plus we have the foregettable version of "run to the night"

Thus we have several absolutely brilliant songs "Traveller in time, Goodbye my friend" "lost in twilight hall" and "the last candle" with everything else being rather average or poor. but those four songs alone would give a 98% ranked Ep, just think about that while you are lost behind the mirror....

there's some for everyone! - 93%

ironasinmaiden, January 8th, 2003

Blind Guardian's original name was Lucifer's Hammer. Gawd, how inappropriate is that? Well, thank god these krauts changed their mind, cos their brand of metal is more or less a metal trademark. TFTTW is my favorite BG album, possibly because it was my first. The songwriting differs very little from their two subsequent releases, which is nothing bad in itself.... Welcome to Dying, Traveller in Time... speed metal anthems. I'd suggest a prospective BG fan totally get on this before anything else, because Tales, well, in laymans terms: KICKS ASS.

Hansi had yet to really master English... this provides for some badass lisp on Welcome to Dying. His voice has a lot a bite and is persistently in key. There are not as many choirs as there would eventually be, and the sound is in short, stripped down. This speaking from the perspective of a guy who is well aware of their recent career choices, mind you.

Andre Olbrich destroys the fretboard on tales, letting loose on some seriously searing and inspired solos... WTD, come on man, that one lick right before the end is so damn good. Blind Guardian's music is very technical but they mask that with great hooks. Check out Goodbye My Friend, a totally underrated gem of a song, and Lost in the Twilight world (which features pitiful vocals from Helloween frontman Kai Hansen) for some riffy goodness.

Lord of the Rings is everybody's favorite and a well done ballad. These guys are full on geeks, and alot of their fanbase are dungeonmasters... but unlike your average rhapsody they have enough balls to attract the metal guys as well. This is why BG are so damn good... they could make you thrash around wildly and sing on high in the same instant. This one's at least top 20 for the 90s and a grand record.

Still very speedy. - 76%

Nightcrawler, January 4th, 2003

This is one of Blind Guardian's weakest albums in my opinion, mostly because there's a lack of variation between the songs. Still, it's not bad at all.
It mixes the speed and power elements that Blind Guardian have gotten known for nicely, although they would succeed better on that front on the Somewhere Far Beyond album.
This one is still mostly speed metal, with insanely fast and heavy guitar riffs and very intense drumming, with some nice melodic leads and short solos placed here and there.
Most of the choruses are classic Blind Guardian singalong material with backing vocals (Welcome To Dying, Lost In The Twilight Hall...), which is pretty much what you'd expect from the band.

The vocals are as usual very strong, with both raw screams and clean vocals.
Hansi's clean vocals sound very epic-ish, that's how I'd best describe them, and that suits the band perfectly.

The album contains many fan favourites, like the all out speed metal opening song Traveler In Time, the acoustic ballad Lord Of The Rings, and the quite speedy Welcome To Dying, which has one of my personal favourite Blind Guardian choruses.

But, the album has some flaws. Mostly that there's not much variation: Aside from Lord Of The Rings and the crazy instrumental Weird Dreams, most songs sound pretty much the same. Though it's not as bad as on A Night At The Opera, where nearly all songs completely lack any sort of personality or feeling.
Lost In The Twilight Hall is also quite a different track, with both insanely fast and slightly slower, heavier parts, and a great bridge with dueling vocals between Hansi Kürsch and Kai Hansen. Then there is the short filler Altair 4, which I don't even count as a song. Very boring.

The albums highlights include Lost In The Twilight Hall, Welcome To Dying, Lord Of The Rings and the closing track The Last Candle, which has some great soloing by Kai Hansen.

Something of a classic - 69%

HawkMoon, August 12th, 2002

A german band I actually like. Tales.. is their third effort, and the earliest one I got since I think the first two ones are rather boring. They're more thrash-oriented, and it's not that I don't like that - they're simply dull, not many songs that stand out and variation is non-existent. (not that that matters either when we're talking oldschool thrash, but I simply don't like them OK??)

Well anyhow this one I consider as the first one where they started progressing into the wonderful act they are today. Here they play a more power metal-influenced style although the speed from the previous albums is still there. I just don't classify this as thrash - sure it's fast but hell not very aggressive. So what's this about? Well we got some speedy twin-guitar metal with choirs in most of the choruses, and a slightly lighter feeling than on the first two albums (it's not THAT much of a difference, but..).

Anyway, the songwriting has gotten better that's for sure. Songs as "Traveler in time" and "Lost in the twilight hall" are just some faves. Andre and Marcus does some nice solos here and there, and Hansi has a really unique voice, no one else in this genre sings like him - sometimes his voice is raw and "unpolished" but it sounds just as good as when he keeps it clean. He has a kind of funny accent though..

Some flaws: They need to progress more. This is just a small step, besides this album has a major lack of variation and originality. It's kinda "yeah we've heard this before", Helloween anyone? Second, they HAVE done better production than this. To sum this up it's a nice album worth having if you have some spare cash, but if you're just after the really good stuff, stick to the later ones.