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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.