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A fine start to a phenomenal career - 70%

Valfars Ghost, January 2nd, 2017

Symphonies of Doom, the first release from what would later be Blind Guardian, finds the young bards-to-be starting with plenty of potential but a lot of room to grow as well.

The production has the issues you'd expect from a demo, boasting a limp lead guitar tone and vocals that often sound muffled, just barely staying afloat in an ocean of turbulent riffing, especially when it’s the unfortunately named Marcus Dork singing. The band turns in spirited performances most of the time, though there are a few points where the singers sound like they’re having trouble projecting their voices and a few points where the entire group’s passion and energy abruptly disappear, like the instrumental passage leading to the final verse in the title track.

Side B is easily the lesser of this demo's two sides. While both 'Symphonies of Doom' and 'Lucifer’s Heritage' have a few solid ideas apiece, they don't have the purposeful drive the songs on Side A do. The title track has some strong verses but a half-hearted chorus and 'Lucifer’s Heritage' is a weak instrumental that wanders around for a few minutes, offering up no memorable passages and serving no real purpose.

Side A is where the meat of this demo is. 'Halloween' is the only song here to make it onto a Guardian full-length, albeit with a different title, proving to be not quite as invigorating, even if the playing is passionate to the point of almost being reckless. Still, though, it contains the same memorable chorus, sadly not delivered with the same amount of power or enthusiasm, and dynamic writing. ‘Brian’, despite a weak chorus, is a fun listen as well but this release’s real crowning achievement is ‘Dead of the Night’. This song boasts the demo's catchiest verses, most soulfully delivered chorus, best solos, and even a heavily surf rock-inspired interlude. 'Dead of the Night' is clearly what most of the band's passion and compositional talent was funneled into for this release and the fact that it was never developed any further so it could be put onto a Blind Guardian album is a little disheartening.

This demo reveals a band that wants nothing more than to make speed-based, ass-kicking metal and mostly succeeds. While these cuts aren't exactly up to a full-length's standards, 'Lucifer's Heritage' is the only one here you should skip entirely. Symphonies is rough, raw, and undisciplined and, aside from some issues with the performances and the production, there isn't much that needs drastic improvement here.

Every band has its roots - 90%

kolar999, March 26th, 2012

In 1985 pre-Blind Guardian released their first demo..."Symphonies of doom". Demo includes 5 track speed metal mastery. Yeah, back in the old days Blind Guardian played pure raw speed metal with poor production but still rocked. Hansi had completely different singing style. It was not as majestic as you would find it in newer releases, but sounds perfect with their playing style. The drums are loud but not very special. As for the guitars... Riffs are raw and mind blowing, solos are epic and creative, except the bass is kinda loud. In some cases it even suits the music. Production is not very good but is not very bad either.

The songs are fast, unpolished and include awesome solos. The demo starts with "Brian" . The song lyrics are a bit sensless but the song itself includes good chorus a nice short solo and a rocking riff in the middle of the song. The next song is called "Halloween". Later in "Battalions of Fear" album it apears as "Wizard's Crown". Track is fast with nice vocal performance and a beautiful solo. Next song, "Lucifer's Heritage is a long and good instrumental. "Symphonies of doom" starts with a good solo shredding and funny bass appearance. Hansi changes his voice in this song. His vocals become kinda weird. The last song called "Dead of the Night" is a middle-fast song with awesome guitar shredding.

This demo is a perfect example of BG's original old style. Old,fast, and raw speed metal at its best.

Genesis - 80%

ODDin, April 6th, 2005

I must admit that it is quite hard for me to rate this release - because on the one hand, it suffers from a horrible production, which is more or less prominent on the different songs, but on the other hand, one really can't expect more than that from a bunch of 18-19 year old teens (Hansi was 19 and Andre was 18; I don't know about the rest) with no proper equipment whatsoever. Therefore, the rating is probably higher than it should have been, due to the repsect and understanding.

In general, I would like to note that Hansi's vocals here are clearer than what we are used to, and aren't all that good, since he's very young, and didn't yet take any lessons. None could tell back then that he would grow up to become the amazing vocalist we know him as.

The demo starts with Halloween. This song would later become Wizard's Crown on the first official BG album. This version, however, is much slower (and not in a good way), lacks the riff from Trial by the Archon, and also has different lyrics. Got potential, not more than that. And my ears hurt each time I hear the intro on this one.

Next comes Brian, which is rather short, and though people seem to like it a lot, I never really managed to understand what's so special about it. It has a good solo and some nice riffing here and there, but overall, it isn't special and has a rather stupid refrain.

Dead of the Night is a probably the best song here, and it's a pity that it didn't go anywhere else, since this one just feels like something that didn't get onto Battalions of Fear for some reason (it seems to belong there even more than Halloween). It has very neat riffing (aside from a few moments here and there, especially around the beginning) done by Andre, and one can already see here that this is a great guitarist indeed.

Symphonies of Doom has a slightly experimental feel to it - maybe because of Dork's vocals, which oddly remind me of Scorpions' Fly to the Rainbow album. The song is impressively complicated for the 4 minutes it lasts, too.

Lucifer's Heritage is a very interesting instrumental, and gives another view of the potential of this band. It also has a slightly doom-esque break in the middle, with an obvious Black Sabbath influence to it.

Conclusion: The first 2 songs are average, the last three are very good. Overall, one could already see that this band has got potential. True, the production is bad, and this is not what you're supposed to get to know Blind Guardian by. If you are new to this band, then begin with what bears their current name. But if you love the band and want to know exactly what they were like in the beginning, then you should pick this up, and you will be pleasently surprised to discover that there is some good music here, aside of this making you a tr00 BG fan, running around screaming "woo, I have the first BG demo!".