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A Twist In The Myth - Blind Guardian

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: Blind Guardian / Audio CD released 2006-09-04 at Nuclear Blast

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      23.02.2008 12:27
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      Blind Guardian's eighth studio album (2006).

      The first new Blind Guardian material in five years, 'A Twist in the Myth' was eagerly anticipated by fans even if was always kind of obvious that it wasn't going to be all that good. The past decade has seen Blind Guardian evolve from one of the more prominent bands in the German speed metal tradition to the leading force in international power metal with their epic concept release 'Nightfall in Middle-Earth,' and then spiralling into the more dismal realm of pretentious experimental band without enough good ideas, as captured so perfectly in the disappointing 'A Night at the Opera.'

      This most recent album was evidently an attempt to return to the simpler times, writing coherent songs that can actually be played live alongside old favourites, while continuing to advance the band's sound in the new millennium. The bad news is that some of the musical paths embarked on in recent years are continuing to be tread and the album's overall style suffers as a result, but the good news is that this doesn't write the band off completely: they're still an incredible force to be reckoned with in a live environment, headlining major metal festivals with their classic material, and once they get over these bad-prog tendencies they could start making great music again.

      These songs aren't bad, at least most of them aren't, but none stand up to classic material from the nineties. As usual, there's a mix between heavier power metal anthems and folk ballads, the latter held up by the orchestral 'Skalds and Shadows' and the more metallic 'Carry the Blessed Home,' but the whole thing is spoiled to a degree by the perseverance of trends from the previous album, namely the predominantly plodding pace that only becomes more energetic on select occasions, the unimaginative repetition of the "slow machine gun" combination of hard guitar chords with drum slaps as if that's enough to make a song heavy, and Hansi Kürsch's squeaky vocal style that really, really starts to get on my nerves as the album proceeds, only letting up for light relief for a few seconds at a time. On the positive side, the overall sound is less busy than in the distractingly complex predecessor, and André Olbrich is back to supplying genuinely memorable guitar riffs and solos, while new band member Frederik Ehmke - the first major line-up change in the band's twenty year career - gets to prove himself with some interesting double bass drum bursts and other techniques in 'The Edge' and a few others. The songs are also back to regular length, and actually manage to distinguish themselves among the throng.

      Probably the most deviant songs here are the ones the band chose to highlight with single releases, namely 'Fly' and 'Another Stranger Me' that both feature a new, deeper style of guitar riff not heard before in the band, as well as a continuation of the progressive themes. 'Fly' has a particularly annoying chorus (only if you find New Hansi irritating), but there's some interesting use of electronic effects, while 'Another Stranger Me' is more upbeat and energetic than most, and both songs feature some great, long guitar solos. 'Turn the Page' is more experimental still, particularly in the vocal department as Hansi sings at an oddly increased speed against the steady rhythm and even gets a more-or-less vocal solo, while this and many other songs continue to fill out the soundscape with keyboards in the folk metal tradition, serving to alienate old-school fans even further but perhaps drawing in newcomers at the same time, which can't be a bad thing.

      Unfortunately, the rest of the songs, while individual and distinctive enough to stand out, can't boast of the same level of interest, and sound particularly weak when comparable to classic material from the band's past. 'Otherland' sounds like a 'Nightfall' B-side, 'The New Order' tries to be Black Sabbath but doesn't really convince, and 'Carry the Blessed Home' can't help sounding distinctly like what it is; the obligatory ballad in the style of 'The Bard's Song' that will all too soon fade from the live set-list once the album no longer requires promotion. I don't dislike this album, but it's not one I can play too frequently without feeling disappointed foremost, and it doesn't offer many choice selections outside of the singles.

      1. This Will Never End
      2. Otherland
      3. Turn the Page
      4. Fly
      5. Carry the Blessed Home
      6. Another Stranger Me
      7. Straight Through the Mirror
      8. Lionheart
      9. Skalds and Shadows
      10. The Edge
      11. The New Order
      12. Dead Sound of Misery

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  • Product Details

    Disc #1 Tracklisting
    1 This Will Never End
    2 Otherland
    3 Turn The Page
    4 Fly
    5 Carry The Blessed Home
    6 Another Starnger Me
    7 Straight Through The Mirror
    8 Lionheart
    9 Skalds & Shadows
    10 Edge
    11 New Orde