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Live - Blind Guardian

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£12.48 Best Offer by: amazon.co.uk See more offers
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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: Blind Guardian / Enhanced / Audio CD released at EMI

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      24.03.2008 12:35
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      Blind Guardian's second live album (2003).

      Simply titled 'Live,' this two-disc performance of Blind Guardian live in their native Germany is a fantastic retrospective of the band's extensive career over the previous twenty years. This goes without saying, as any random selection of twenty-two tracks from the strong discography would be a worthy purchase, but being a live album this is guaranteed to contain all of your favourites. Or at least, all of the songs the band likes to play live.

      More diverse and twice the length of the previous live release 'Tokyo Tales' a decade earlier, the time was right to justify a new collection of songs celebrating the band's epic triumphs since, while still retaining the strongest material from those early speed metal days to add variety or keep listeners grounded when some of the more recent material veers off course into progressive realms.

      Only four songs are present from the band's then-recent album 'A Night at the Opera,' highlighting the difficulty of adapting those overcomplicated songs into a live performance, something that seems to have spurred the back-to-basics ethos of later studio output. 'Soulforged' would be my choice from the album and is justly represented here, its folk chorus and shiny, happy vocals contrasting with some of the more aggressive surrounding material but not standing out as jarringly as the dull ballad 'Harvest of Sorrow' or the average songs 'Under the Ice' and 'Punishment Divine' that fail to make much of a splash on the second disc, and may leave some listeners with a slight irritation that something like 'Banish from Sanctuary' or 'Time What is Time' wasn't included in its place (as if 140 minutes of music spanning an entire musical career isn't enough. There's always one).

      More disappointing is the equal lack of much material from the band's defining classic 'Nightfall in Middle-Earth,' which is only represented here by four excellent, if obvious choices, despite being relatively recent in the discography and a fan favourite. Fortunately, their other big hit 'Imaginations from the Other Side' is as well represented as ever, with six of its nine tracks appearing here, all of which have been in constant live rotation since 1995.

      Once you get past the songs you like or dislike, there's nothing to fault with this album, apart from the usual irritable things a crowd gets up to when left for long minutes at a time between songs, something that could and perhaps should have been tidied up in the edit. The band's performance is impeccable as ever, and old and new material is handled with equal vigour, though some such as 'Majesty' from way back on the first album do sound a little odd with the newer vocal style; 'Born in a Mourning Hall' soon makes up for this with an unprecedented screaming performance from Hansi.

      Similarly ancient classic 'Valhalla' is obviously popular with the fans, and is allowed to drag on at the end as they continually reprise its chorus, while 'The Bard's Song' is carried almost entirely by their singing, as Hansi stands and (presumably) smiles. There's not an awful lot of interaction with the crowd audible on the disc, though it's often the case that such things are the first to be cut for an official release, and the only ones that are present aren't particularly enlightening, such as the introduction to 'Lord of the Rings' that Hansi is probably making up on the spot.

      With an extra CD or two this would be the definitive live Blind Guardian album, but having produced so many classic over the years it's impossible to get them all onto a two-disc set without feeling like there's something really significant missing. My only real gripe is the lack of substantial material from the 'Nightfall' album which has always been my favourite and is widely hailed as the band's finest, but the songs that are here are mostly tried-and-tested live favourites; only the compulsory material from the most recent 'A Night at the Opera' seems frivolous, and was justly worked out of the regular set-list once the band moved on from that period. An excellent live album that does the best it can, considering its impossible situation.

      Disc 1

      1. War of Wrath
      2. Into the Storm
      3. Welcome to Dying
      4. Nightfall
      5. The Script for My Requiem
      6. Harvest of Sorrow
      7. The Soulforged
      8. Valhalla
      9. Majesty
      10. Mordred's Song
      11. Born in a Mourning Hall

      Disc 2

      1. Under the Ice
      2. Bright Eyes
      3. Punishment Divine
      4. The Bard's Song (In the Forest)
      5. Imaginations from the Other Side
      6. Lost in the Twilight Hall
      7. A Past and Future Secret
      8. Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)
      9. Journey Through the Dark
      10. Lord of the Rings
      11. Mirror Mirror

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 War of Wrath
      2 Into the Storm
      3 Welcome to Dying
      4 Nightfall
      5 Script for My Requiem
      6 Harvest of Sorrow
      7 Soulforged
      8 Valhalla
      9 Majesty
      10 Mordred's Song
      11 Born in a Mourning Hall

      Disc #2 Tracklisting
      1 Under the Ice
      2 Bright Eyes
      3 Punishment Divine
      4 Bard's Song (In the Forest)
      5 Imaginations from the Other Side
      6 Lost in the Twilight Hall
      7 Past and Future Secret
      8 Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)
      9 Journey Through the Dark
      10 Lord of the Rings
      11 Mirror Mirro