BLIND GUARDIAN – At the Edge of Time

Blind Guardian

At the Edge of Time
(Nuclear Blast)


Blind Guardian is one of my favorite bands. The new album, At the Edge of Time is great typical Blind Guardian music. I really enjoy this album yet why do I feel a little let down by it? Is it because I have been on a constant diet of Iron Maiden’s new CD or was I expecting too much from Blind Guardian? It is like having a craving for food but you can’t figure out what it is you’re craving for. Maybe it is too typical of Blind Guardian and not enough diversity or progression?
I do like this album quite a bit but it lacks something and it drives me crazy that I can’t figure out what is missing?
Below are a few of my favorite songs from the album.
At the Edge of Time starts out with a redone version of “Sacred Worlds” from the video game Sacred 2. I find this version is far more epic and superior than the original. The orchestral intro is amazing and sets the mood for the album as a whole.
“Cry For Tanelorn” is next, an up-tempo ditty which could have came off of one of the bands 1990’s releases with ease; complete with nice guitar and a catchy chorus.
“Road To No Release” starts off with a piano, marching drums and guitar. Sort of reminds me of a slower tune from Nightfall In Middle Earth. It has a nice flow to it that seems to slowly build in tempo and recede.
“Curse My Name” is my favorite tune on the entire disc. It has a nice folksy/renaissance faire feel to it. Might be a fun one to sing along with the band in a live setting. (I’d be interested in hearing Blind Guardian making a full folk metal album.)
“War of the Throne” is a piano laden ballad; very pretty and yet powerful. The lyrics are partially based on George R.R. Martin’s series of books: A Song of Ice and Fire, as is the next jam, “A Voice in the Dark” partially based on those books. Even the CD booklet art suggests the books’ character Bran Stark with his wolf, staring at ‘The Wall in the North.’
“A Voice in the Dark” was the single for the album and had a video to accompany it. Personally, I really did not like the video at all.

In all, At the Edge of Time is a very good album from the German bards. I’d give it a 8 out of 10. I still wish there was something new and fresh the disc had to offer.

(Robert Leopold)


CANDLEMASS – Candlemass

(Nuclear Blast)
After a near 20 year history rife of break-up, changes in direction and numerous alternating line-ups, the doom gods have returned to spread their morose tainted sound with the classic. Nightfall era musicians came together to create a remarkable reunion album. A collection of songs that stand firmly next to early days of the band. In fact, maybe even surpassing all previous efforts.
This new masterpiece is a nine track long (with one bonus track) journey into despair, mysticism and sorrow. Great churning riffs, killer bass lines and mournful leads accompanied by the emotive vocals of Messiah Marcolin.
Although this is not yet my favorite Candlemass album, it may soon become so. The songs clearly show a marked improvement on song structure and a tighter, more machine-like musicianship that slices through your brain like a honed table-saw.
The first track is the speedy (for Candlemass) neck-snapper “The Black Dwarf.” From the first guitar riff, you know you’re in for something that’s going to be real hunky-dory.
A monstrous riff opens “Seven Silver Keys.” Great, grand and doomy, this seems to recall the essence of earlier days.
Highlights from the album (which is really almost the entire album) include the chugging lead-filled instrumental “The Man Who Fell from the Sky” and the explosive “Born in a Tank” (which happens to be my favorite track on the album).
This album is a must for any metal head. This new one from Candlemass is one of the finest releases this year. Pick it up now.
(Robert Leopold)

BRAINSTORM – Liquid Monster

Liquid Monster
(Metal Blade)
Okay, I honestly have little knowledge of this band, except that they share the same vocalist (Andy B. Franck) with the similar power metal band, Symphorce. Hmm, might be why I get them confused all the time.
I’ve heard the two previous albums, which weren’t memorable, but serve well to keep the voices out of your head on quiet days.
Liquid Monster however, seems to be a step in the right direction. Music, vocals, everything about this album clearly shows a band moving into a more creative path.
I must add that, for some reason I love the cover art. It depicts some sort of three-faced water-elemental or rather ‘liquid monster.’ Pretty bad-ass and comic bookish. If this happened to be a cover art review, it would definitely be in my top 3 of 2005.
Anyhow, about the real meat of the album… The songs are typical Brainstorm fare, except pumped-up a notch. I am probably in the minority here, but Liquid Monster is the best Brainstorm album I’ve heard and even better than Symphorce (although I’ve not heard all their material yet.)
Overall, this is a solid power release from musicians with a previously sort of dull catalog. I am now interested in what the future might bring for this band.
Brainstorm’s Liquid Monster is recommended for those who dig 80’s metal with a modern feel, decent lyrics, musicianship, vocals and killer art.
(Robert Leopold)