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July 18, 2024

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Blind Guardian
Nightfall In Middle Earth (Century Media)

By: Jeb Branin

Even before I put this disc in I knew from its description that it was going to be quite the undertaking... An album that thematically is linked to J.R.R. Tolkien's book of early Middle Earth scripture, "The Simarillion". To even begin to do that tome justice the music was going to have to be sweeping, grandiose, epic, and complex. Thankfully BLIND GUARDIAN are all of the above. Their progressive power metal is a solid vehicle for music of such mettle (sorry, couldn't help myself). This is music that capably represents both the majestic and the mundane in that book. Through the music you can "see" entire armies marching to war to determine the balance between good and evil as well as experience the clash of wills between other worldly entities to whom Earth is more a philosophical strategy than a place. You feel personal struggle amongst individuals swept up in cosmic battles that are beyond their ability to fully comprehend. In addition to the clean and powerful heavy metal that propels everything forward, the album also utilizes period music to lend the work some sort of historical perspective courtesy of lutes, strings, and flutes. Oddly enough these passages are less convincing than the heavy metal simply because this style of music is so iconic of the Renaissance than it fails to convincingly represent a fantasy of pre-history. When all is said and done this is an album worthy of lots of attention in the progressive metal world and beyond. It took two years to create and it does that labor proud.
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