Released: 2015, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Carla (Guest reviewer Denmark/Romania)
BEYOND THE RED MIRROR is the tenth studio album by German power metal band Blind Guardian. It is scheduled to be released on January 30, 2015 by Nuclear Blast. It will be the band's first album since 2010's AT THE EDGE OF TIME marking the longest gap between two studio albums in their career (being three days longer than the gap between 2002's A NIGHT AT THE OPERA and 2006’s A TWIST IN THE MYTH. It will also be their first album without former session member Oliver Holzwarth on bass guitar since 1995's IMAGINATIONS FROM THE OTHER SIDE.
The opening track of the album, “The Ninth Wave” has a very cinematic intro, a strong chorus that gives you a feeling of ancient times: a 1:20 min grand opening. “Beyond The Red Mirror” being the sequel of “Imaginations From The Other Side”, it looks back once again into the two worlds that have been mostly severed, leaving only the ‘red mirror’ as a gateway. “Twilight Of The Gods” has, from the start, the feeling of ‘Holy crap, the band is still in perfect shape!’, heavy guitar riffs echoing “Journey Through The Dark”, intoxicating chorus and a Hansi in tip top vocal shape.
Jumping “At The Edge Of Time” we have an experimental sound, continuing with a crescendo heading towards a slow, highly calculated tempo. With “Ashes Of Eternity” we have a more ‘brutal’ sound, powerful guitar riffs and meticulous drums. It’s pointless to take each track and analyze it; we’re talking about Blind Guardian here, professional musicians (*cough* Germans *cough*) with a natural talent for creating good quality power metal.
In terms of creativity, lead singer Hansi Kürsch is portraying an unbelievable magical world full of scientific intrigue. Regarding implementation and execution, Blind Guardian is nearly without an equal. The band assembled three different choirs (from Prague, Budapest and Boston) and a full ninety-piece orchestra for the creation of “Beyond the Red Mirror”, and the presentation of the album is downright Broadway caliber.Track development is significantly longer on average than one might expect, the orchestral accompaniment is force-extending the song progression, having in the end two powerful nine-and-a-half minute tracks.
In the end, I would say that Blind Guardian is still very much alive in 2015 with the new BEYOND THE RED MIRROR. They’ve moved from their early thrasher and heavier speed metal towards a more symphonic power metal approach but they did it with efficiently, with class and taste.