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Blind Guardian
A Night At The Opera
March 2002
Released: 2002, Century Media
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: CrashTest

After what seemed like an unbearably long wait to this Blind Guardian fan, I finally have the new album from one of the greatest power metal bands on the earth. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA had been originally announced for a late Spring 2001 release, but the guys took their time to make sure they got it right. While I wouldn’t call this a great album, especially when compared to other albums in the band’s catalogue, OPERA does not disappoint. The extra time spent in creating the album have resulted in some pretty grandiose music. A lot of orchestration and a lot of layering, both vocally and instrumentally, are to be expected and enjoyed. Sure, the album name and cover are really bad, but in the realm of metal, isn’t it really about the music anyway? Image is nothing, music is everything ... Kiss and Manowar being the exceptions to the rule!

What Blind Guardian have done here is offer up a solid album rich in the tradition of classics like IMAGINATIONS FROM THE OTHER SIDE and SOMEWHERE FAR BEYOND, although some of the heaviness that made NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH so good can be found here as well. Hansi’s voice is in top form and the playing is tight, which is to be expected. "And Then There Was Silence" is the epic track on the disc, clocking in at over fourteen minutes. The song continues to grow on me and I imagine it will have a place among the best Blind Guardian songs given time. There are some other very good tracks here as well. "Battlefield" is a classic Blind Guardian anthem. "Sadly Sings Destiny" and "Wait For An Answer" are worthy additions to the BG catalogue as well. Of interest to many will be the song "The Soulforged", which is a tribute to the wizard Raistlin from the Dragonlance series. A few months back the band held a vote on their website to choose a theme for one of the new songs, and after resolving problems with some dummy who kept casting multiple votes for the Don Quixote story, the Dragonlance theme prevailed. Which is a good thing, as the two trilogies in that series are classic reads.

OPERA has the potential to be groundbreaking for the heavy metal genre. No, not because it’s a particularly great album, but because of the amount of hype it has generated across the globe among the mainstream. I have high hopes that this album will especially make some headway in this part of the world, along with the appearance the guys will be making at the ProgPower USA festival in December. It’s high time heavy metal made a comeback in North America. Bands like Blind Guardian can make it happen.

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