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Blind Guardian
Memories Of A Time To Come
May 2014
Released: 2012, Virgin/EMI
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: JP

It’s always nice when band commemorates a benchmark in their career. In the case of Blind Guardian, for their 25th Anniversary they released a ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation called, MEMORIES OF A TIME TO COME.

This two-disc set has 16-tracks, basically a song or two from the first nine studio albums. With a band as strong as Blind Guardian you could have put almost any songs on this and it would be great, in terms of track selection. The cover, courtesy of Felipe Machado is very nice and the 20-page booklet is loaded with details with a note on each and every song. Pretty much everything is re-mastered and sounds great. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to the track sequence, I would have preferred a nice streamlined chronological or reverse chronological listing but this one jumps all over the place. Because Virgin/EMI own the rights to a good chunk of the bands back catalogue, this could have been worse. The battlefields of the Metal zone are littered with hundreds of useless, contractual obligation collections or generic compilations that were released with no input from the band. At least the band was involved with his one giving MEMORIES OF A TIME TO COME a higher degree of credibility.

The obvious highlight of this collection are the four re-recorded tracks, ‘Valhalla’, ‘The Bard’s Song’ (In The Forest) , ‘The Bard’s Song (The Hobbit) and ‘And Then There Was Silence’. It just doesn’t seem like much thought went into choosing the songs for re-recording. Why did they choose to redo, ‘And Then There Was Silence’? It is only 10 years old and they have only two albums since. Even in the liner notes Hansi hinted that there was no point in re-doing this cut. Both ‘Bard’ songs were pretty much perfect to begin with but the orchestral parts sound a little more modern. However, they already re-recorded ‘The Bard’s Song (In The Forest)’ back in 2003. So now there are three official studio versions of this song, 1992, 2003 and 2012! Not too mention half a dozen live versions floating around on Live albums, singles and EP’s. It’s a great song, a brilliant song but how many versions do we need? Lastly, 'Valhalla’ does sound improved I will admit!

I grabbed the two-disc version at a very good price and almost immediately had buyer remorse because I already own every studio album. I should have held out and paid more for the three disc version. This two-disc version would be a good collection for a new fan wanting to discover the band. However, in the end I wanted to support the band and I don’t mind paying a few bucks to hear the four re-recorded songs and I am cursed with wanting to own the complete catalogues of my favourite bands. Although it pains me to say it, I feel that this is just an average collection. The re-recordings are nice, the booklet is great but it could have been so much more if they had added something of value for the long-time fans such as unreleased songs, live versions, cover tunes, bonus tracks, demos, rarities etc. If you get the three-disc version with the 15 extra rare tracks, crank this rating up to a 3.5.
Track Listing

Disc One

1. Imaginations from the Other Side
2. Nightfall
3. Ride into Obsession
4. Somewhere Far Beyond
5. Majesty
6. Traveler in Time
7. Follow the Blind
8. The Last Candle

Disc Two

1. Sacred Worlds
2. This Will Never End
3. Valhalla (New Version)
4. Bright Eyes
5. Mirror Mirror
6. The Bard's Song (In the Forest) (New Version)
7. The Bard's Song (The Hobbit) (New Version)
8. And Then There Was Silence (New Version)


Hansi Kursh-Vocals

Everyone who has ever been in the band!



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