Released: 1996, Virgin Records
Reviewer: The Wildman
Collecting a bunch of B-sides and acoustic/orchestral version of their songs, Blind Guardian released this album in 1996 as kind of a filler between new albums. While there is nothing new on this CD, it is still a worthwhile disc and I truly enjoy listening to it.
Now, you may be wandering why I would give a CD like this a four star rating and the answer is quiet simple. I am a sucker for acoustic and orchestral version of metal songs and the six songs that Blind Guardian play in that vein are quite simply amazing! Hearing the songs Bright Eyes (acoustic) and Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) (orchestal) played these new ways brings these songs into another dimension. I`ve listed to LOTR more times than I can say and each time makes me feel like the first time I heard it. I absolutely love this version better. This song was meant to be presented this way.
Mordred`s Song is also played acoustically and I have to admit that I like this version a little better than the original. Also thrown is an orchestral version of Black Chamber (again, better than the version from Somewhere Far Beyond), a live version of The Bard`s Song, and the regular version of A Past And Future Secret.
The band also plays several cover tunes which include such 60`s hits as Surfin` USA (what an incredible song to hear played like the original before going into a very fast and melodic version) and Barbara Ann/Long Tall Sally. They also cover the songs Mr. Sandman, The Wizard, the Queen song Spread Your Wings, and To France, which is a great song but I have no clue as to who did the original.
This album is worth it`s weight in the six acoustic/orchestral songs. However, it may not be for everyone. I could easily rank it three or three and half stars but I really like the material here. It`s a fresh look at the kind of band Blind Guardian is and it allows them to open and expand their music career. That said, I`m going to back to give LOTR one more listen.