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Blind Guardian
Nightfall In Middle-Earth
February 1999
Released: n/a, n/a
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: The Wildman

After almost three years, Blind Guardian returns with, what can eaisily be said, their best studio album to date! Nightfall In Middle-Earth (NIME) is an incredible album that takes the Guardians music and extends it to the peaks of power metal.

NIME, the story, is taken from the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and is based upon The Silmarillion. The CD clocks in with twenty-two tracks but only half of them are actually songs. The other eleven help bridge the gap between some songs and help to move the story along. Some of these have music while others are spoken pieces.

The first song I heard from this CD was The Curse Of Faenor and it doesn`t even begin to do the album justice. Even though it is a good song, it doesn`t compare to songs like Nightfall, Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill), or the intro song Into The Storm. All of these songs showcase Blind Guardian at their finest. Fast, melodic, heavy, powerful, etc. There is so much harmony, rhythm, and melody on this CD, it could easily be the "Beginner`s Guide to Power Metal".

There are however, a few songs that need more than just a mere mention and they are:

- Mirror Mirror - The first (and only?!?) single from the album. This song is pure power metal. It starts with a cool, mid-tempo guitar riff before EXPLODING into a fast paced sing-a-long fury of power metal intensity. There is great drumming (of course...Thomen is a God of drumming), really cool orchestral/keyboard effects (violin?), and then the chorus comes along and just smacks you upside the head with it`s great harmonies. Mirror Mirror could define power metal!!

- Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill) - Yes, I mentioned it above but it`s such a cool song. It`s more of the same, but the use of the drum rolling in the this song is what makes it stand out. That, and of course, the chorus. It`s big and powerful and totaly Blind Guardian. Furthermore, the riffing is impecible and tight and the bass playing is top notch!

I could write more about this CD, but I don`t want to overkill it. Suffice it to say, Nightfall In Middle-Earth is, by far, one of the top five CDs that I have purchased this year. Blind Guardian continue amaze me with talent they have. What an album! As much as I would love every power metal band to put out a masterpiece, it`s nice that they don`t. This way, we can all treasure gems like NIME. I love this album. There is no other way to put it. This is a CD that should be in every metal fans catalog. If it isn`t, then your CD collection is incomplete.
Track Listing

1) War of Wrath
2) Into the Storm
3) Lammoth
4) Nightfall
5) The Minstrel
6) The Curse of Feanor
7) Captured
8) Blood Tears
9) Mirror Mirror
10) Face the Truth
11) Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns)
12) Battle of Sudden Flame
13) Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)
14) The Dark Elf
15) Thorn
16) The Eldar
17) Nom the Wise
18) When Sorrow Sang
19) Out on the Water
20) The Steadfast
21) A Dark Passage
22) Final Chapter (Thus Ends...)


Thomen Stauch - Drums
André Olbrich - Lead & rhythm guitars
Hansi Kürsch - Vocals & bass
Marcus Siepen - Guitar

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