Released: 2001, Century Media
I feel lucky this month to be able to review something from two of the three bands I consider to make up the “Holy Trinity” of modern metal music. Blind Guardian make up 1/3 of that trinity, go see my Iced Earth review from this month to read what I have to say about that 1/3, and for the final 1/3, that will have to wait until Nevermore releases their upcoming album!
This single features the longest song Blind Guardian have done to date. “And Then There Was Silence” clocks in at over 14 minutes of pure, epic metal. Nobody will deny that BG’s music is always, first and foremost, epic in nature. However, this is the first time the boys have crafted an epic song that is truly epic in length. While I wouldn’t call the song great by any means, I do think it’s a strong track that takes some time and attention to truly appreciate. The amount of effort that went into the song’s production is admirable. It has been reported that BG spent four months recording it on more than 128 tracks. In addition, there are several guest musicians and a real choir. The other song on the disc is an orchestral, acoustic-driven track called “Harvest of Sorrow”. It’s a hauntingly beautiful, previously unreleased track that will not appear on the forthcoming album.
I like this release on other levels as well. First of all, it shows a bold move by Century Media in the USA. This is the first single that the label has released in the 10 year existence of it’s North American division. I have my criticisms of the way the label has done things in this market, but this shows some progress. Debuting the single at the ProgPower 2.0 festival in Atlanta, GA was a nice touch, as I am sure there were people at the show who looked forward to that debut with as much enthusiasm as they looked forward to watching some of the bands that performed there. Secondly, the CD features a bonus multi-media feature. The extra is the video for “Born in a Mourning Hall” from the classic IMAGINATIONS FROM THE OTHER SIDE (4.75/5) album. The visual element is the band performing the song live, although the accompanying music is the studio version of the song. Being an American, I haven’t had the privilege of seeing the band live, so this was my first chance to see how they perform and that made the single worth the price of admission. During the performance Hansi is wearing a Charlotte Hornets t-shirt in the video, which brought a smile to the face of this Hornets fan. Hansi, if you happen to stumble across this review, I personally invite you and the band to come play Charlotte with your buddies in Iced Earth. The Hornets tickets will be my treat!
Official website: http://www.blind-guardian.com