Blind Guardian - A Twist in the Myth Listening Party
New York City - August 21, 2006
* Review and pictures by Shaq
When I found out that Blind Guardian was going to hold a listening party for their new CD titled A TWIST IN THE MYTH in none other than New York City, I knew that it was an event I could not let myself miss. The event itself was open to all fans over the age of 21, so I wasn?t sure what to expect from the crowd. I arrived on the early side, about half an hour before the scheduled start and there wasn?t much of a crowd gathering yet. I used this time to check out the venue being used, which I would liken to a dungeon of sorts?a very metal environment, you could say. As the starting time drew closer, more and more people poured in, and it was rather cramped in the small dungeon.
Right on time, singer Hansi K?rsch and lead guitarist Andr? Olbrich walk down the stairs to a hero?s welcome. It was truly a sight to behold, comparable to a movie star walking out onto the red carpet. It is certainly not something you get to see every day, and the two bards seemed to enjoy it. They made their way through the crowd, talking to people and taking pictures as they went. Eventually they made their way to a table that had been set up, where they began signing autographs for anyone, and as many as they wanted. Nuclear Blast gift bags were also being handed out, containing a poster and a promotional CD from the label. I should also mention that the poster being distributed weren?t the usual promo posters that are quite small, but instead were full size posters based on the new album artwork.
While they were signing autographs, the new album began playing on the speakers for everyone to hear for the first time. The overall crowd reaction seemed very positive, with a lot of people banging their heads in enjoyment. When the song ?Fly? came on, many could be seen singing along, as the song had been released as a single prior to the party. Likewise, when ?Skalds & Shadows? came on, another song from the FLY single, the crowd got together and began clapping along to the song, and singing along as well. It was truly a fun sight to behold, and the band surely must have felt great about the positive response to the new material.
After signing autographs, Hansi and Andr? just walked around the crowd hanging out with anyone willing to talk. At one point Hansi was even handed a cell phone to speak to someone who couldn?t make it, which he did more than willingly. Since the band came over just for this, and didn?t have anywhere they had to rush to, they were willing to hang out as long as needed to spend time with everyone, and they were extremely grateful for the experience. Not much more can be said about the night, other than that if you were in the area I hope you were there. Below is a brief assessment of the new album, which is due for release on September 5, 2006 from Nuclear Blast Records. This is by no means a review of the CD, but simply a thought or two about each track on the album.
This Will Never End
This track kicks the album off with a very aggressive riff, and stands as one of my favorite tracks off the album.
This track has a way of sticking in my head for hours at a time. Blind Guardian has a knack for writing catchy choruses and this song is no exception.
Turn The Page
This one starts off with a grandiose folk-like introduction, which proceeds into the sound you?ve come to expect from Blind Guardian in their more recent albums.
I admit that when I first heard this song when it was released as a single, I was on the fence about it. However, more listens warmed me up to it, and I simply love it now. It, along with the rest of the album, is really the logical progression Blind Guardian would make after their last album, and they continue demonstrating their ability to write music with great hooks.
Carry The Blessed Home
?Carry The Blessed Home? starts of very soft, with soothing vocals and instrumentation. It eventually leads into heavier music, then returns to the former. This song is full of emotion, from both the music and the vocals.
Another Stranger Me
This one continues in the vein of many of the earlier tracks on the album with a heavy, catchy riff in the beginning which leads into yet another catchy chorus.
Straight Through the Mirror
This is another straightforward track, which actually demonstrates some pretty interesting drumming at times. With the departure of Stauch prior to this album, most fans were left wondering how that would affect the sound of this album. I can say that, even though Frederik Ehmke doesn?t add everything that Thomen did (who could, really?), the band really pulled out the stops with this album and put out a great release.
The ?army of Hansi?s?, as the effect has been called in the past, really show up in this song, with a powerful vocal performance as would be expected from Mr. K?rsch.
Skalds and Shadows
This was the other track previously released on the FLY single. It instantly brings to mind older songs of theirs like ?The Bard?s Song,? which have that ability to inspire the listener to sing along and enter the fantasy world created by the music.
After a bit of a break given by the last track, ?The Edge? begins building up the aggressiveness once again, eventually exploding into yet another great track on the album.
The New Order
Finally, the last track on the album begins with a soft introduction, which then slams into heavy riffing and the usual Hansi screams, which are like no other.
Dead Sound of Misery (bonus track)
The bonus track on this was a bit of a surprise for me. It?s not usual for a band to include a bonus track containing music almost identical to a standard track on that album (that being ?Fly? in this case), with entirely different vocals and other slight variations. On top of that, Hansi told me during the party that this track was actually written after ?Fly,? and I guess they decided they liked ?Fly? better. I can second that, because while ?Dead Sound of Misery? isn?t a bad song by far, it lacks a lot of the hooks and melodies found in ?Fly? that make it a great song. Ultimately, it made for a cool bonus track.