Using the phrase “more of the same” is rarely a complement but in the case of the new Blind Guardian album “Beyond the Red Mirror, the band have picked up where they left off from their last release “At the Edge of Time.” That release was one of my favorite Blind Guardian albums to date. They had gotten back to what makes them a great band. Over the top arrangements with orchestration, tons of hooks and a grandiose attitude unmatched in the metal world.
As with any Blind Guardian album the key is the distinctive voice of Hansi Kürsch. No one sounds like Hansi. When you hear Blind Guardian, you KNOW it’s them and he is a big reason. “Beyond the Red Mirror” showcases his vocals as always. Another key is the bands ability to switch from orchestral/symphonic metal to flat-out speed metal.
They started predominantly as a speed metal band, so it’s great that songs like “The Holy Grail”
harkens back to what put the band on the map But their over-the-top progressive side is on full display on tracks like the opener “The Ninth Wave,” “At the Edge of Time” (is that left over from the last album?) and the epic closer (and quite catchy!) “Grand Parade.” There’s even a gentle ballad with “Miracle Machine.”
The other thing that Blind Guardian fans will love is that the album is that “Beyond the Red Mirror” is a concept album AND a sequel to the classic “Imaginations from the Other Side.” The good thing about that is that “Beyond the Red Mirror” stacks up nicely to that classic album. There is no question that the band are on a roll with no weak tracks on this album, plenty of variety and most of all – it’s a rich album sonically. Blind Guardian have done it again and really it’s no surprise.