1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 16

Imaginations of the Other Side, by Blind Guardian
Suggested by Ross Silcock

If I’d heard this album in 1989, I’d have been ALL OVER IT. As it was released in 1995, that was sadly an impossibility without a Tardis, a Delorean or a hot tub.

Blind Guardian are a German Power Metal band, and they deliver exactly that: German Power Metal. Owing a huge debt to Helloween, they have all the driving bass drums and power-pop metal riffs you’d expect. They have a strong vocalist, able to growl like the requisite beast and twiddle like a court jester as the song dictates.

You want Serious Songs with Serious Lyrics about Serious Things? You’ve got ‘em.

I mean, just look at the song titles… “A Past and Future Secret,” “Born in a Mourning Hall,” “The Script or my Requiem” … There’s more than a hint of Spinal Tap here, or Manowar in their bronzer-smeared pomp.

The comparison to Spinal Tap extends to the music, especially when the songs slow themselves into their melodious slower sections. They take on a medieval tone, becoming regal and courtly, akin to the Witcher theme if I’m being generous or to Stonehenge if I’m not.

“But Helloween did exactly the same,” I hear someone say. “They had songs called ‘The Keeper of the Seven Keys,” and “Eagle Fly Free,” and they were all about the overblown and ridiculous sound. Why do you have a fondness for them still?”

It’s a good question, with a simple answer. It’s nostalgia. I remember the grand times I had back in my teens rocking out to bands like Helloween and Motley Crue and, yes, Manowar. The songs mean something more that the sum of their parts.

And that’s why I’ll be unlikely to return to Imaginations From the Other Side, or to Blind Guardian in general, even though their German Power Metal is a grand example of the form. While I quite like the songs, especially Born in a Mourning Hall, they don’t have that extra hook that’d draw me to them that’s beyond rhyme or reason. When scratching this particular musical itch, a 5/10 album by a new-to-me band just can’t compete with the blushing fugue of teenage abandon that cranking out the personal classics can conjure. Sorry BG, but you’re just a few years out of luck.

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