A Review of the Album Follow the Blind by German Speed Metal Band Blind Guardian
Follow the Blind Album Cover
What makes Follow the Blind a significant album to have?
Blind Guardian’s album Follow the Blind is the band’s second album release. Recorded in 1989, the album features a combination of fast drumming, lightning fast guitars and melody. The lineup for this album features the members that have appeared throughout most of the band’s long history. Drummer Thomas Stauch departed the band in 2005 due to musical differences with the rest of the members. Andre Olbrich and Marcus Siepen handle the guitar playing duties. These German heavy metal veterans sure know how to make the listener feel that they are entertained. Blind Guardian may not have as much speed as Holy Moses or Kreator but they have plenty of good drumming and melodies. This is a great way to finish off the decade of the 1980's for Blind Guardian just as Metallica finished off this decade with a flourish! Follow the Blind is such an outstanding release that it makes Judas Priest’s 1980 album British Steel sound like nothing in comparison! Blind Guardian got off to a very impressive start as well with their 1987 debut album Battalions of Fear. Unlike the band Mokoma, Blind Guardian are more melodic in their guitar playing and there is not really an emphasis on having a hardcore influence. Melodic thrash metal definitely is more exciting. So who are the members that played on this 1989 classic?
The Band Members That Play on the Album Follow the Blind
Hansi Kursch: vocals and bass guitars (until 1998)
Andre Olbrich: guitars
Marcus Siepen: guitars
Thomen (sometimes credited as Thomas) Stauch: drums
The Musical Highlights of the Album: the Songs Banish from Sanctuary & Damned for All Time
The first track called Inquisition is not really a song, but some chanting that you would probably hear in a church. Banish from Sanctuary is the second track and immediately the listener is exposed to Blind Guardian’s fast guitar playing that would be common on their first three releases. The guitar solo in this song is pretty good too. The third track called Damned for All Time is probably the best song on the album due to the awesome rhythm that you hear. You can also hear the German accent from vocalist and bassist Hansi Kursch as he sings. He has a good rough voice that matches the songs. There are vocalists that have a higher pitch than Hansi but Hansi shows that he is more than competent and qualified.
"Damned for All Time"
The Songs Follow the Blind Through Beyond the Ice
Follow The Blind starts out slower with a soft acoustic part in the beginning. Over seven minutes long this is easily the longest song in the album but it is a good mid-tempo kind of song. The song finishes with a beautiful melodic part at the end and this is the most classic part of the song. The title track in particular shows the melodic excellence of Blind Guardian. The next two tracks Hall of the King and Run Fast to Madness feature pure melody and speed and I personally love these two songs. The chants of “run fast to madness” make the song more exciting because they add to the quality by making it something you want to listen to and have a beer while you jump up and down in extreme excitement. Beyond the Ice is just an instrumental song which is pretty good. However, just because Blind Guardian was fast and heavy earlier in their career it does not mean that they relied just on speed alone because at the end of the title track there is the acoustic guitar mixed in with the lead guitar to create a solid finish.
"Banish from Sanctuary"
The Album Ends with Songs Like Valhalla and a Cover of the Song Barbara Ann
Valhalla features some vocal contributions from Gamma Ray’s Kai Hansen. Kai has a pretty good vocal range as he lets out these screams in the song. The album also contains two cover songs. The first of these is called Don’t Break the Circle. The next one is the Beach Boys’ famous song Barbara Ann. Blind Guardian does an interesting job with the song and it is a fun way to finish off the album. For fans of early Metallica or even Exodus you will love this album. If you are looking for an album that has speed, aggression, and nice melodies, you will love this album. I would rate this album a solid 8.5 out of 10. Or if we want to get back to the standard way of scoring album reviews, Follow the Blind gets no less than an 85 out of 100 points.
"Barbara Ann" The Beach Boys Cover
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© 2016 Ara Vahanian