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A Review of the album "Battalions of Fear" by German heavy metal band Blind Guardian

Updated on October 17, 2017

Battalions of Fear front album cover

The album cover fits well with the lyrical themes of the album. A dragon looks on in the background as two druids are playing chess.
The album cover fits well with the lyrical themes of the album. A dragon looks on in the background as two druids are playing chess. | Source

When Was the Album Battalions of Fear Released and Who Plays on It?

There are certain heavy metal bands that get their career off to such a great start that their debut album ends up being their finest work. There is a good chance that even in 2017, Battalions of Fear could be their best work but their early releases are so good that you don’t know which one to say is their best. In 1988, German heavy metal band Blind Guardian released their debut album called Battalions of Fear. The album was produced by Kalle Trapp and was released on May 17, 1988. The album focuses mainly on speed and aggression. I think they really started off doing VERY well, beating bands such as Exodus and even Megadeth. Blind Guardian were one of the elite German bands from 1987-1992. In that five year period, they released four very good albums. The song Majesty has always been a fan favorite. It starts off with a short soft section before going into a fast Blind Guardian song with the harsh vocals of Hansi Kursch.

The other members of this band are guitarists Andre Olbrich and Marcus Siepen and drummer Thomas Stauch. Note: Stauch was the drummer of Blind Guardian from 1987 through 2005.

Track Listing for Battalions of Fear

  1. Majesty
  2. Guardian of the Blind
  3. Trial of the Archon
  4. Wizard’s Crown
  5. Run for the Night
  6. The Martyr
  7. Battalions of Fear
  8. By the Gates of Moria (instrumental)
  9. Gandalf’s Rebirth (instrumental)

Battalions of Fear: the review songs 1-4

The way that the song Majesty starts, you might be thinking that this is going to be soft song all the way throughout. But it is a fast thrash metal song about a warrior that is ready to leave his land. He is being chased by goblins with no hero to help him out. He informs the king that the land has been lost even though the battle continues as he is busy trying to rid the world of evil forces. Guardian of the Blind starts with some drumming and then turns into another excellent thrash metal song. Trial of the Archon is a short instrumental that leads into the fourth song Wizard’s Crown. The song was originally called Halloween when the band was under the name of Lucifer’s Heritage. It is about a person that returns to a castle years later. He must find the Amber Stone. He has a premonition that this he holds the key to his fortune, that this is his destiny. As the battle with the wizard begins, he finds that he is in the toughest battle of his life. Although he is losing the battle, he known that death would mean a major defeat for him. There is no mention of what happens to him but we can assume that he is victorious in the end. Hansi Kursch at this time was playing the bass guitar in addition to doing the vocals.

Battalions of Fear: the review songs 5-9

Run for the Night is about someone that is making his escape to these hills that he cannot see but he knows that he has to reach it before he is tracked down and killed by the one called the Dark Lord. After that good song, next comes the song called The Martyr. In this song we hear Hansi Kursch letting out quite a few screams. In the previous song, his vocal extension is impressive as he sings “run for the night.” Fates Warning vocalist John Arch would do well to listen to this guy. That is the way to extend your voice! By this point. It should be obvious to the listener that Blind Guardian’s lyrical themes tend to focus on fantasy based creatures such as goblins, dragons, and warlocks (wizards).

In spite of the fact that Battalions of Fear has three instrumental songs, it may be Blind Guardian’s finest work in terms of songwriting. There is also some melody especially in the song By the Gates of Moria. In the last song Gandalf’s Rebirth, I see an Iron Maiden influence in the guitar playing and even in the bass lines. That makes the song no less impressive as it is an outstanding finish to a solid album.

The song called Majesty

What Makes Blind Guardian Better Than Some Other Bands?

I have not heard any of Blind Guardian’s releases after Nightfall in Middle Earth but in this writer’s opinion, Blind Guardian is a band that should be a favorite for most heavy metal fans. Battalions of Fear is an excellent thrash metal release because of the great guitar playing, speed, melody, and compositions. Blind Guardian is a better band than other bands such as Slayer, Exodus, and even Megadeth because they don’t focus just on speed. They have the total package in terms of great attributes for a band. I highly recommend Battalions of Fear for all thrash metal fans around the world.

The song called Guardian of the Blind.

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© 2016 Ara Vahanian

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