Review of the album Nightfall in Middle Earth by Blind Guardian
Nightfall in Middle Earth and the cover that goes well with the album
Nightfall In Middle Earth: A Different Kind Yet Very Good Album
German speed metal band Blind Guardian decided to take a different approach to their music with their 1998 concept style album Nightfall in Middle Earth. Those of you that have been used to hearing heavy, fast, hard-hitting music from these German metal masters will find this album a shock to your system because it is so different from their first two releases. But let me assure you that just because Nightfall in Middle Earth is different does not mean that it lacks in quality or is boring. On the contrary, it is a very interesting album. I remember receiving this album along with Lacuna Coil’s In a Reverie and Rotting Christ’s Sleep of the Angels album back in 1999 and was impressed with the result. This is the first time in the band’s career that Hansi Kursch does not play the bass guitar on an album. He decided at this point in time to focus on vocals exclusively. Oliver Holzwarth plays the bass guitar and fretless bass as a guest musician.
Where Do The Lyrical Themes For The Songs Come From?
The lyrical themes for the songs are based off of author J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Silmarillion which is a book of tales describing the first age of Middle-Earth. I have not read any of Tolkien’s books but I still think the album has lots of good moments and it shows that Blind Guardian does not always have to play fast to be good or entertaining.
Nightfall In Middle Earth: the Start of the Album Through the Song "The Minstrel"
Nightfall is the first really great song on the album following the short 28 second track called Lammoth where there is the sound of a beast roaring. As Hansi Kursch sings “Nightfall quietly it crept in and changed us all,” even with his German accent, he still has power to his voice which adds to the quality of the song and makes it one of the best in the band’s career. For some fans, songs such as Nightfall will be a shock because they have been used to hearing the heavy, hard-hitting musical stuff from these guys. If you give this song a chance, you might like it as I always have since 1999. Is Nightfall a timeless classic? Not quite but the harmony backing vocals are a nice edition to one of the band’s best songs ever. We then are treated to a nice, short tune called “The Minstrel” before one of the heaviest songs in “The Curse of Feanor” comes into your listening experience.
Not every track is a song in this album because there are spoken parts such as in the first track “War of Wrath. “The Minstrel” starts out with some acoustic guitar as it is a short track about someone waiting among a crowd of people wondering what will happen next.
Favorite Blind Guardian Album Of The Following
Which one of these Blind Guardian Albums Is Your Favorite One?
Nightfall in Middle Earth: the Other Songs
Even if Hansi Kursch seems to be trying too hard and straining his voice in this album the harmonic, melodic vocals create something different and they show me that Blind Guardian is still one of Germany’s premier power metal bands. Blood Tears is the next outstanding song on this album as it starts out with some well-done acoustic guitar. There is lots of melody present in the three minute mark. The song is about someone who has been through much struggle and been tormented so that he cries. Mirror Mirror has great chanting style vocals, melody and it is overall a great song to listen to. Some of you may feel like really turning up the volume on this one! The song is about having a difficult time turning back the clock to the way things were before when the people of the land lived in joy and bliss. Joy and bliss have been replaced by a world of flames and barren land. The track called “The Dark Elf” features the sound of rainfall along with vocals as we go into the song called Thorn. The songs tell the story of what is contained in The Silmarillion. Thorn has some Iron Maiden influenced guitar work. Here is another band that has been influenced by these British heavy metal legends.
The Song Called Blood Tears
Why Blind Guardian and Nightfall In Middle Earth Deserve Recognition
Blind Guardian also has been influenced by thrash metal bands as well. But they have variety in their music and that quality puts them above certain metal bands such as Slayer that usually focuses primarily on speed and aggression. I had mentioned previously that between 1988 and 1992, Blind Guardian had released four excellent albums in a row! Not too many bands can say that they have done this. Metallica accomplished this feat between 1983 and 1988. Not only did Blind Guardian establish themselves as one of the elite German heavy metal bands in the world. They also experimented with ballads such as Lord of the Rings and made it work. They also performed a cover of The Beach Boys’ Barbara Ann on their second album Follow the Blind after such a heavy album. Blind Guardian can play fast and heavy songs and create masterpieces such as Majesty. They can play ballads and even incorporate piano parts into their songs like in the song “The Eldar.” Blind Guardian with this 1998 album show their uniqueness in the music industry and once again show that they are one of Germany’s elite metal bands along with Kreator, Holy Moses, and Tankard. Nightfall in Middle Earth gets a 90 out of 100 points from this writer.
© 2016 Ara Vahanian