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Review of the album "Nightfall in Middle Earth" by Blind Guardian

Updated on November 12, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Nightfall in Middle Earth and the cover that goes well with the album

The album cover shows a spirit standing next to the creatures of the kingdom. It seems like the spirit is trying to bring a sense of peace and calmness to the land.
The album cover shows a spirit standing next to the creatures of the kingdom. It seems like the spirit is trying to bring a sense of peace and calmness to the land.

Nightfall In Middle Earth Is a Different Kind of and a 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. 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 fret less 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: An Analysis of 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.

Analysis of the Songs Blood Tears and Mirror Mirror

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.


Favorite Blind Guardian Album Of The Following

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Analysis of the Song The Dark Elf

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

Final Thoughts About Nightfall in Middle Earth

Nightfall in Middle Earth gets a 90 out of 100 points from this writer. Looking back on this album, it is more than just something different that Blind Guardian did musically but they show that they are much more than a band that plays with speed and heaviness. Nightfall in Middle Earth is yet another example that shows that in the 1990s bands were changing their style and this album is no exception. Some fans will like this style change and other fans will not. I must admit I do sometimes miss the first four albums of Blind Guardian but whether it is by planning or because times were changing, Blind Guardian changed themselves and this album is a refreshing blend of at least a few different types of songs. I guess we could surmise that Blind Guardian went into the studio and tried something different and it worked out. It is like going into an ice cream store and trying out a few different flavors. The only type of song that Nightfall in Middle Earth does not have is the type of song that sounds like the old speed metal style.

Mirror Mirror

© 2016 Ara Vahanian


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