Having risen to the top of the power metal world, Blind Guardian have become so much more than that; the band have become recognized simply as a musical group whose emotion-packed music written with vivid imagination has attracted fans of all walks of life. While it's normal to hear that "they are big in Europe and Japan" about bands like this, the same can be said about the normally unfriendly (towards melodic metal) American market. With little press, no radio and little major record store chain support, Blind Guardian has quietly sold a very respectable amount of units. Virtually through word-of-mouth, Blind Guardian has developed a rabid fan base that buy every release, every import and every bootleg they can find as soon as it is available. Looking for the next big thing? It's already here, and it started in the small town of Krefeld, Germany.
Originated under the name Lucifer's Heritage, the group soon changed their name to Blind Guardian and released two demos, titled Symphonies Of Doom (1986) and Battalions Of Fear (1987), which garnered them a deal with No Remorse Records. Their 1988 debut album Battalions Of Fear, produced by Kalle Trapp (Saxon, Grave Digger) was received with great respect among the heavy metal underground due to its uncompromising mix of speed and power metal with classic elements. In 1989 Follow The Blind, also produced by Kalle Trapp, saw Blind Guardian experiment using orchestral parts for the first time. This recording also introduced the band to Japan where it stayed high on the import charts for many months. With two highly praised releases now under their belt, the act knew the third one was crucial to their success and could very well raise them from the underground. In Germany Tales From The Twilight World sold 30,000 copies in no time and thus marked the band's breakthrough in their home country. The group's continued evolution saw them utilize more classical and orchestral elements, perhaps in the process making their brilliant music more accessible to a broader fan base. These evolutionary steps intermixed with the band's speed and power would become their trademark sound.
The incredible sound that the group forged, along with their impressive sales, had labels across Europe courting the band. The act finally did sign with a larger label, but not the typical step up to a well-known independent label; 1992 Blind Guardian signed with Virgin Records, making them one of the very few power metal bands to be signed to a major label. Although not officially released in America, Somewhere Far Beyond quickly sold 130,000 copies worldwide and resulted in their first trip to Japan a year later where a live album was recorded. The live album, Tokyo Tales (1993), proved that Blind Guardian had matured internationally as on this very first tour of Japan they played sold-out venues of over 2,500 people a night. In the summer of 1994 they journeyed to Copenhagen's Sweet Silence studios to record Imaginations From The Other Side with world-renowned producer Flemming (Metallica) Rasmussen, this turned out to be their most mature work to date. Even though success is usually celebrated by simply putting out 'best of' albums, Blind Guardian chose a different way. Instead of making their fans spend money on well-known stuff, they went to the trouble to offer something special. In the spring of 1996 the band released Forgotten Tales, which contains some cover songs, a live track, four acoustic and one orchestral version of previous Blind Guardian songs.
Having spent over two years in the making, the band's musical genius continued on Nightfall In Middle-Earth (1998). Once again with the help of Flemming Rasmussen (mixing and engineering), the group created a finely sculpted concept album based on JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion. Although technically twenty-two tracks, there are eleven songs on this release that vary from the rage of uncontrolled power, speed, opulent epic orchestral sequences and softer, acoustic renaissance-type parts. The interlude tracks are intricately woven with troubadour singing, minnesinger, spoken words and flute and violin arrangements to evoke a powerful atmosphere to complement the songs. This release helped Blind Guardian conquer another foe; the American market. Finally on this record the band, through Century Media Records, would see an official American release. Fans across the North American continent rejoiced at the thought of no longer paying the atrociously high import price, let alone actually finding the record in stores. Having had a great amount of initial success, the label quickly made available Imaginations From The Other Side, Somewhere Far Beyond and Tales From The Twilight World.
After a short interlude that saw vocalist Hansi Kursch join up with Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer on the highly celebrated Demons And Wizards project, the band got back to work writing and recording. Now after nearly two years, we get a partial sample of this hard work. "And Then There Was Silence", a fourteen-minute epic, will be released as a single to prelude the band's upcoming record. Produced by Charlie (Angra, Helloween, Gamma Ray) Bauerfeind at Twilight Hall Studios in Grefrath-Oedt, Germany, "And Then There Was Silence" took four months to record! This mammoth of a song lyrically based around the Trojan War was recorded using more than 128 tracks, including fifty for the vocals and thirty for the guitars. After thirteen months of extensive recording and mixing, the band are set on having the rest of the new album finished by November 30th, 2001. The single will also feature "Harvest of Sorrow", which was recorded during the group's Nightfall in Middle-Earth sessions but was left off that release due to it not fitting properly with the content of that album. The single will also include a special live performance video shot on the band's Imaginations From The Other Side tour of the song "Born In A Mourning Hall" as a special multi-media track for fans. Century Media, currently celebrating its tenth anniversary of operations in the US, has never before released a CD single-but due to the fierce devotion of Blind Guardian's fans, the label wants to make available this special release in time for the holiday season.
Nevertheless the tentative high point in the career of Blind Guardian was the "A Night at the Opera" crusade. Andre Olbrich: "In Germany we had an average of 2,000 guests an evening, whereas the gig in the Phillipshalle (Dusseldorf), attended by over 6,000 fans, was the most touching moment to date. After we played "The Bard's Song", the traditional highlight of our program, Hansi wasn't able to communicate with the audience for about five minutes because the jubilation was so loud."
This scene is evidenced by the live documentation simply called "LIVE". The Guardian-mania was spread all over the globe: in Turkey and Chile the band debuted in front of more than 3,000 spectators. The first concert in the capital of Russia, Moscow, went so off so terrific that the local publicist obliged the band for another concert after the official end of the tour. In England - normally a tricky terrain for traditional Metal bands, especially if they are from Germany - Blind Guardian were engaged as headliner for the Bloodstock festival. And even the first trip to North America was more successful than expected: "In big towns like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Montreal, 1,500 to 2,000 maniacs came to our shows!"
In 2003 the fresh founded Blind Guardian Open Air Festival - which took place near Coburg - was the triumphal ending of the tour activities for "A Night at the Opera". For the first time, the band was responsible for the complete realization of a festival. More than 6,000 enthusiastic "die hard" bards attended the festival in June, which wrote music history. Highlights full of atmosphere of these ultimate Blind Guardian shows can be watched on the live DVD "Imaginations through the Looking Glass" (2004). Even classics like "The Bard's Song" redefine themselves because of the innovative camera perspectives and the tasteful used tracking shots sliding over the audience, which gives the songs a mystical depth. The strongest effect is caused by the 13 minute long opus "And Then There Was Silence" (from "A Night at the Opera"): The perfect assembly of light and camera causes endless gooseflesh atmosphere.
Before the phenomenal crusade in music business can write the next chapters, as is generally known, the gods placed the sweat. After the departure from their longstanding record company Virgin in 2004, Blind Guardian was able to find the perfect partner for worldwide cooperation in Nuclear Blast. Despite the split with drummer Thomen Stauch, the band is the final phase of song writing for the follower of "A Night at the Opera". The new songs can described as a further development of the predecessors. The outstanding qualities of the music of Blind Guardian: bombast, flexibility, dynamics, epos, hardness and a high amount of catchy melodies are descriptions of every song to be found on the new album, which is expected for April 2006. In brief the band will start the recordings with producer Charlie Bauerfeind...
The group has had an incredible career so far, breaking down barriers and taking their music to a level seldom seen by any group of musicians. Blind Guardian are one of a very small circle of groups to not have a member change ever in over ten years of their existence, perhaps that is what happens when a band remains true to themselves.
Blind Guardian mp3 download
Easy Guitar Tabs Blind Guardian