Blind Guardian A Night At The Opera

Oh, Christ! An album called A Night At The Opera coming from the Teutonic power metal-affected minds of Blind Guardian. If you’re already bracing yourself for an extensive workout of limp-wristed Euro metal with air raid siren vocals and artificially generated symphony addendums, then you’d be thinking exactly along the lines I was. Far be it for the band to let us like-minded cynics down, but the power metal pomp and circumstance is limited to the occasional intro and the horrendous "The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight.” The rest of this is astoundingly well constructed and polished metal that is not only performed with a flashy gusto, as one would expect, but also displays a good helping of corrosive grit emanating from its grooves. Blind Guardian’s music is astutely layered with the lively rhythm section acting as both the driving force and foil to the dual guitar lines and multi-tracked vocals. To argue that they don’t take influence from many stages of Germanic metal history is retarded (the band being from Germany and all) but they’re doing so much more than what’s expected of them. Listen to "Battlefield‚” "Under the Ice” and "And Then There Was Silence‚” where they play into the hands of contemporary power metal, and just before non-power/prog fans write them off they hit you with something unexpected: an explosive discordant solo, an unusual breakdown, unexpected tempo changes. This alone would make for an excellent listen if it weren’t for the majestic metal architecture that surrounds their more groundbreaking goods. Brilliant. (Century Media)