88.1 WKNC’s Pick of the Week 10/22
By Jonathan Newman, WKNC Chainsaw Music Director
How does one define epic? I believe, in my humble opinion, that if you were to look up the word epic in the dictionary you would see a picture of Blind Guardian’s latest magnum opus, At The Edge of Time.
This album is pure magic. From the opening strings and orchestra, to the closing guitar riff, this album is absolutely flawless. All of the songs on the album are based off of fantasy stories, and it really shines through in the lyrics.
The opening song, “Sacred Worlds,” was originally in the video game Sacred 2, where you had to find the band’s instruments in a quest. They extended the song with a full orchestra intro and outro, adding more depth and character to the song. This song immediately sets the tone for the whole album and gives you an idea for what you have in store.
The next song on the album that really shines is “Tanelorn (Into The Void),” based off the series of books Eternal Champion. The song is fast, having more speed metal akin to their earlier work. The guitars drive you forward, leading you to a catchy chorus you can’t help but sing along to.
One of my personal favorites, “Curse My Name,” is based off of John Milton’s novel, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrate, where a king is killed for not fulfilling his duties. It is an epic ballad where you will sing along to every word, and even raise your fist in the air, screaming the chorus at the top of your lungs. It is one of the best tracks on the album and quite possibly the best out of their entire 20 year discography, ranking second only to “The Bard’s Song (In The Forest)”, a crowd favorite.
Another stand out track, released as a single earlier this year, was “A Voice In The Dark.” This song is a combination of all things that makes Blind Guardian special. It is a fast, speed metal type song with a catchy chorus that cannot help but make you smile as you listen to it. Try as you might to resist, you will have trouble not singing along to the chorus every time it rolls around.
The last song to make mention of is “Wheel of Time,” based off of the Wheel of Time fantasy series written by Robert Jordan. This song is very much akin to the band’s last epic song, “And Then There Was Silence.” It is bombastic with its huge chorus where the lead vocalist, Hansi Kursch, vocals are layered upon each other.
It is a fantastic way to close an album, and one that will force you to play the CD again, and again.
All of the songs on here are beautiful and composed perfectly. The orchestra added to the songs con-tribute depth that one rarely finds in CDs these days.
This band has been together for over twenty years and have grown immensely; evolving from a speed metal band, to something that defies genres. I recommend this album for anyone who loves power metal, prog metal or even just music in general.
It is a fantastic album and one I think that will be very hard to top. I will be listening to this album until I reach the edge of time.
88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week is published every Friday in the print edition of Technician, as well as online at technicianonline.com and wknc.org.