Categories
New Album Review

Blind Guardian sails to the edge of time

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.

Categories
Weekly Charts

8/23 Top Ten albums on WKNC’s Chainsaw

Artist Album Label
#1 CEPHALIC CARNAGE “Misled by Certainty” [single]
#2 RHAPSODY OF FIRE The Frozen Tears of Angels Sabaton Coat of Arms
#3 BLIND GUARDIAN At the Edge of Time Nuclear Blast
#4 DRAGONFIRE Twilight Dementia Roadrunner
#5 NIGHTFALL Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrant Metal Blade
#6 KING OF ASGARD Fi’mbulvintr
#7 NEVERMORE The Obsidian Conspiracy Century Media
#8 IRON MAIDEN The Final Frontier
#9 TARJA What Lies Beneath The End
#10 WITHIN THE RUINS Invade Victory
Categories
Concert Review

Noobhammer’s Round Table: Part I, The Boris Review

Noobhammer here again with another discussion of the table that is round. This week I have four topics to touch with the mighty Excalibur. Two of those topics are reviews of concerts I have been to recently—Boris and Cynic; the other two topics are album reviews. One, for me at least, is the long awaited Blind Guardian album At The Edge of Time, and the new Iron Maiden album, The Final Frontier. However, due to the length of these subjects, I will be dividing it into 3 segments, which will span this entire week, so look for the other two later this week.  So once again, let us delve deep into my brain, which is littered with Magic: The Gathering cards, D20s, and of course dragons I wish I could train and ride. First, I’m going to give you guys a look at the least power-metal item in this entry, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t powerful. This is of course Boris at the Cat’s Cradle.

From the moment I walked through the doors of Cat’s Cradle and took up my usual spot at the front-center of the stage, I knew that I was about to witness something special. The stage was giving off a vibe as the Sunn (O))) amps stood there gleaming in light, lowly humming, barely audible over the talking of the crowd. Soon the lights dimmed, darkening the stage, and the opening band took the stage. For the life of me, I can’t remember their name. Maybe at the old age of 22, my memory is finally starting to fade from me, but what I can remember is that they put on a great show. Two guys  from the Czech Republic just rocking out, enjoying their tour.

As soon as they finished playing, no one moved from their spots as the lights came back up, and the stage techs feverishly worked to set up Boris’ drum kit and tune their instruments. The tension inside of me started to build as the workers one by one left the stage, the last one blinking a flashlight towards the back of the venue, signaling that they were ready. Almost instantly the lights dimmed, and the crowd rose as one in a roar of excitement as fog began to cover the stage. The members of Boris walked through the clouds, like the Japanese monsters they are. As they took their positions on the stage, I felt my excitement begin to boil over as I watched with anticipation.

Suddenly from out of nowhere, I felt as if I had been struck by a 747. After the initial wave of shock had passed over me, I realized that feeling was the first note of Boris playing. A low, driving hum, echoing from amps signaled the start of my journey. The high guitars notes slowly crescendoed, mixing with the bass to form a haunting melody that stirs the deepest recesses of your soul. I didn’t have time to even comprehend what was happening as Takeshia began to wail mournfully into the mike, his voice barely audible over the drone of guitars and drumming.

My mind was lost in a trance as they band continued to play. I couldn’t believe what was happening in front of me. There are only five instances I can think of in which I have been truly blown away, and left speechless by a band: Isis, Jesu, Pelican, Nine Inch Nails, and now, Boris. I have listened to many of their studio albums, Smile and Pink being two of my favorites, but they never prepared me for the live show. Not even the live albums prepared me enough for the audio onslaught against my ears and even my soul. Watching them live had me rooted to the spot, my mouth agape in wonder at the beauty and chaos in front of me. The guitars washed over one another, forming melodies within their layers.

Even their faster paced songs didn’t cause the crowd to break into a ruckus and mosh. We banged our heads, but we couldn’t move from where we were standing. Boris seemed to have cast a spell over everyone in the venue. As they played through all their songs, not once did I lose focus, become distracted, or even wish for them to end. In fact, I wanted them to continue playing well into the night. It wasn’t until they finished playing the Black Sabbath-esque “1970” and said goodnight to us all that the spell was broken. I looked around in confusion, like so many others around me, trying to explain what I had just witnessed. When I turned back to the stage, the band had left as mysteriously as they came. Luckily I got to meet them after the show and talk to them, but when asked about the seemingly magical and entrancing effect of their show, all I got from them was a smile.

-Noobhammer

Categories
Weekly Charts

8/16 Top Ten albums on WKNC’s Chainsaw

Artist Album Label
#1 NEVERMORE The Obsidian Conspiracy Century Media
#2 IRON MAIDEN The Final Frontier
#3 IRON THRONES The Wretched Sun no label needed
#4 BLIND GUARDIAN At the Edge of Time Nuclear Blast
#5 SABATON Coat of Arms Nuclear Blast
#6 KATAKLYSM Heaven’s Venom Nuclear Blast
#7 MOSE GIGANTICUS Gift Horse Relapse
#8 SHADOWGARDEN Ashen Napalm
#9 CITY OF FIRE City of Fire Shostroud
#10 SHOWDOWN Blood in the Gears Solid State
Categories
Weekly Charts

Week of 8/9: Top ten Loud Rock albums

Artist Album Label
#1 BLIND GUARDIAN At the Edge of Time Nuclear Blast
#2 IRON THRONES The Wretched Sun No label needed
#3 NACHTMYSTIUM Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II Century Media
#4 SABATON Coat of Arms
#5 HASTE THE DAY Attack of the Wolf King Solid State
#6 ANTAGONIST World in Decline Prosthetic
#7 HIGH CONFESSIONS Turning Lead into Gold with the High Confessions Relapse
#8 BLACK LABEL SOCIETY Order of the Black
#9 MOSE GIGANTICUS Gift Horse Relapse
#10 EMERGENCY STATE The Nemesis Construct Metalville