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WEBCounter by GOWEB    

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   BLIND GUARDIAN
Live
2003
Virgin Records
http://www.blind-guardian.com


rating: 5/5

CD 1
1. War Of Wrath (Intro)
2. Into The Storm
3. Welcome To Dying
4. Nightfall
5. The Script For My Requiem
6. Harvest Of Sorrow
7. The Soulforged
8. Valhalla
9. Majesty
10. Mordred's Song
11. Born In A Mourning Hall

CD 2
1. Under The Ice
2. Bright Eyes
3. Punishment Divine
4. The Bard's Song (In The Forest)
5. Imaginations From The Other Side
6. Lost In The Twilight Hall
7. A Past And Future Secret
8. Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)
9. Journey Through The Dark
10. Lord Of The Rings
11. Mirror Mirror

What a masterpiece !!!

But let me tell you about the facts first: The double-CD contains 21 songs (plus intro) and a sound which blows you away! The tracks have been recorded all over the world (19 different locations), but unfortunately there's no detailed listing that tells what song was recorded where. Well, all together it's about 2 ¼ hours of Blind Guardian, CD 1 running for 64, CD 2 for about 70 minutes.
OK, now the songs: there's at least one of all the eight studio-works (including "The Forgotten Tales"), only one of the first two records ("Majesty" of the debut "Battalions Of Fear", and the legendary song "Valhalla" of "Follow The Blind"), but also one of the above mentioned "Forgotten Tales" ("Lord Of The Rings"), which is in my opinion no regular album, because it is untypical. And there is even one non-album-track, "Harvest Of Sorrow", which appears on the b-side of the "And Then There Was Silence"-single. Two songs from the 1991 output "Tales From The Twilight World", "Welcome To Dying" and "Lost In The Twilight Hall", two titles that have always been in the live setlist of the Guardians. Besides the "usual" "Bard's Song", there is with "Journey Through The Dark" another song of the 1992 masterpiece "Somewhere Far Beyond", which finally brought them into the metal heaven. That position could be stabilized with "Imaginations From The Other Side", of which there are besides the title track "The Script For My Requiem", "Mordred's Song", "Born In A Mourning Hall", "Bright Eyes" and the calm "A Past And Future Secret", all together six (!!) songs of that one. From "Nightfall In Middle-Earth", we get four songs plus the intro ("War Of Wrath", "Into The Storm", "Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)" and "Mirror Mirror"), and finally three tracks from the current studio album "A Night At The Opera", that are "The Soulforged", "Under The Ice" and "Punishment Divine".

As guest musicians, there appear besides the permanent guests Oliver Holzwart (bass) and Michael Schüren (keyboards) the Rhapsody-drummer and brother of Oliver, Alex Holzwart, because the original drummer Thomen Stauch had problems with the nerves in his hands while touring in South America. That will also be the reason for Thomen not to play the summer festivals in 2003.

The CD was mixed by Charlie Bauernfeind, who already produced and mixed the 2002 "N.I.M.E.", the cover was painted by Andreas Marschall, and the BG-logo is yellow again, while the logo of the last album and the last two singles were blue or red.

If I can believe the interviews and comments of the bands, then the songs are (almost) 100% live. Well, if we look at the fact that about 30 (!!) gigs were recorded, from which the band could pick the best versions, so there apparently should have been no need to touch up at all. Even the setlist wasn't always the same, so that they had more songs they could choose. Originally "And Then There Was Silence", the 14-minutes monumental song, was going to be on the CD, but unfortunately there was no usable recording available. In return for that, "Majesty" was not planned to be picked, but due to the popularity, the band decided to use it.
The outtakes (announcements, playing mistakes etc.) should actually be an a separate CD, but the band decided to drop that idea, because not all fans would be able to buy the first edition, so those tracks might be available online to download - we'll see.

Some more details concerning the quality of the songs: Vocalist Hansi Kürsch is in a very good shape, and so are the guitar-players André Olbrich (lead) and Marcus Siepen (rhythm); brilliant. But I didn't expect the drumsound to be as blowing-away as it finally is!!
The bass guitar and the keyboards are not mixed into the background, they are good to hear, the instruments build one tight band.
Then again, everything else than a brilliant sound would not have been acceptable, considering the mass of recordings.
The highlight of the CD is "The Bard's Song", which was recorded most definitely in Düsseldorf/Germany. Three or four minutes of applause, really stunning. It's giving me goosebumps.

This live-CD is setting new standards. The well-known ambition of the four men has made it a perfect cross-section through their career. Two thumbs and five points up !

submitted by Paddy 30.05.2003

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