By Jason Wellwood
At The Edge of Time is a power metal/fantasy fiction nerd’s dream. Intro song ‘Sacred Worlds’ was originally written for a video game (Sacred 2: Fallen Angel) , the second track is based on Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion series, and it just continues from there. Including 2 tracks based on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (‘Ride Into Obsession’ and ‘Wheel of Time’), 2 based on writings by John Milton and 2 based on George R. R. Martin’s writings. It seems a little pretentious and over the top but…Blind Guardian deliver an incredible album! It’s absolutely HUGE sounding and powerful from moment one. The orchestral beginnings of ‘Sacred Worlds’ slowly builds to full gallop which, in true Blind Guardian style, brings you right to the brink of standing on your seat to shout along….only to stop dead, pause for a moment and slowly bring you back up again, revisiting the main theme, a little flute trill, a slow fade and BOOM back into the metal again with the next track. ‘Tanelorn (Into The Void)’ is that song where you can imagine yourself in Hansi Kursch’s spot live on stage bringing the entire audience to their feet as they all sing along and pound their fists into the air as you chant ‘cry for Tanelorn’.
Make no mistake, this is POWER metal. The songs on At The Edge of Time are arranged with a classical ear, the attention to detail on this album cannot be denied. From the lyrical content, to Andre Olbrich’s melodic and powerful solos, Hansi Kursch’s vocal performance is stellar and you’d swear that Frederik Ehmke had been spelled to have a metronome for a heart and 8 arms. The man is a monster drummer! Marcus Siepen also does an incredible job on rhythm bringing a subtle flavour to the compositions that helps to whisk you off to the places Kursch is singing about. Adding in a little bit of prog flavour here and there, some flute, percussion, bagpipes, keyboards and huge choral backing vocals, Blind Guardian have created a power metal masterpiece.
Blind Guardian has created these incredible fantasy based songs without a trace of pretension, and not a wink and a nod either. Blind Guardian are unapologetically power metal and after hearing this record, no one would hold that against them.