Blind Guardian: Imaginations from the Other Side

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Blind Guardian: Imaginations from the Other Side
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Blind Guardian: Imaginations from the Other Side
Power Metal
Virgin Records
April 5th, 1995
Release length: 49:17
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Imaginations from the Other Side is easily one of the best Blind Guardian albums to be recorded, and after a strong start from this band, there really was nothing less expected from the group, even after successfully transitioning from Thrash to Power Metal not too long before this release on their third full-length, Tales from the Twilight World. The music on this release winds up being perhaps their strongest compositions yet, and really sets the standard for the band’s future releases, though many of them found the band really experimenting moreso with this sound then anything. While the album isn’t quite flawless, it’s still by far one of their most astounding releases, and at least the one negative aspect of this release is not the band’s fault.

There has been many complaints about the production of the album, claiming that it’s not as good as it could have been. The album’s production quality is rather nice for it’s time period, but on the lighter songs just doesn’t feel like it was the best it could possibly have been. The overall volume of the album is actually rather low, and often the vocals sound like they can be drowned out against the music. This becomes highly noticable at the end of the album with the songs “Another Holy War” as well as “And the Story End”. The bass, however, gets a nice touch and winds up being a pleasantly loud level in the mix that winds up adding a whole other layer to the music because of it and the way it’s composed into the songs often. It would have been nice to have the vocals, as well as the overall volume up just a little more, but in the end the album is still effective and hits the listener hard with the band’s new found level of epic Power Metal compositions.

Outside the production issues, Imaginations from the Other Side is a highly enjoyable album that feeds off the band’s earlier input, having tracks that border both the Thrash and Speed metal styles through the speed and intensity incorporated into the music, while still retaining the band’s more fantastical Power Metal sound that has brought them to the forefront of metal in the first place, moving along at a pace that almost feels conceptual. While the openning title track “Imaginations from the Other Side” build things up into an epic Power Metal song that almost acts like an introduction to this masterpiece, things quickly jump into the more faster paced tones of “I’m Alive” and “The Script for My Requiem”, the latter still having a Thrash attitude while focusing moreso on the Power Metal sound primarily around the chorus sections. “A Past and Future Secret” breaks things up a bit between the two thanks to it’s slower ballad approach that show off the beautiful fantastical side of the band nicely without any sort of hard hitting madness, leading to a very interesting and entertaining track. The same thing can be said about “Mordred’s Song”, which essentially follows the same ideals but actually carries with it a heavier fantastical feel thanks to the use of alternate musical instruments one would associate with medievil based time periods that work well with the latter electric guitars.

Every track on this release is fantastic, though the ones that stick out the most are the heavier, faster tracks obviously. “I’m Alive”, “The Script for My Requiem” and “Born in a Mourning Hall” are fantastic tracks that really just come at you hard and have a very unique sound to them that is hard to find in many bands, being both beautiful and often chaotic through very talented musicianship and compositions. However, at the same time the slower paced tracks, like “A Past and Future Secret” and even the single “Bright Eyes” really show off the power the band can really introduce into their music and create a very moving soundscape that can practically lift the listener and place them in a whole other world. The only time these factors don’t really work out would be “Another Holy War” and “And the Story Ends”. While these two tracks are still fantastic listens, and “Another Holy War” really captures the band’s older Thrash roots nicely, compared to the more unique songs that appear here, they feel a little generic and uninspired at times, bringing the album to a slower conclusion that leaves the listener wanting just a little more, but this fault isn’t necessarily through the band, but moreso through the production quality that simply does not do these tracks justice by making them feel a little too hollow thanks to various things like the march drumming utilized during “Another Holy War”. Luckily these tracks aren’t bad and still greatly enjoyable in the long run, and are at least able to be considered more as a different direction for the band considering the musical variety that appears throughout the album to prevent it from becoming stale.

Imaginations from the Other Side is a very influential and moving piece from Blind Guardian, and winds up being one of the band’s more important releases thanks to the variety in music that really pushes the album along at such a rampant pace, causing this to be an album that the listener will come back to time and time again. If you haven’t had the opportunity to pick up this release, then what are you waiting for? This, like many other albums by Blind Guardian, will surely wet your whistle for fantastical metal, and the band’s ability to bring in some great true intensity to the mix without losing their more Power edge just makes this release all the more important to track down and add to your collection.

01. Imaginations from the Other Side – 7:19
02. I’m Alive – 5:31
03. A Past and Future Secret – 3:48
04. The Script for My Requiem – 6:09
05. Morderd’s Song – 5:28
06. Born in a Mourning Hell – 5:14
07. Bright Eyes – 5:16
08. Another Holy War – 4:32
09. And the Story Ends – 6:00
Overall Score: 9/10
Blind Guardian (Band)
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Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.