Aside from those metal grandfathers Maiden and Priest, I'd say that Blind Guardian is the biggest Euro-styled power metal band in the world. These Teutonic titans have passed up Helloween, Gamma Ray and all the others to the top of the mountain and this DVD is a must have for fans of the style.
Taking place at the Blind Guardian festival in Coburg, Germany, on June 13th and 14th, 2003, with 12 overhead cameras, the band paces itself perfectly through 20 songs with a running time of 140 minutes. Whether it's from the raging rhythm guitars, the squeely-squelch lead melodies, the extra length of the songs or the incredible vocal harmonies, after I listen to the music from these guys, my ears feel like they've been given a heavy workout and I was worried that their dense sonics wouldn't translate over to the live show, but I was completely wrong. They still come across with the powerful feel of their records.
The guitarists and bass player usually stick around the same areas so Hansi Kursch in the forward center is the minstril-mage that gets most of the cameras' focus. Though he's not very imposing physically, he's spot-on with the vocals right from the start. The band tears through the opening numbers with all the glory and majesty of their catalog with the added heightening of the tremendous crowd backing them up. By the middle of the show, the concert pace is slowed down with some sit-down guitar work and the epic numbers give you a chance to breath. Then it's back to raging for the final numbers. The only thing I missed in the selection was the recent song "The Soulforged" off of the last CD.
The stage is mainly draped in white allowing for the lights to give it color. Pyro is used a bit in the middle and a good bit with explosions toward the end. The emphasis is always on the band, the music and the crowd interplay. What a sight to see 50,000 fists in the air and voices all in unison!
The second disc is 100 more minutes of mainly the putting together of the festival, behind-the-scenes stuff and some nice parts with the fans who like to have a good time (drinking and grilling mostly) without being overtly rowdy. There's also 4 extra songs from 2002 to finish it out.
The packaging on this DVD is exquisite. Not one to set aside the Lord of the Rings fantasy stuff, they've used colorful outer artwork that would have the band the center attraction of a concert in Middle Earth with all the creatures coming to attend. The video pieces use background illustrations done on old parchement similar to the LotR DVDs that have been out. Each section of the two DVDs is mapped out for easy navigation.
The great thing about this DVD set is that it doesn't feel like any corners have been cut from the sound, the video, the art, the packaging, etc. It's a testament to their success and these guys deserve to be where they are as masters of their genre.
Bottom Line: One of the Top Metal DVDs of the Year
Tracklist: War Of Wrath Time Stands Still Banish From Sanctuary Nightfall The Script For My Requiem Valhalla A Past And Future Secret Punishment Divine Mordredís Song The Last Candle Bright Eyes Lord Of The Rings Iím Alive Another Holy War And Then There Was Silence Somewhere Far Beyond The Bardís Song (In The Forest) Imaginations From The Other Side And The Story Ends Mirror Mirror
Bonus Songs: Majesty Into The Storm Welcome To Dying Lost In The Twilight Hall
About this Writer: Frank Hill // Frank Hill has been at this site since its slimy, crying birth in '03. He was born on National Metal Day--11/11 and will turn his hearing aids up to 11 when he's 111. He secretly listens to a lot of old Country and Doo-Wop tunes and wants to start a cyberband with lead vocals by Robot Plant. He is still trying to figure out what Judas Priest meant by "paratamize you". If you read this, then he salutes you.
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