Blind Guardian - At The Edge Of Time
Nuclear Blast
Power Metal
10 songs (61:18)
Release year: 2010
Blind Guardian, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Kyle
Major event

Blind Guardian was faced with a decision after the release of A Twist in the Myth that many a popular metal band must make at some point in their career: Do we move forward with this new sound, or hearken back to our glory days? Finally, after four years of waiting, the band reveals their answer with At the Edge of Time: “We compromise!” Blending together styles heard throughout their nearly twenty-five year career, ranging from the effective power / thrash hybrid of Somewhere Far Beyond to the modern styles of A Twist in the Myth, Blind Guardian here presents us with ten meticulously crafted works of their signature breed of power metal wrapped up in an album that, while not entirely surprising, is a very fitting and more than welcome addition to their catalog, even if it is a somewhat safe one.

At the Edge of Time begins with Sacred Worlds, one of two (huzzah!) epic tracks present on the album. It features an impressive level of symphonic elements, with moments so grand that they surpass much of Rhapsody of Fire’s latest (thanks in part to an ACTUAL orchestra). Hansi Kursch is in prime form here, with vocal styles ranging from quiet, ballad-like sincerity in the introduction to huge, belted cries of “This world is sacred” during the song’s tremendous chorus. And though this song is impressively modern for a band with as many years behind them as Blind Guardian, there are indeed two songs in the vein of classic BG that get the blood pumping in fast-paced, thrashy fashion: Tanelorn and A Voice in the Dark. Both strike the right balance between catchy melodies and intense riffs and drumming; the latter is my personal favorite of the two, even though it’s grown a bit old by now as it’s the lead single from the album, but nonetheless it’s an incredibly powerful track that features some of the best vocal melodies on the album.

But as much as I love Blind Guardian at their speediest, the most impressive songs for sure on At the Edge of Time are the ones that mix things up with combinations of styles. Road of No Release is an instant winner, a half ballad / half epic power metal track that’s a great example as to how the band is evolving. Curse My Name carries on the Blind Guardian tradition of including a medieval folk track on each album, though this one isn’t strictly acoustic; it incorporates a wide range of instruments, from flutes to violins, and also features some impressive percussion along with light electric guitar use. The song is likely the best “acoustic” song that the band has ever done, and is a true joy to listen to. War of the Thrones is yet another acoustic slow song, but a beautiful and symphonic one; the band puts acoustic guitars to great use here, and small accents such as the occasional twinkling of chimes further help in making this song a memorable highlight rather than a plodding bore.

There are three songs here that don’t necessarily fall into any of the above categories, but rather play out as straightforward Blind Guardian tracks. Ride into Obsession is my favorite of these three, and undoubtedly one of my personal favorites on At the Edge of the Time; it finds a comfortable tempo that’s just on the verge of sounding thrashy, resulting in a song that sounds totally controlled yet altogether technical, especially in the track’s quick, melodic riffs. The other two straightforward songs - Valkyries and Control the Divine - are average when compared to the rest of the CD, but both feature memorable choruses and are by no means skippable; they’re just not as interesting as the other songs. The album finally closes with yet another epic track, Wheel of Time. I assume the title is based off of The Wheel of Time book series (a personal favorite of mine), and the song is suitably symphonic, but at the same time certain melodies have a touch of darkness to them, and parts of the track are Middle Eastern in nature. It’s quite different than anything Blind Guardian has written before, and is a great way to close out At the Edge of Time.

Yes, this album is indeed one that is hard to find flaw with – other than a couple of weaker tracks and a surprising lack of lead guitar work, it’s difficult to find anything to dislike in the music – but at the same time, At the Edge of Time feels just a tad safe. Perhaps this is due to A Twist in the Myth being possibly their least well received album critically, causing the band to be cautious when creating its follow-up, but at the same time, you have to keep in mind that this IS Blind Guardian’s first album in four years, and in that respect, this record is an incredible feat. Sure to please long-time BG fans, newcomers, and anyone in between, At the Edge of Time is surely one of the better power metal records of 2010, and while many other bands would be losing steam at this point in their careers, Blind Guardian remains as vital as ever.

Killing Songs :
All but Valkyries and Control the Divine
Kyle quoted 86 / 100
Chris quoted 92 / 100
Aleksie quoted 94 / 100
Vrechek quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Blind Guardian that we have reviewed:
Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red Mirror reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Blind Guardian - Somewhere Far Beyond reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Blind Guardian - Follow The Blind reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Blind Guardian - A Voice In The Dark (CD Single) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Blind Guardian - Imaginations From The Other Side reviewed by Ben and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 16 reviews click here
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