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Blind Guardian is a German Heavy Metal band formed in 1987 (or in 1984 if you count its earlier incarnation, "Lucifer's Heritage"). Though their first few albums sounded a lot like Helloween (Kai Hansen, Helloween's former guitarist, actually guested on them), they quickly developed their own style and have become one of the most influential power metal bands. The band members are fans of Queen--one of their albums is actually called A Night at the Opera after the Queen album (itself named for a movie)--and their sound is strongly influenced by Queen. Their vocalist uses doubletracking in similar ways as Freddie Mercury. They are known for their epic sound, bombastic choruses, and pseudo-medieval/Celtic ballads. Many of their songs are based on fantasy and mythology.
You may know them as the band that did "Battlefield".
They now have an iPhone app devoted entirely to themselves.
- Hansi Kürsch - vocals, bass until 1996
- Andre Olbrich - lead guitar
- Marcus Siepen - rhythm guitar
- Frederik Ehmke - drums, percussion, flute, and bagpipes
- Thomas Stauch - drums/percussion until 2005
- 1988 - Battalions of Fear
- 1989 - Follow the Blind
- 1990 - Tales from the Twilight World
- 1992 - Somewhere Far Beyond
- 1993 - Tokyo Tales (live)
- 1995 - Imaginations from the Other Side
- 1996 - The Forgotten Tales (covers and alternate versions of songs)
- 1998 - Nightfall in Middle-Earth
- 2002 - A Night at the Opera
- 2003 - Live (live)
- 2006 - A Twist in the Myth
- 2010 - At the Edge of Time
- 2012 - Memories of a Time to Come (compilation album)
Blind Guardian songs include:
- Majesty (from Battalions of Fear)
- Valhalla (from Follow the Blind)
- Lost in the Twilight Hall (from Tales from the Twilight World)
- The Bard's Song (In the Forest) (from Somewhere Far Beyond)
- Imaginations from the Other Side (from Imaginations from the Other Side)
- Mirror Mirror (from Nightfall in Middle-Earth)
- And Then There Was Silence (from A Night at the Opera)
- Fly (from A Twist in the Myth)
- Wheel of Time (from At the Edge of Time)
- Nightfall (from Memories of a Time to Come)
Hansi Kürsch also has a side project called Demons and Wizards with Iced Earth's leader Jon Schaffer. He frequently guests on other speed/power/progressive metal bands' albums, including Ayreon's 01011001, Gamma Ray's "Land of the Free" and "Farewell", and Edguy's "Vain Glory Opera" and "Out Of Control".
They provide examples of:
- Accent On the Wrong Syllable: "The Quest For Tanelorn":
He tries to conQUER it...
- A Storm Is Coming: "Mirror Mirror", "Into the Storm", "And Then There Was Silence", several others.
- And I Must Scream: "Blood Tears."
- If you know your Silmarillion, you know the guy'll be saved. It'll cost him a hand, but he'll be okay for the entire First Age.
- Audience Participation Song: Most of their songs, but "The Bard's Song" is sung mostly by the audience, "Valhalla" and "The Last Candle" involve the audience chanting the chorus (or in "The Last Candle"'s case, the outro) for as long as possible after the song ends, and "And Then There Was Silence" actually has a part that goes "la-la-la", representing thousands of excited, celebratory people. They say that they don't plan for people to sing along...
- Ever seen a theater full of people all riled up to defend Troy against the Greek menace?
- Not to mention that the non-"la la la" lyrics include "Come join in our singing ..."
- Bragging Theme Tune: Time Stands Still at the Iron Hill, towards Fingolfin.
- Call Back: A couple:
- "The Last Candle" from Tales from the Twilight World begins with the repeated line "Guardian, guardian, guardian of the blind", which previously appeared in the appropriately-titled "Guardian of the Blind" from Battalions of Fear.
- At the Edge of Time is named after a line from "And the Story Ends" from Imaginations from the Other Side.
- Concept Album: Nightfall in Middle-earth is based on JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion.
- Concept Video: A Voice In The Dark is apparently about the Mayans. Who knew?
- Cover Version: "Barbara Ann", "Surfin' USA", "Long Tall Sally," "Mr. Sandman," "Don't Talk to Strangers," "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida", "Dream a Little Dream," "Hallelujah," "The Wizard," "To France," "Spread Your Wings," and "Beyond the Realms of Death".
- Double Entendre: Non-sexual; in the close of And Then There Was Silence, the lyrics "the nightmare shall be over now, there's nothing more to fear" can refer both to the Trojans' expectation of final victory, and what actually happened.
- Downer Ending: "Harvest of Sorrow," concluding Morgoth's conquest.
- Epic Rocking: And Then There Was Silence is not only 14 minutes long, the full version was released as a single.
- Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: The track "Piper's Calling" from Somewhere Far Beyond is an entire track of nothing but bagpipes. The next track, "Somewhere Far Beyond," also features a pipe section, as does their cover of John Farnham's "You're the Voice."
- Evil Laugh: There's a classic one from Morgoth in the Nightfall in Middle-Earth interlude "Captured", and Hansi has taken to doing an insane-sounding laugh in "Valhalla".
- Fan Nickname: The Bards.
- Filk Song: Many of their songs.
- Heavy Mithril: Obviously...
- The Last Dance: "Thorn."
- Lust Object: The Silmarils in "Into the Storm"
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Curse my name" from At The Edge Of Time: an upbeat semi-ballade about bloody rebellion. These lines don't quite fit with the music at first:
Let him curse my name
On these bloodstained pages of misery
- Battlefield is also a festive song with tragic lyrics.
- Mayincatec: Their latest video has them in one with very Caucasian inhabitants.
- Metal Scream: There are usually a few per album. Hansi does them well.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally 6 or 7, with the exception of their purely acoustic folk songs and (unpowered) ballads. Some of their thrashier songs might be closer to an 8.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: ("Quest for Tanelorn")
- One of Us: They're all geeks. Most of the band members are World of Warcraft fans, and Hansi Kürsch is a book geek. Hansi even openly admitted in an interview about being included in Sacred 2 that they've been trying to get their work into video games for years.
- Perspective Flip: A lot of their songs are from the villain's point of view. For example, "Under the Ice" is from the viewpoint of Clymnestra, who was responsible for murdering Agemnon and Cassandra. And don't get us started on their Sauron tributes.
- Protest Song: "Battalions of Fear" criticizes Ronald Reagan.
- Rock Me, Amadeus: "By the Gates of Moria"
- Self-Backing Vocalist: This is Hansi Kursch's trademark.
- Shout-Out: Many, both to bands and writers.
- Soprano and Gravel: Though Kürsch's voice is usually fairly rough, he does also switch between clear, frequently high singing and even rougher singing, particularly in the studio versions of songs.
- Sympathetic POV: "Mordred's Song", "Thorn" (about Maeglin), "Under the Ice" (about Clymnestra), and, to some extent, "The Curse of Feanor" (about, well, Feanor) and "The Soulforged" (about Raistlin Majere). Several Demons & Wizards songs also fit this.
- Symphonic Metal: They have more elements of this from Nightfall in Middle-Earth onwards, but "Sacred Worlds" and "Wheel of Time" are definitely this, being performed with a full orchestra.
- Villain Song: Ride Into Obsession is half this or more, it's hard to tell which lines are from Lews Therin and which are from Moridin.
- Zero-Percent Approval Rating: "Curse My Name"
An incomplete list of stories, events, and people that they have songs about:
- Alice in Wonderland (referenced in "Imaginations from the Other Side")
- The Bible ("The Martyr", "Banish From Sanctuary", "Another Holy War", "Precious Jerusalem", "Sadly Sings Destiny", "The Edge")
- Blade Runner ("Time, What is Time?")
- Celtic Mythology ("Turn the Page")
- The Crusades ("The Script for My Requiem")
- The Dark Tower and other Stephen King novels ("Somewhere Far Beyond", "Carry the Blessed Home", "Tommyknockers", "Altair 4")
- The Death Gate Cycle ("I'm Alive")
- Dragonlance ("The Soulforged", fan-requested topic)
- Dune ("Traveler in Time")
- The Elric Saga and other Michael Moorcock novels ("Fast to Madness", "Journey through the Dark", "The Quest for Tanelorn", "Tanelorn")
- ET the Extraterrestrial ("Goodbye My Friend")
- Floating Dragon ("Welcome to Dying")
- Friedrich Nietzsche ("Punishment Divine")
- Galileo Galilei ("Age of False Innocence")
- The Hobbit ("The Bard's Song - The Hobbit")
- The Iliad ("And Then There Was Silence", "Under The Ice")
- King Arthur ("A Past and Future Secret", "Mordred's Song", "All the King's Horses")
- The Lord of the Rings ("Majesty", "Lord of the Rings", "By the Gates of Moria," "Gandalf's Rebirth," "Lost in the Twilight Hall")
- Norse Mythology ("Valhalla," "Valkyries")
- The Odyssey ("Lionheart")
- Otherland ("Otherland", arguably "Another Stranger Me")
- Paradise Lost ("Control the Divine")
- Peter Pan ("Fly", referenced in "Born in a Mourning Hall" and "Imaginations from the Other Side")
- Politics ("Battalions of Fear" is a somewhat out-of-place attack on the policies of Ronald Reagan; "Wait For An Answer" is a fable written by Hansi when he was still in school about an unusual friendship between a hare and a fox who try to stop some sort of holocaust planned by crows. Can be interpreted as being about Adolf Hitler's rise to power.)
- Richard Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungen ("Skalds and Shadows")
- The Silmarillion (all of Nightfall in Middle-Earth plus "Harvest of Sorrow")
- Song of Hildebrandt ("Battlefield")
- A Song of Ice and Fire ("A Voice in the Dark", "War of the Thrones")
- Tristan und Isolde ("The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight")
- A Wild Ride through the Night ("This Will Never End")
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (referenced in "Imaginations from the Other Side")
- The Wheel of Time ("Wheel of Time," "Ride into Obsession")