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Blind Guardian’s Twilight Orchestra – Legacy of the Dark Lands, An epic album, 20 years in the making – Review

Label: Nuclear Blast

Release Date: 8 November 2019 

Genre: Epic Orchestral Soundtrack

Track Listing: 

1. 1618 Ouverture
2. The Gathering
3. War Feeds War
4. Comets and Prophecies
5. Dark Cloud’s Rising
6. The Ritual
7. In the Underworld
8. A Secret Society
9. The Great Ordeal
10. Bez
11. In the Red Dwarf’s Tower
12. Into the Battle
13. Treason
14. Between the Realms
15. Point of No Return
16. The White Horseman
17. Nephilim
18. Trial and Coronation
19. Harvester of Souls
20. Conquest Is Over
21. This Storm
22. The Great Assault
23. Beyond the Wall
24. A New Beginning

Promising to be one of the most ambitious projects in metal history, BLIND GUARDIAN’s new release is well worth the wait. The idea of recording an orchestral album originally formed in the minds of the two leading lights of the BLIND GUARDIAN universe – guitarist André Olbrich and singer Hansi Kürsch – during the 1990s when BLIND GUARDIAN started to use orchestral elements to enhance their opulent sound.

In recent years the giant project started to take shape, and parallel to epic sound cascades, the lyrical concept was developed. For this, BLIND GUARDIAN was able to find support in German bestselling author Markus Heitz, whose new novel “Die Dunklen Lande” / “The Dark Land” is now available. The book is set in 1629 and contains the prequel to BLIND GUARDIAN’s opus “Legacy Of The Dark Lands”.

“It’s incredible, that after 20 years we can actually finish this really exciting project. I am so happy and more than satisfied with it. Every single track unveils spectacular worlds and tells its very own story. With this album our biggest creative dream finally becomes reality.” says front man/singer Hansi Kürsch whose favourite author was equally excited about the collaboration: “It’s really crazy: As Pen&Paper role players we used to listen to BLIND GUARDIAN whilst playing. And years later I get to work together with the band, which was incredible. It’s amazing, the things that can happen sometimes”, Markus remembers. “Of course I immediately agreed to join! This creative collaboration is very special for me.”

 

Hansi Kürsch comments: “The cover artwork by Gyula Havancsák just perfectly fits our upcoming project and I think it’s a true masterpiece. Gulya’s love for details is incredible and his ability to see behind complex stories and reproduce them in art is amazing. We are more than happy since he could absolutely capture the monumental atmosphere of the music. Literally a perfect match!”

The two protagonists have actively cultivated their creative exchange over the last five years. “Markus is a great story teller; with “Die Dunklen Lande” he created the perfect setting and with the mysterious Nicolas the perfect character for our complex works. His inventiveness seems to be almost infinite. Absolutely impressive and very inspiring” praises Hansi Kürsch regarding the fruitful cooperation with the highly renowned fantasy author. Both sides tell in their own way the story of the mercenary Nicolas and his involvement in the Thirty Years’ War. Author Markus Heitz starts the story off in his book and BLIND GUARDIAN follow suit with “Legacy Of The Dark Lands”.

What is the secret surrounding Nicolas? Will he be able to cast off the chains of war and how will his loved ones fare? On “Legacy Of The Dark Lands” via BLIND GUARDIAN’S TWILIGHT ORCHESTRA, André Olbrich and Hansi Kürsch fulfill their long-time wish of emphasising imposing choral singing and classical orchestral arrangements. It promises to be an opus unlike any other that the German quartet has ever released, or rather: an opus, as has never been heard ever before.

Check out the videos that accompany the album release:

OUR VERDICT:

EPIC, INTENSE, MAJESTIC, GLORIOUS and ORIGINAL

The album offers something new to the genre, it’s as if the listener is taking in Lord of the Rings and gets to create the visuals in their head. The whole project is delivered as a complete package, the novel providing the backstory, the music and orchestration offering the best soundtrack to a movie that you could ask for. The narrative linking the songs perfectly making you wish for the movie that doesn’t yet exist. If this sells well enough, perhaps the movie element could be considered. I’d be at the front of the queue to see it on the big screen.

Characterisation, the need to pour over the lyrics to understand the story, the desire to listen to this with the product laid out in front of you to help enhance the experience, all things that prove the need for physical product with releases like this.

This isn’t a ‘stream it when you feel like it’ exercise, it’s a put the vinyl on, get the e-Book and read the story, absorb the lyrics and lose yourself in the story exercise. A fascinating and very very welcome release from the super talented minds in Blind Guardian.

SCORE: 9/10

REVIEWED BY: Adrian Hextall

The Novel “Die Dunklen Lande” / “The Dark Lands”  is available here. 

ORDER ‘Legacy Of The Dark Lands’:

Nuclear Blast: http://nblast.de/BGLegacyOfTheDarkLands

iTunes: http://nblast.de/BG-DarkLands-IT

Apple Music: http://nblast.de/BG-DarkLands-AM

Amazon: http://nblast.de/BG-DarkLands-AMZ

Google Play: http://nblast.de/BG-DarkLands-GP

Stream: http://geni.us/BG-DarkLands

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