Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Silmarillion reads far better as a Metal Album..... Seriously.

I discovered this gem of an album whilst browsing the vast Metal section of HMV's downtown Toronto Superstore (333 Yonge street if you're curious) a number of years ago. I've spent a lot of time browsing the metal section of HMV's Superstore and that is essentially how I began branching out into new forms of metal. This album showed me that metal didn't have to be all evil and angry. It could express a wide range of emotions and themes and concepts (Savatage is great for concept albums, more on that later). This album "Nightfall in Middle-Earth" is Blind guardians first American release and my first Lord Of The Rings based metal album. The band does not limit themselves strickly to Tolkien, but he is a major influence. This is the bands only Tolkien based album. Other albums feature songs and such, but "Nightfall..." is based on Tolkiens "The Silmarillion" book, which is a predecessor to the LOTR trilogy and the history of Middle-Earth. The book reads like a history textbook with biblical influences "ie Aragorn, Son of Arathorn, who is also called Stryder... yada,yada,yada"
And yes I just yada'd JRR Tolkien. The book is boring. I tried reading it once, after 10 pages I put it down. 10 odd years later, I reluctantly pick it up again, I mean I bought the damn thing years ago, I'm gonna read it. And I did, barely, but I got through it. I'm glad I had this album to encourage me to get through it and as my first real exposure. Mind you when I finished the book, it was cool to go back through the lyrics and have it finally make real sense. This album also notes a change in musical styling. The band took on a more folk feel and more melody. The Anthemic and sing along chorus are still there as well as the blazing solo's, but there is such a great balance of metal and folk here, especially on songs "Nightfall", "Blood Tears" and "Thorn". Despite the folk influences this album never forgets to be metal.
With songs like "Mirror,Mirror" (the single),"When Sorrow Sang" and the album opener "Into the Storm" are fine examples of their German Speed metal roots. I think the main elements that give this album the folk feel are the solo guitar work throughout most of the songs with it's synth/flutish sound (always present but never overbearing) and Hansi Kursch distinct vocals. He has a powerful metal voice that's both sweet and melodic, and wailing scream. Just check out songs like "Nightfall" and "Blood Tears", though on "The Eldar" you can really feel the passion with its bare bones composition of Hansi and a piano. His voice has a folk feel to it in both the metal wail and melodic singing (It's kind of hard to explain). My favourite track is "Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns)" This is one heavy tune with a little doomish touch, and one freakily intense ending.

The only downside is the narration tracks, which kinda get in the way when you just wanna listen to the songs. The good thing is they are separate tracks and can be skipped easily. The whole album is a story and the narration is essential to the epic feel of it, and rarely do I skip through. I had the pleasure of seeing Blind Guardian on their first Canadian tour and what a show. They played most of this album and not much of their new album which they were touring for. I didn't care, cause this is their best album.

Next I'll be featuring Part II of the Battlelore trilogy of albums and continuing with my LOTR's metal bands Theme.

3 Comments:

Anonymous rocketchick said...

I like that - albums of books..maybe it'll replaces books on tape. :P

10:45 AM  
Blogger Carl said...

I didn't realize there was so much Tolkein metal, though I should know better. I used to freak out when I would see metal albums based on Warhammer or D&D! I think GWAR ruined the themed fun for everyone... lol

11:10 PM  
Anonymous **Death Head** said...

Is that HMV place expensive. If I ever make it up to your country I wanna check it out!. If you look hard enough, Flea Markets, and sometimes discount second hand stores will have a few hidden gems for sale at great prices!. lets be honest, how many of us Metal freaks are out there actually paying full price for this "garbage" as my Damn Mother put it! F*%k you MOM!, thats what I say. I coulda swore I saw the very album your talkin bout here at my Local Dollar Gereral! like for a buck fifty. I should go back and see if they still got it. Does your Mom hate this music to? I have to listen to it on my ear phones, cause she cant cant take it. She just dont get good music like me and you. Hey!..you look good on the Tv to, is that a Canada channel. wish i colda seen that. your a smart guy! I really do think we re lost brothers!

10:42 PM  

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