Blind Guardian - ‘Live Beyond the Spheres’ (Nuclear Blast) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gerald Stansbury   
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 04:30

Blind Guardian liveI always find live albums to be a little tricky as I enjoy having them in the collection for the occasional listen, but outside of a couple bands, I tend to find that the live releases end up being the ones that I listen to the least. With a band like Blind Guardian where the studio albums are so intricate, I looked forward to hearing this one to see how the live sound on the release would be and if it would change the feel of some of their songs. This set offers a 22-song show spread out over three CDs.

 

Opener ‘The Ninth Wave’ opens the proceedings which makes sense as it is the opener of their most recent studio album, ‘Beyond The Red Mirror.’ The sound and mix are solid, making it an enjoyable listen sonically. There are two other songs from ‘Beyond The Red Mirror’ representing a total of about 20 minutes on these three discs. It is extremely tricky in my opinion for bands who have a long discography to release live albums and keep everyone content in terms of song selection.

 

As a casual fan, this collection allows me to conveniently hear classics like ‘Nightfall’ and ‘Imaginations from the Other Side’ without having to dig out any of their past live albums. In America, the early albums appear to be available on import and not on iTunes so it really helps having these songs on the album to drive any recent fans to the back catalog. On the flipside, I know there are bands I love that I like seeing live albums contain deep album tracks, rarely played material, or exclusives as opposed to the standards on past live albums. I give Blind Guardian credit for making this a three-disc effort and providing a career spanning collection that meets my needs as a listener.

 

 

Favourites for me include the aforementioned ‘Nightfall’ as well as the epic ‘And Then There was Silence.’ The crowd is clearly heard singing ‘The Bard Song’ with the band. Listening to the entire set, I was amazed by the band’s ability throughout the years to craft memorable songs that really highlight their significance within the power metal genre. The crowd lets out quite the scream at the beginning of ‘Valhalla’ and created some at home fist pumping in the air moments throughout it. The show closes with another favorite by the band ‘Mirror ‘Mirror.’ I had not heard this song in years but was immediately singing the chorus like I had last sang it yesterday.

 

 

While Blind Guardian strangely did not release a video component, they have put forward a live album that highlights their history and provides a high replay value. In times when I juggle to rotate music on and off the iPod, or want something in the car that allows me to enjoy a mix of a band’s history, this album hits the spot. It has also sparked an interest in me to revisit some of the recent studio albums that I have not played as much after enjoying songs like ‘Wheel of Time’ and ‘Fly’ - whose opening “Scream for me Warsaw” made me chuckle, as I half expected to hear him say “Scream for Me Long Beach” instead.

 

‘Live Beyond the Spheres” is available now. You can buy your copy HERE.

 

Blind Guardian play the Ronnie James Dio stage at Bloodstock on Friday 11 August.

 

www.facebook.com/blindguardian/

 

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