Blind Guardian - _A Twist in the Myth_
(Nuclear Blast, 2006)
by: Yiannis Stefanis (7.5 out of 10)
How can you hope to evolve as a band/musician and, at the same time, manage to retain all those elements that help shape the unique character of your music? Certainly not an easy task, especially if you have been an active member of the metal scene since 1984 -- the year that the German storytellers Blind Guardian came together, motivated by the need to glorify the works of J.R.R. Tolkien through their music.

It seems that evolution always comes with a price, something that the members of this outfit realised very well, having received a negative treatment by most of their loyal fans following the release of _A Night at the Opera_, Blind Guardian's previous studio album. In all honesty, _A Night at the Opera_ was a really difficult album to digest; even though its strong references to '70s progressive music and especially bands like Queen were indeed quite interesting, it is still ranked low in the band's rich discography.

The one thing that the band's loyal fans, myself included, were anxiously waiting to see was whether Blind Guardian's ninth studio release _A Twist in the Myth_ would find the band moving in a similar musical direction to that of _A Night at the Opera_, or signal a return to the style of the late '90s, which is by far the band's most successful period.

The four Germans decided to use both ingredients in the making of _A Twist in the Myth_, and the result is such that should satisfy both their old and new fans. Having listened to the fast-pace riffs of "This Will Never End" and the typical melodic bridges and backing vocals in "Otherland", one could easily fall into the trap of believing that what we have here is _Imaginations From the Other Side Pt II_, yet the band's experimental mood is soon to be revealed.

Quite simplified in their structure and with a "back to basics" mentality, songs like "Turn the Page", "Carry the Blessed Home" and "Lionheart" sound quite modern and fresh while retaining the rhythmical parts and multi-layered guitar melodies that Blind Guardian's music is well-known for containing. The medieval-sounding rhythm of "Skalds and Shadows" and its similarities to classics such as "A Past and Future Secret" and "A Bard's Song - In the Forest" automatically nominate it for the next crowd-pleaser, whereas the goth, e.g. Sisters of Mercy, melodies in "Another Stranger Me" will definitely raise many eyebrows.

If what you expected to get from this album was a follow up to 1998's _Nightfall in Middle Earth_, you will probably be slightly disappointed, but that should not decrease the value of _A Twist in the Myth_. What this album proves is that Blind Guardian are still capable of producing good quality power metal music, while willing to explore new musical avenues -- what more can anyone ask of any good band?


(article published 14/10/2006)

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