A new life is waiting for you
Jump through the mirror
Leave fear behind"
One Word Review: Exhilarating
Imaginations From The Other Side finds Blind Guardian at their creative peak, and at their most powerful. It is without a doubt my all time favorite power metal album, if I had to name just one, and that is among a seriously strong field of contenders. Imaginations... edges out the competition, because it is complete in every sense and harbors an overwhelming sense of soul, magic and power, a combination I have not experienced quite like this anywhere else.
Imaginations... simply has it all. It takes everything the genre has to offer and turns it to eleven, making for an uncompromising endeavor. There is a purity to the music and it is relentless in its quest to blow the listener away. Pure power all the way through. At no point will you doubt the intention of the band and at no point will you question their integrity. Even the font chosen for the lyrics fits perfectly with the feel of the album. Epic.
The songs are all pearls on a string, from beginning to end. There is the grand opening, where the title track opens the mind of the listener and then the album proceeds to smash you into the ground during I'm Alive, only to gently lift you back on your feet with the Mideavil masterpiece A Past and Future Secret, a ballad of epic proportions. Continually it batters metallic sense into the listener before And The Story Ends ends the album on a fitting, epic note.
I've always been a fan of Hansi Kürsch's vocals, but here he outshines himself and catches me in breathless awe, as he time and again unleashes vocal fury. The Script For My Requiem is a good example of this. Clearly my favorite song of the album, and one of the most played songs on my stereo, it is put together in a gloriously majestic way, opening with a drums and bass tension feeding interplay, then laying down the most intense passage of the album, before even going into the first verse. It is hard to fathom all the spellbinding passages that bind the song together, but they are there and mesh so incredibly well, you would think the song simply flowed naturally from the minds of the songwriters. When the chorus hits, it quickly becomes the melodic focus of the song in all its embracing sing-a-long glory. I remember being blown away by the song many years ago and how that chorus was etched into my mind for a long time, bringing with it a triumphant sense of power. In short, The Script For My Requiem is a belligerent metallic feast with a victorious feeling of powerful greatness.
Where the Script... gives the album a feeling of exuberant energy, Mordred's Song adds an integral element to the mysterious atmosphere running through it. The "Nothing else but laughter is around me" passage gives me the chills every time i hear it, as does "Wash away the blood of my hands". This is just a brilliant, evolving song.
Born In a Mourning Hall goes all out in the speed department, while Bright Eyes captures the melodic essence of the band in a fantastic way, with an abundance of hum-along parts.
I simply love how And The Story Ends grows in intensity, first in its slow moving, epic verse sections, then slowly speeding up the momentum and bringing a sense of chills with the "Come with me and join me...."-bridge section peaking with that brilliant, intensely driving guitar part suddenly taking over, before returning to another verse. It works perfectly as an album closer, as it seems to capture the essence of everything that has just happened.
Now, the guitar solos, they are pure fist clenching intensity, dangerously close to moving into vein bursting territory. In every song are moments of pure guitar brilliance.
It was early in my relationship with Imaginations... that I fell in love with the backing vocals, a relationship that has only grown stronger through the years. It is clear that the way the backing vocals have been utilized, greatly enhance the impact of the album, making them an essential part of the experience. Fellow countryman, Ronnie Atkins of Pretty Maids honor the album with his presence, among the handful of backing vocalists on display. Seriously, this is among the best and most effective backing vocals ever. Add those to Hansi Kursch's vocal delivery of pure power and you have something akin to vocal paradise.
The album has a very compact sound, as if the whole thing was just a bit too powerful for a CD to capture. But overall the production is good and gives the album a balanced sound.
The lyrics can be a bit hard to decipher and may just be strange hallucinations of some German madmen, but they seem to touch upon issues of being controlled in one way or the other, be it by ones own mind, media, the government or religion. To my best conviction, the album is about breaking through any barriers that hold you back and discover an open mind.
I have a hard time reviewing an album such at this, since I've heard it so many times and know every little detail by heart, that I have some pretty huge feelings about it. Putting those down in words is no easy task, and while I have tried to not go into detail mode, I still wanted to give the impression of how I feel. The beauty and glory of this album should really be experienced first hand and not described or decapitated with words. I rest my case.
Written By Steen
Online: Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Imaginations From The Other Side
The Script For My Requiem
Born In A Mourning Hall
Friday, April 10, 2015 - Gizmo
Maybe the best album ever released, have a very hard time finding out if this is the shit or Accept´s Balls to the wall