Artist: Blind Guardian Twilight Orchestra
Album: Legacy of the Dark Lands
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date: 8th of November, 2019
Released via Nuclear Blast Records
Cover Artwork © Nuclear Blast Records, 2019
After my excursion to dirty, filthy gutter-folk, it is my turn to comment for our Author’s Choice. You can’t imagine the amount of happines in our author’s chat, when I told them what I would like to choose… First of all, the album has Blind Guardian in its name but it is no Blind Guardian album. The album doesn’t have any electric guitar or bass in it and has nothing to do with the Metal you usually know the band for. Some people say that the last three or four albums didn’t have anything to do with the Blind Guardian they like, but that is on another piece of paper.
The question is, then, what is the album about, what does it sound like? So, the album is completly done by the name-giving Twilight Orchestra, which is the Filmharmonic Orchestra from Prague. If you like soundtracks such as the one for Lord of The Rings or fantasy-RPG video games like World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls or The Witcher, then you should definitely give it a try. Another interesting fact is that the German fantasy author Markus Heitz wrote the story for their album, and it’s the sequel to one of his novels called “The Dark Lands”, a story set in the Thirty Years’ War, mixing up history and fantasy, gunpowder and demons.
The idea for an orchestral album is already more than 20 years old. It grew during the writing of Nightfall in Middle-Earth. Especially Andrè Olbrich, guitarist of Blind Guardian, was working on the orchestral ideas throughout the entire time, creating a few blueprints and different parts over the years. After more than 20 years, it was time to bring the work to an end, to bring it into a concrete concept, and to finish it finally. In November 2019 it was time for Blind Guardian’s orchestral album to be released. Interesting fact: Norman Eshley and Douglas Fielding who did the spoken passages on Nightfall are back on Legacy Of The Lands. Listening to them is, in fact, some kind of homecoming. Sadly, Douglas Fielding passed away in June 2019, so he was probably not able to listen to the full release. By the way, if you are not a fan of the spoken passages, there is also a “music only” version of the album without these interruptions.
So, to be honest, I’m not that into classical music and cannot say anything about the quality of the music itself. However, I know that it is creating feelings, and it sounds really huge. In my opinion, Hansi Kürsch, the singer of Blind Guardian, did a fantastic job on this album, and showcases his greatest performance ever. The reason for this is that he doesn’t just do the stuff you know from the Blind Guardian albums. He uses completely different styles of singing, there is much more variation, you can easily distinguish between different characters. It’s just fun to listen to it, and I really hope that we can get more of this bigger and better Hansi on the next Guardian as well. A step away from the typical lines we heard too often in nearly every similar band.
There is, though, also a big, big problem with Hansi‘s voice in the production: While the choire and the orchestra are one big unit, Hansi‘s voice isn’t a part of it. When you listen to the album on simple speakers, there is no problem. But I listened to it on good headphones and I was a little shocked, to be honest. Somehow it’s a real pity that they weren’t able to get the mix fine. I’m not sure if the problem comes from different rooms used for the recordings that let it feel so unnatural, or if they just didn’t spend enough time for the final mastering. You can still listen to it, but don’t do it to attentively.
After a few listenings to the album during the last weeks, I would say, it is a really great and good soundtrack, you can just listen to, or use it while playing some RPG-games for example. I use it while walking and sleeping as well. Both works fine for me. Let’s have a look, what my colleagues will say.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
8 / 10
As usual, we added the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist.