• Melodic metal magic - A review of Blind Guardian's The Tides of War - Live at Rock Hard Festival 2016

    Blind Guardian - The Tides of War - Live at Rock Hard Festival 2016 (2018)

    The Tides of War - Live at Rock Hard Festival 2016 is a wonderful extended play that any Blind Guardian fan should own.

    The title track is a previously unreleased song, written and intended for the Nightfall in Middle-Earth album. This would have been one of the best songs on said album. It has an atmospheric mid-tempo pace, comes around with epic and gripping melodies and is particularly strong in the passionate vocal department.

    The other five tunes are live tracks recorded at Rock Hard Festival 2016. The songs are all taken from the band's early records. The melodic ballad "Lord of the Rings" and the vibrant melodic speed metal epic "Journey Through the Dark" weren't included in the set list of phenomenal live album Live Beyond the Spheres. The band has perfect chemistry here and sounds stronger than ever before.

    The other three songs are classics and regularly performed by the band. "Majesty" still has one of the band's most epic choruses in the band's history, acoustic folk ballad "The Bard's Song - In the Forest" sends shivers down the spine with phenomenal crowd participation and the closing "Valhalla" shows impressive interactions between lead singer Hansi Kürsch and an enthusiastic crowd.

    If you like Blind Guardian, you should do everything you can to get your hands on this record. Especially fans of the band's early years in the eighties and nineties can't get around this record. Since it showcases the band's ambitious studio work as well as the group's passionate live shows, varies between acoustic folk ballads and epic speed metal anthems and introduces conceptual pieces as well as stand-alone tracks, this release would also be an excellent introduction to the band for new or occasional fans. The detailed exclusive cover artwork is the cherry on the melodic metal cake.

    Final rating: 95%

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