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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Memories of a Time to Come' (EMI)
Artist - Blind Guardian

Blind Guardian is a German power metal band formed in the mid-1980s in Krefeld, West Germany. Often credited as one of the seminal and most influential bands in the power metal and speed metal subgenres, the band's lyrics, written by vocalist Hansi Kürsch, are inspired by the fiction of fantasy authors such as J.R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, Robert Jordan and George R. Martin - as well as traditional legends and epics.

Memories of a Time to Come is an excellent new collection of some of the best from Blind Guardian. True it concentrates on mostly the middle albums from the band (such as Tales from the Twilight World, Somewhere Far Beyond, Imaginations from the Other Side, and Nightfall in Middle-Earth), whilst also having select pickings from the early albums (such as both their debut Battalions of Fear and Follow the Blind ), but there are quite a few tracks from their most recent album At the Edge of Time (2010) also.

The bells followed by intense drums introduce us to 'Imaginations From the Other Side,' a track that sounds really cleaner now after some remastering, before the balladesque 'Nightfall' comes forth. The fast-paced new track 'Ride Into Obsession' is then followed by the melodic 'Somewhere Far Beyond,' the fun fair-opened 'Majesty' (the only song from their very first album), and 'Traveler in Time,' from the Tales from the Twilight World album. The first disc of this double album ends with both 'Follow the Blind' and 'The Last Candle, which is, again cleaned up from the original.

The second disc opens with an original version of 'Sacred Worlds.' One of the best songs they have ever put together, in my humble opinion, it's orchestral elements are simply giant, and wonderful to crank up. The wailing 'This Will Never End' is next with one of the completely re-recorded track, 'Valhalla.'

Next is the guitar-led melodic 'Bright Eyes,' the second song choice from the Imaginations album, with some heavy, fast, and intense guitars then bringing us 'Mirror Mirror.' Now, the re-recorded 'The Bard Song Forest' is just something that, it has to be said, doesn't work as much as I think they would like to think. The song is now overly polished, too pristine, if you will, the acoustic guitars barely audible while other background and artificial elements sway in a meaningless manner.

In contrast to 'The Bard Song Forest', Blind Guardian actually did a great job of re-recording 'Bard Song Hobbit,' which features some great, deep guitar work - much in the same vein as 'Valhalla.' The album is rounded out by the epic 'And Then There Was Silence,' which has never really been a fan favorite sadly.

Anyway, and with all that said, concentrating on the four (4) re-recorded songs, it was interesting to hear the band revisit these songs after so many years. In most cases they gave them a nice makeover for the times, their orchestral directions well supervised; save for the one Bard song, of course! In closing, this new 2-disc collection of Blind Guardian may not be absolutely necessary for your collection, but it does provide variations for some of BC's classic tunes that you definitely won't find anywhere else.