Blind Guardian is a Heavy Metal Band formed in 1984 in Krefeld, Germany. Blind Guardian is one of the most influential bands in the genre of Power Metal with their lyrics about legends and epics with their main theme about J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings.
The band was formed by the school friends Hansi Kürsch (vocals and bass) and André Olbrich (Lead Guitar) under the name Lucifer's Heritage. The band recorded two demos as Lucifer's Heritage and underwent several lineup changes until the classic lineup with Marcus Siepen (guitar) and Thomas Strauch (drums) came together in 1987 and the band was renamed into Blind Guardian. Their debut record Battalions Of Fear was recorded in 1988 on the label No Remorse Records which was essentially a Spped Metal record. For the tour to their second record Follow The Blind Blind Guardian let the newcomer band Iced Earth join as their opening act. Blind Guardian and Helloween, another German Power/speedmetal band were bonded closely by their style and personal friendship so that Kai Hansen from Helloween/Gamma Ray was featured on their third record Tales From The Twilight World, which was recorded in 1990. This record first went into the direction of Power Metal with more melodies and Epic orchestral parts. Tales From The Twilight World was a successfull record for Blind Guardian and helped them to achieve a Major Label Deal.
The Band was signed by Virgin Records and released their best selling record Somewhere Far Beyond in 1992 that made the band internationally famous. The record featured background choires and keyboards for the first time and created an even more epic fealing while the record still featured speedy and heavy tracks. The world tour for Somewhere far beyond was recorded in 1993 as a live record called Tokio Tales. For the upcoming records Blind Guardian worked with former Metallica producer Flemming Rasmussen. He produced the fifth record Imaginations from the Other Side (1995) and the slower and half cover record The Forgotten Tales (1996).
In 1998 the record Nightfall in Middle Earth was released, the first concept record about Tolkiens lord Of The Rings universe. This record also featured one of Blind Guardian's greatest Hits called Mirror, Mirror. The folowing record A Night at the Opera from 2002 was not accepted by the older fans because it featured too much orchestral parts and was too progressive. Blind Guardian had their own Music Festival in 2003 in the German city of Coburg (Blind Guardian Open Air). The outcome of this festival is the Live DVD Imaginations Through A Looking Glass. The band was signed by Nuclear Blast Records in 2004 and in 2005 their drummer Thomas Strauch, who had played with them for 18 years left the band because he did not like that the music became less and less metal. With new drummer Frederik Ehmke the reord A Twist In The Myst was recorded in 2006.
Most Important Record: Somewhere Far Beyond
After Blind Guardian's breakthrough record Tales From The Twilight World it was no wonder that their fourth record was released on the Major Label Virgin. The record was released in July 1992 and sold incredibly well, becoming an instant classic in the Speed/Powermetal genre. The painted cover artwork was designed by Andreas Marschall like the covers to the first three records; it shows a couple of bards playing at a bonfire in a dark forest. The picture refers to the highlight track on this record and Blind Guardian's signature tune: The Bard's Song - In The Forest. This accoustic ballad is inspired by Tolkiens work's and is sung entirely by the audience during a live show. This fabulous song nicknamed the band as The Bard's. But other than the Bard's Song, Somewhere Far Beyond features great Tracks that show the full musical capability of the band: There are fast speedmetal tracks like the Opener Time What Is Time or Ashes To Ashes aswell as bombastic tracks with orchestral music like the title track Somewhere Far Beyond. The tracks Spread Your Wings is a queen cover and the track Trial By Fire is a cover of the band Satan.
1. Time What Is Time
2. Journey Through The Dark
3. Black Chamber
4. Theatre Of Pain
5. The Quest For Tanelorn
6. Ashes To Ashes
7. The Bard's Song-In The Forest
8. The Bard's Song-The Hobbit
9. The Piper' Calling
10. Somewhere Far Beyond
11. Spread Your Wings (Cd Bonus Track)
12. Trial By Fire
13. Theatre Of Pain (Classic Version)
The early Blind Guardian Tracks can be considered as Speed Metal records while the later records gained melodic parts and are considered to be Power Metal. The later records are a bit slower and have complex arrangements with orchestras and overdubs. The high pitched singing of Hansi Kürsch is the bands trademark because his voice sounds very unique, his voicesounds like it was modified with a pedal (it is not). The music features the staccato guitars and double bass drumming in the heavier parts and is topped of by a melodic solo or harmony.
Singer Hansi Kürsch has started a side project with Iced Earth Mastermind John Schaffer called Demons & Wizards. They released two records so far. Since 1996 the band has no bass player in their lineup because Hansi stopped playing the bass to focus on his vocals. The band hires live bass players for shows aswell as a session keyboard player. The band anthem The Bard's Song - In The Forest was rerecorded as a fan request and nicknamed the band into a group of traveling bards. Hansi appeared as a guest singer on an Edguy, and Angra and an Ayreon record. The bass lines are very basic and simple because Hansi had to concentrate on his difficult vocal lines and therefore only provided standard rythms on the bass guitar. The vocals oftern refer to the Lord of The rings as the bands main theme but also on the work of Steven King, Frank Herbert or Walter Moers.
* Hansi Kürsch — Vocals (1984–), Bass (1984–1996) * André Olbrich — Lead Guitar (1984–) * Marcus Siepen — Rhythm Guitar (1987–) * Frederik Ehmke — Drums, Percussion, Flute, Bagpipes (2005–)
* Thomas "Thomen" Stauch — Drums (1984–1985, 1987–2005) * Markus Dörk — Rhythm & Lead Guitar (Lucifer's Heritage) (1984–1985) * Christof Theißen — Rhythm Guitar (Lucifer's Heritage) (1986) * Hans-Peter Frey — Drums (Lucifer's Heritage) (1986)
* Oliver Holzwarth — Bass (touring/studio) (1997–) * Niko Trznadl — Bass (live) (1988) * Alex Holzwarth — Drums (live) (2002–2003) * Mathias Wiesner — Keyboards (studio) (1989–) * Michael Schüren — Keyboards (live) & Grand Piano (studio) (1997–) * Kai Hansen — Vocals & Guitar Solos (1989–1992) * Thomas Kelleners — Vocals (Lucifer's Heritage) (1984) * Rolf Köhler, Thomas Hackmann — backing vocals (1989–) * Olaf Senkbeil, Billy King — backing vocals (1990–)
Demotapes (as Lucifer’s Heritage)
* 1985: Symphonies Of Doom (5-Track-Demotape) * 1986: Battalions Of Fear (5-Track-Demotape)
* 1988: Battalions of Fear * 1989: Follow the Blind * 1990: Tales from the Twilight World * 1992: Somewhere Far Beyond * 1995: Imaginations from the Other Side * 1998: Nightfall in Middle-Earth * 2002: A Night at the Opera * 2006: A Twist in the Myth
Liverecords, Compilations and Box Sets
* 1993: Tokyo Tales (Live) * 1996: The Forgotten Tales (B-Sites, Rerecordings and Covertracks) * 2003: Live
Singles and EPs
* 1995: A Past and Future Secret * 1996: Mr. Sandman * 1996: Bright Eyes (Japan) * 1998: Mirror Mirror * 2001: And Then There Was Silence * 2003: The Bard’s Song (In The Forest) * 2006: Fly * 2007: Another Stranger Me
* 1989: Banish From Sanctuary / Hall Of The King (Green Vinyl) * 1990: Tales From The Twilight World (Promo-EP)
--ZakkWylde 19:10, 30 June 2008 (CEST)