Blind Guardian is a German Heavy Metal band formed in 1987 (or in 1984 if you count its earlier incarnation, "Lucifer's Heritage"). Though their first few albums sounded a lot like Helloween (Kai Hansen, Helloween's former guitarist, actually guested on them), they quickly developed their own style and have become one of the most influential power metal bands. The band members are fans of Queen—one of their albums is actually called A Night at the Opera after the Queen album (itself named fora movie)—and their sound is strongly influenced by Queen. Their vocalist uses doubletracking in similar ways as Freddie Mercury. They are known for their epic sound, bombastic choruses, and pseudo-medieval/Celtic ballads. Many of their songs are based on fantasy and mythology.You may know them as the band that did "Battlefield".They now have an iPhone app devoted entirely to themselves.Band Members:
Hansi Kürsch - vocals, bass until 1996
Andre Olbrich - lead guitar
Marcus Siepen - rhythm guitar
Frederik Ehmke - drums, percussion, flute, and bagpipes
Thomas Stauch - drums/percussion until 2005
1988 - Battalions of Fear
1989 - Follow the Blind
1990 - Tales from the Twilight World
1992 - Somewhere Far Beyond
1993 - Tokyo Tales (live)
1995 - Imaginations from the Other Side
1996 - The Forgotten Tales (covers and alternate versions of songs)
Hansi Kürsch also has a side project called Demons & Wizards with Iced Earth's leader Jon Schaffer. He frequently guests on other speed/power/progressive metal bands' albums, including Ayreon's 01011001, Gamma Ray's "Land of the Free" and "Farewell", and Edguy's "Vain Glory Opera" and "Out Of Control".They provide examples of:
If you know your Silmarillion, you know the guy'll be saved. It'll cost him a hand, but he'll be okay for the entire First Age.
Audience Participation Song: Most of their songs, but "The Bard's Song" is sung mostly by the audience, "Valhalla" and "The Last Candle" involve the audience chanting the chorus (or in "The Last Candle"'s case, the outro) for as long as possible after the song ends, and "And Then There Was Silence" actually has a part that goes "la-la-la", representing thousands of excited, celebratory people. They say that they don't plan for people to sing along...
"The Last Candle" from Tales from the Twilight World begins with the repeated line "Guardian, guardian, guardian of the blind", which previously appeared in the appropriately-titled "Guardian of the Blind" from Battalions of Fear.
At the Edge of Time is named after a line from "And the Story Ends" from Imaginations from the Other Side.
Concept Album: Nightfall in Middle-earth is based on J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion. Every later album has common theme (faith in Night at the Opera, fairy-tales and legends in Another Twist in the Myth, control and rebellion in At the Edge of Time) but songs aren't connected.
Development Hell: Their planned instrumental/orchestral album based on Lord of the Rings has been hinted at for quite some time but has missed every target date ever set for it.
Double Entendre: Non-sexual; in the close of And Then There Was Silence, the lyrics "the nightmare shall be over now, there's nothing more to fear" can refer both to the Trojans' expectation of final victory, and what actuallyhappened.
Downer Ending: "Harvest of Sorrow," concluding Morgoth's conquest.
Epic Instrumental Opener: "Sacred Worlds" rocks out instrumentally for 2:10 (in a song that's about 9:15 total) before the lyrics start.
Epic Rocking: And Then There Was Silence is not only 14 minutes long, the full version was released as a single.
Everything's Louder With Bagpipes: The track "Piper's Calling" from Somewhere Far Beyond is an entire track of nothing but bagpipes. The next track, "Somewhere Far Beyond," also features a pipe section, as does their cover of John Farnham's "You're the Voice."
Evil Laugh: There's a classic one from Morgoth in the Nightfall in Middle-Earth interlude "Captured", and Hansi has taken to doing an insane-sounding laugh in "Valhalla".
Metal Scream: There are usually a few per album. Hansi does them well.
Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally a solid 7, with some of their singles being closer to 6. Their purely acoustic folk songs and (unpowered) ballads are generally in the 1 to 4 range. Some of their thrashier songs go up to a soft 8.
New Sound Album: "A Twist in the Myth" included more progressive metal elements than previous albums and toned down the band's overdubbing somewhat. Its influence can still be heard on "At the Edge of Time," though many of the more traditional elements have returned as well.
Also "Inquisition", though once you recognize the source it's not so ominous.
One of Us: They're all geeks. Most of the band members are World of Warcraft fans, and Hansi Kürsch is a book geek. Hansi even openly admitted in an interview about being included in Sacred 2 that they've been trying to get their work into video games for years.
Perspective Flip: A lot of their songs are from the villain's point of view. For example, "Under the Ice" is from the viewpoint of Clytemnestra, who was responsible for murdering Agamemnon and Cassandra. And don't get us started on their Sauron tributes.
Possibly a reverse shout out; in the last Wheel of Time novel, A Memory of Light, chapter 23 is called At the Edge of Time, the same name as the Blind Guardian album which featured two songs about the book series.
Soprano and Gravel: Though Kürsch's voice is usually fairly rough, he does also switch between clear, frequently high singing and even rougher singing, particularly in the studio versions of songs.
Shown Their Work: Their songs based on on the many fantasy tales are very accurate.
A Storm Is Coming: "Mirror Mirror", "Into the Storm", "And Then There Was Silence", several others.
Sympathetic P.O.V.: "Mordred's Song", "Thorn" (about Maeglin), "Under the Ice" (about Clytemnestra), and, to some extent, "The Curse of Fëanor" (about, well, Fëanor), "Curse My Name" (King John), and "The Soulforged" (about Raistlin Majere). Several Demons & Wizards songs also fit this.
Symphonic Metal: They have more elements of this from Nightfall in Middle-Earth onwards, but "Sacred Worlds" and "Wheel of Time" are definitely this, being performed with a full orchestra.
Peter Pan ("Fly", referenced in "Born in a Mourning Hall" and "Imaginations from the Other Side")
Politics ("Battalions of Fear" is an attack on the Strategic Defense Initiative of Ronald Reagan; "Wait For An Answer" is a fable written by Hansi when he was still in school about an unusual friendship between a hare and a fox who try to stop some sort of holocaust planned by crows. Can be interpreted as being about Adolf Hitler's rise to power.)