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Music: Blind Guardian
See? Just like the medieval bards.

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 for a 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

Former Member:
  • Thomas Stauch - drums/percussion until 2005

Albums:
  • 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)
  • 1998 - Nightfall in Middle-Earth
  • 2002 - A Night at the Opera
  • 2003 - Live (live)
  • 2006 - A Twist in the Myth
  • 2010 - At the Edge of Time
  • 2012 - Memories of a Time to Come (compilation album)

Notable Blind Guardian songs include:

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:
  • Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: "The Quest For Tanelorn":
    He tries to conQUER it...
  • Ambiguous Syntax: A Blind Guardian is apparently someone who guards the blind, not a guardian who is blind.
  • And I Must Scream: "Blood Tears."
    • 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...
  • Badass Baritone: Hansi's high baritone is absolutely unmistakable.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: Time Stands Still at the Iron Hill, towards Fingolfin.
  • Call Back: A couple:
    • "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.
  • Concept Video: ''A Voice In The Dark'' is apparently about the Mayans. Who knew?
  • Cover Version: "Barbara Ann", "Surfin' USA", "Long Tall Sally," "Mr. Sandman," "Don't Talk to Strangers," "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida", "Dream a Little Dream," "Hallelujah," "The Wizard," "To France," "Spread Your Wings," "Trial by Fire", "Don't Break the Circle", "You're the Voice" and "Beyond the Realms of Death".
  • 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 actually happened.
  • Downer Ending: "Final Chapter (Thus Ends...)," 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".
  • Fan Nickname: The Bards.
  • Filk Song: Many of their songs.
  • Heavy Mithril: Obviously...
  • "I Am" Song: Wheel of Time, which is from the perspective of the hero of the titular series, Rand al' Thor.
    I'm The Dragon Reborn, and in madness I soon shall prevail!
  • Large Ham: While he may not be one for this sort of thing live(unlike some), the vast majority of Hansi's lyrics may as well be written in all caps. Even some of the ones for their slow, acoustic ballads.
  • The Last Dance: "Thorn."
  • Long Runner Line Up: The band boasted the exact same lineup for about 20 years before Thomas Stauch left.
  • Lust Object: The Silmarils in "Into the Storm"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Curse my name" from At The Edge Of Time: an upbeat semi-ballade about bloody rebellion. These lines don't quite fit with the music at first:
    Let him curse my name
    On these bloodstained pages of misery
    • The entirety of "A Night at the Opera fits this trope. Despite being the band's lightest album musically, all of the lyrics deal with themes of despair or failure in some shape or form.
  • Mayincatec: Their latest video has them in one with very Caucasian inhabitants.
  • 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.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: "Quest for Tanelorn".
    • 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.
  • Protest Song: "Battalions of Fear" criticizes Ronald Reagan.
  • Rock Me, Amadeus!: "By the Gates of Moria"
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: This is Hansi Kursch's trademark.
  • Shout-Out: Many, both to bands and writers.
    • 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.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Mordred's Song
  • Trapped in Another World: "Imaginations From The Other Side" is about this.
  • Villain Song: Ride Into Obsession is half this or more, it's hard to tell which lines are from Lews Therin and which are from Moridin.
  • 0% Approval Rating: "Curse My Name"

An incomplete list of stories, events, and people that they have songs about:
  • Alice in Wonderland (referenced in "Imaginations from the Other Side")
  • The Bible ("The Martyr", "Banish From Sanctuary", "Another Holy War", "Precious Jerusalem", "Sadly Sings Destiny", "The Edge")
  • Blade Runner ("Time, What is Time?")
  • Celtic Mythology ("Turn the Page")
  • The Crusades ("The Script for My Requiem")
  • The Dark Tower and other Stephen King novels ("Somewhere Far Beyond", "Carry the Blessed Home", "Tommyknockers", "Altair 4")
  • The Death Gate Cycle ("I'm Alive")
  • Dragonlance ("The Last Candle", "The Soulforged", fan-requested topic)
  • Dune ("Traveler in Time")
  • The Elric Saga and other Michael Moorcock novels ("Fast to Madness", "Journey through the Dark", "The Quest for Tanelorn", "Tanelorn")
  • The English Civil War ("Curse my Name")
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial ("Goodbye My Friend")
  • Floating Dragon ("Welcome to Dying")
  • Friedrich Nietzsche ("Punishment Divine")
  • Galileo Galilei ("Age of False Innocence")
  • The Hobbit ("The Bard's Song - The Hobbit")
  • The Iliad ("And Then There Was Silence", "Under The Ice")
  • King Arthur ("A Past and Future Secret", "Mordred's Song", "All the King's Horses")
  • The Lord of the Rings ("Majesty", "Lord of the Rings", "By the Gates of Moria," "Gandalf's Rebirth," "Lost in the Twilight Hall")
  • Norse Mythology ("Valhalla," "Valkyries")
  • The Odyssey ("Lionheart")
  • Otherland ("Otherland", arguably "Another Stranger Me")
  • Paradise Lost ("Control the Divine")
  • 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.)
  • Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen ("Skalds and Shadows")
  • The Silmarillion (all of Nightfall in Middle-Earth plus "Harvest of Sorrow")
  • Song of Hildebrandt ("Battlefield")
  • A Song of Ice and Fire ("A Voice in the Dark", "War of the Thrones")
  • Tristan und Isolde ("The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight")
  • A Wild Ride through the Night ("This Will Never End")
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (referenced in "Imaginations from the Other Side")
  • The Wheel of Time ("Wheel of Time," "Ride into Obsession")

Axel Rudi PellSpeed MetalCoroner
Ode to JoyGerman MediaBlutengel
BattlelorePower MetalChildren of Bodom

alternative title(s): Blind Guardian
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