on March 20, 2002
Oh dear Lord, it's finally here. The most beautiful album released by anyone in years upon years, if ever. The wait has been rediculous, but as with most good things, it was worth it. The wait for this album was also with good reason. Just listen to the production, the choirs, and insane amount of guitar layering and complicated songwriting. Sure, this is common with Blind Guardian, but they've finally out-done themselves, I believe. Read on to see one forever-committed fan's analysis of this masterpiece of operatic metal brilliance.
Let's start with the song by song review now...
Precious Jerusalem - Heavy, fast, and very cool vocals. A departure for Guardian with the more eastern feel, but an incredible way to start the album, especially with the very fast rhythm and singing about 50 seconds in. Wow. (10/10)
Battlefield - A great clean intro to this gets you anticipating the chaos that awaits. Great bass drumming throughout, good guitar leads, and a bridge and faster part that make you just want to, I don't know, go crazy. Great song. (10/10)
Under The Ice - Trippy intro, again with an eastern feel throughout the song. Back to the good old dark lyrical style. Great dark lyrics, even. A very singable chorus (if you can hit those higher notes). Great song, very emotional. (10/10)
Sadly Sings Destiny - Incredibly cool and bizarre intro to this one. The most upbeat track on the album, but with aggressive singing throughout the verses. It's a departure, and one of the best songs on the album. The lyrics are obscurely uplifting, and make you feel good. It's a fun song, with great instrumentals. Definitely a classic. (11/10)
The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight - Much slower than the rest so far, and very emotional. Just to keep you on your toes, it kicks in hard at about 2 minutes, still keeping that same heartfelt emotion. Great use of orchestration, choir vocals, and a great guitar solo. Very singable in the car, too. :-) (10/10)
Wait For An Answer - The most uplifting song on the album lyrically. Trashes on "spreading disease", "Ignorance", and "Hate like a fowl cancer." It can be interpreted in many ways, including the tragedy of 9/11, or as loosely as racism. Musically it's very good and very powerful, VERY powerful. Has a killer groove to it, too. It's only problem is that it's somehow not very catchy at first, but it really grows on you, and with great (and I mean GREAT) instrumentals. (10/10)
The Soulforged - Based on Dragonlance, this one is heavy, fast, and upbeat. Incredibly catchy chorus, and I mean incredibly catchy. Again, great guitar work, as Andre and Marcus(Magnus?) are so consistent with. Another of my favorites, and that's all there is to it. (11/10)
Age Of False Innocence - The opening piano reminds you a bit of "The Eldar" from Nightfall In Middle-Earth with added orchestration, but it gets a lot more aggressive, a lot faster. Another emotional one, but heavier than "The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight." It's really a great song with more clean guitar than the rest of the CD, along with great leads. Andre Olbrich never ceases to amaze me with his unique solos. He uses scales like I've never seen, and they're amazing. (10/10)
Punishment Divine - Awesome. Incredible lyrics, great vocal lines, blistering leads, and what I believe to be the heaviest song on the album. This one gets you going in ways you have to hear to believe, and it's an unstoppable juggernaut reminiscent of tracks like "I'm Alive" and "Another Holy War" from Imagination From The Other Side. Very cool song. (10/10)
And Then There Was Silence - Now this one is interesting. It's the longest song that Blind Guardian have ever done, and it's musically probably also the best. It's over 14 minutes long, and has probably some of the catchiest choruses and most powerful verses on the album, but it takes quite a few listens to appreciate all of them to the fullest. This one also boasts the least amount of lead guitar on the cd. Almost all the power is in the rhythm guitars, Hansi's incredible vocals, and and great orchestration. The climax of the whole thing comes at around the 9-10 minute mark, and it kind of just winds down from there. One of the greatest epics written, save perhaps Maiden's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Absolutely incredible, but we're not through yet.... (11/10)
Mies Del Dolor - ... for there's still one more! The Spanish version of Harvest Of Sorrow(which is found in English on the And Then There Was Silence single), finishes off this musical journey in a very mellow and beautiful way. Marcus' accoustics are great, and Hansi's Spanish vocals sound just a good.
Truly my favorite album in my collection of over 300. It beat Gamma Ray's No World Order and their own N.I.M.E. and I.F.T.O.S. into the ground to take the top spot in my mind, and it'll be a few weeks probably before I listen to anything else. So, get out your card or your keys and get this album!!!! Cheers!
on June 15, 2006
As a 30-something fan of 70's and 80's heavy metal greats such as Black Sabbath, Rush, Iron Maiden, (early) Metallica, and (early) Queensryche, my introduction to Blind Guardian was "Nightfall in Middle Earth" about five years ago, and I felt like I had found a new friend, so to speak. Blind Guardian can be described sonically as a cross between Metallica, Queen, and Iron Maiden, but with a special taste for Arthurian and Tolkienesque themes (with, I suspect, some thinly-hidden allusions to the evils of the Nazi era of Germany), and some of their most stirring pieces have an actual bardic minstrel feel to them that might not be out of place in Renaissance music. They are a band for fantasy-lovers who like aggressive, pounding heavy music, but who appreciate a rousing melody and layered vocal arrangements.
Being really taken with NIME as I was, I had mixed feelings about "A Night at the Opera". Generally speaking, the massive chorale layers are there still, as well as the cataclysmic drumming and strident, proud Brian-Mayish layered guitar-work. The fantasy themes with the veiled references to modern issues remain. (Some of the not-quite polished English remains: they've gotten a lot better over the years, but they could still use the input from a native-English speaker in crafting their lyrics.) But this album seems to have lost some of the bardic feel of their previous releases, with some exceptions granted for specific tracks. They are experimenting more in this album, and it shows in the complexity of the layering and the epic length work "And Then There Was Silence" As other reviewers have noted, however, something of the intimacy and emotion was lost. I am anxious to see if, in their next album, they are better able to integrate their progressive experimentation and the more bardic, poetic elements that shined more on NIME. Now a summary of tracks with an interpretive gloss on lyrics.
A thundering and rousing introduction to the album. The lyrics seem to take the perspective of a Hebrew prophet or Messiah bewailing the state of Israel and the state of that divided city in the Holy Land.
A commentary on how futile wars get waged when people put a leader on a pedestal and follow them blindly into battle. Strong and stirring music, though more reflective than the first track.
UNDER THE ICE
It's often not good to be the bearer of bad news because you can be made a scapegoat like poor Cassandra (the Trojan prophetess who prophesied the doom of Troy). "You're the artificial enemy, an illusion we all need for our sake" seems to me to be a reference to Nazi persecution of the Jews. The music has a slightly Middle-Eastern feel and the lyrics are suitably grim and menacing.
SADLY SINGS DESTINY
A song about Jesus from the guilt-ridden perspective of Judas. Not a high point for me on the album, but not a bad track.
THE MAIDEN AND THE MINSTREL KNIGHT
This track seems like a missed opportunity to really display the band's minstrelsy. The protagonists they're referring to may be Sir Tristram and Iseult (who in the Arthurian legends had the unpleasant misfortune of being married to the cowardly, but vicious King Marke of Cornwall). The idea of the piece is touching and gallant: the lady waiting to be delivered from bondage by the minstrel knight and the knight waiting for the right opportunity to deliver her. I think the piece would have benefited by being made more acoustical and Renaissancy with less of the thundering guitars and drums. The quiet, reverent mood established early in the piece is ruined by the metallic treatment in the rest of the song. As the piece is in the middle of the album, it would have provided a nice acoustic interlude, a pause in the action before the aggressiveness of the rest of the album.
WAIT FOR AN ANSWER
The lyrics seem to be an exhortation to keep one's eyes open and think for oneself and not place too much faith in authority to provide an answer. The music here is bright and upbeat, being in a major key.
A song about the troubled and complex figure of the wizard Raistlin from the Dragonlance series, sung from his perspective. This is one of my favorite tracks of the album, one of the most bardic and epic tracks with a driving and melodic riff, and one which I think capture Blind Guardian's artistic essence.
AGE OF FALSE INNOCENCE
I wonder if this is a first: a heavy metal song about Galileo! Galileo is here lamenting the recantation the Church has forced out of him about the earth's travel around the sun rather than vice versa. (He even compares himself with Judas for making the recantation, though maybe the apostle Peter would have been a better comparison.) Musically, not my favorite track, but I salute them for their subject matter.
I believe this song is about the late nineteenth century philosopher Nietzsche who played quite a part in attacking Christian beliefs, while lamenting the chaos his view might imply for the foundations of morality. The piece (told from his perspective) suggests that Nietzsche deep down wished he could be a religious believer because of the difficulty accepting the conclusions his own views implied. The music is decent enough, but it is overshadowed by the mammoth epic that is...
AND THEN THERE WAS SILENCE
This was intended to be the high point of the album, and I think it succeeds. It is a heavy metal epic retelling of the mythical events leading up to the Trojan War: the amorous abduction of Greek Helen by Trojan Paris, and the revenge that would be visited on them by the Greeks. Even though the events are all before the war, you can almost see the city burning at the end of the piece and smell the smoke. There are some quirky transitions between sections in the piece, but some memorable moments that do them proud musically: for example the section "misty tales and poems lost... all the bliss and beauty will be gone."
MIES DEL DOLOR
This is a Spanish translation of an earlier song "Harvest of Sorrow" (which I haven't heard in English yet). It is more acoustical and quiet in texture and a charming ending to the album. I only wish they might have had more of a Spanish flavor to the music itself to match.
This is an album worth having, though I would recommend people start with "Nightfall in Middle Earth" or "Somewhere Far Beyond" if they're not familiar with Blind Guardian. I am encouraged by their progressiveness in this album, but I hope they are able to keep the bardic touch that is their trademark and I think a part of their own deep inspiration in future releases. I'm also hoping they have a bit more quiet, acoustical pieces in their future albums to provide contrast to the heavy pieces. (This was a nice feature of NIME.) I anxiously await their next album.
on March 3, 2003
My first introduction to this album was before it's release, when a freind gave me a link to the mp3 download of "Battlefield" off of century media's website. My first reaction was poor, thinking it disapointing for a Blind Guradian song. It seemed to noisy, incessantly busy.
After spending some time rotating on my play list, I began to like this song, even love it. What before seemed busy noise became incredibally progressive power metal in my mind, with a level of complexity never before reached by Blind Guardian.
The album, after I purchased it, proved to be much the same. The title (not just one of many sly references to other musicians, in this case queen) it apropos. A night at the opera indeed! If you close your eyes while listening you could almost see Hansi and company acting out the stories they sing, ranging from bible stories to the Trojan War.
Opening with the clashy (but not thrashy) Precious Jerusalem and ending with the incrediblaly epic And Then There Was Silence, the album does not let up for a minute. Gone are the sorrowfull dirges and anthems of Nightfall in Middle Earth, the growly gutteral Power Metal of Tales from the Twilight World and the bands earlier Power/Thrash hybrid. It seems that while sticking to Power Metal the band has switched secondary genres many times, from Trash to borderline Death to their more popular midevil sound to something so prog that it's almost hard to still label them as Power Metal. But hearing the soaring operettics and clashy choruses you realize that Blind Guardian, while realizing the potentialities of overlapping lyrics, backgorund choirs and incredibaly fast insturmentation, is still a Power Metal band at heart, heard in the intro to The Maiden and the Minstrel Night, to the many verses of And Then There Was Silence and the bands thematic aproach.
The album does not have any real slow parts, the band only taking momentary breaks from their musical barrage in the intro to The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight and some appropriately low key, but still rousing parts in And Then There Was Silence. Their old tricks still hold true when Hansi sings prancinly in Battlefield and Silence, his wails barraging you over complex layers of vocals.
And let us not forget the bonus track, or tracks as I should say, as depending on what country your disc comes from, you'll get a different track. They are all the same song, just sung in many different languages, the one I have, Mies Del Dolor is in spanish. After the exhausting run of this album, this mix of celtic and latin sounding guitar work over Hansi's passionate singing is just the perfect thing to unwind you and still rouse you at the end of this fine collection of songs.
My reccomendation to you is to buy this album, and listen to it many times, even if it rubs you the wrong way at first. As complexities become unwound in your mind, the beauty of Blind Guardian's A Night At The Opera is unveiled.
on January 11, 2003
German Gods Blind Guardian spend a year composing their latest, "Night at the Opera," and come out with an astoundingly massive sound that demands our full attention.
I've got to be honest: I'm still trying to wrap my mind fully around this one. Most bands de-volve into ever increasing spirals of simplicity and commerciality over the years. Blind Guardian is doing the exact opposite. Every iteration of the band grows more and more progressive. My prog-fan friends are literally freaking out over this band: they aren't doing what they're supposed to! It's getting even more brave, even more groundbreaking!
And, in the case of "Night at the Opera," much more huge.
In fact, during the hallowed "Tales from the Twilight World" years, when BG's impact was first being felt in Europe and Japan (and for the lucky few of us here in the US), this band was clearly a speed metal band with a twist: their sound was actually UPLIFTING at times, an anomaly in the genre (Yahoo still has them classified as "Death Metal"--incredibly insulting). With their latest release, Blind Guardian have fully incorporated their ultra-speed roots with totally new styles. Truly, Blind Guardian has the most significantly unique sound of any band in the last 10 years. From mere speed metal with a gimmick, BG has become the most universally un-definable heavy act I've ever seen. Yes, they're Power Metal, but... Yes, it's Progressive, but... Yes, it's got some Queen-esque overtones at times, but...
You can't pin them down, other than to say, "It's really heavy, and really intense." And maybe that's the way it should be.
"Night at the Opera" must be experienced with a clear head and a sound mind. Songs like "Punishment Divine," "Under the Ice," and "The Soulforged" will undoubtedly satisfy even the heaviest appetite. "Sadly Sings Destiny," with it's epic chorus, will quench the listener's thirst for a hook. But even these massive tracks have elements rarely seen in heavy music. Unexpected breaks abound, even in the most vanilla moments of the album.
Other songs, such as "Age of False Innocence" and the incredibly diverse "Wait for an Answer," take the band in directions fans might not be comfortable with. But that's exactly what makes this album undeniably relevant. The band is moving, working, evolving. After many, many years--it's still happening with these guys. Their 7th album, unlike many other bands, reveals a unit vital with energy, fertile with creativity, and ripe with talent. Would fans accept anything less from BG? Not a chance.
We've all watched with amazement as a little-known post-Maiden speed metal band called "Blind Guardian" grew into a true power in modern heavy music. Now nothing can deny them their just rewards. They have become legends in their own time, in spite of the mainstream's ignorance. Their latest tour, which includes dates in the US for the first time, proves as much. Sold out shows in Atlanta and Chicago (both of which I was priviledged enough to attend) became unforgettable events we lucky few will cherish for a lifetime.
Buy this album. Not for quick thrills, for there are none. But for lasting, deeply fulfilling, musical satisfaction.
on May 4, 2002
Let's get one thing straight: This is Metal. Gloriously orchestrated, bombastic at times, gorgeously lilting at others, but metal through and through. There are many fans of the Bards out there who hearken and long for the days of old, the speed metal German madness made famous (overseas, at least) by Hansi and company during the 90s.
Hey, I loved it too. In the year+ now that I've discovered, enjoyed and thoroughly digested the Guardians' catalog, I can say with complete honesty and fervor that A Night At The Opera is their shining moment. The disc cover says their the "most musically significant band since Iron Maiden." They might very well be. Remember the time when 'Run to the Hills' was on MTV heavy rotation? Blind Guardian can have that impact.
Musically, this album is patterned not far from Queen's heyday (when they realized their talents and just peaked), coincidentally (?) with the breakthrough launch of their own 'At Night At The Opera." Like that album, this is chock full of epic, grandiose music. And moreso than ever, Hansi Kursch's songwriting ability has truly blossomed. The 1-2 punch of "Precious Jerusalem" and "Battlefied" are all you need to know that the Bards are not shedding their metal skin. I mean, just listen to the frantic "Risin' up from the heart of the desert / Risin' up for Jerusalem..." coupled with the warlike, military drum madness provided by Thomas Stauch. It's un-believable! "Battlefield" draws subtly disguised comparison to E.L.O. believe it or not. Listen to the superbly crafted bridge/chorus if you don't remember (or don't believe me). I for one cannot freaking wait to fly to Atlanta for their first concert ever on North American soil! Simply thinking of the entire concert hall belting out "There on the battlefield he stands / Down on the battlefield he's lost / And on the battlefield it ends" - it's going to be, well, epic.
The album never lets up, and never loses focus or momentum. Song after song, Blind Guardian do not descend the mountain it took more than a decade to summmit. With more variety on this disc than the average metal band has in their entire catalog, there is surely something here to please any and all fans of this legendary band, and convert quite a few new fans as well, I'm certain. The album is a masterpiece. Do yourself a favor and take the plunge so you don't miss what's been crafted here.
on September 12, 2006
This is one of the best albums I've ever had the great pleasure of listening to, hands down. My tastes vary considerably, and I was introduced to Blind Guardian and a few other power metal bands about two years ago. Quickly I became obsessed. At first I was surely turned off by the fact that, ultimately, power metal's sound was so bizzarly different than anything I'd come across (comparisons to Queen are appropriate, but Guardian is their own entity entirely). Then, of course, there was the 'cheese' factor, again entirely alien to me. But once I heard 'Mirror, Mirror' on BG's concept album 'Nightfall in Middle Earth', I absolutely caved, this finally freeing my my mind and soul from its hesitations. Inevitably, a satisying obsession with the band followed, and I almost immediately claimed Blind Guardian to be one of my favorite musical groupings, a belief which proudly holds true to this day.
And yet, as good as most of Blind Guardian's albums are, none can even touch 'A Night at the Opera'. The songs are infinitely more complex than anything the band had previously written; in place of stirring choruses and cunning guitar riffs, we literally get opuses which travel such reaching, erratic, unpredictable distances -- after a dozen listens, mind you; this is not an easily digestible work -- that one can't help but sit in awe. For me, some of these songs literally lie within the top twenty modern songs I've heard in my entire life; I'm 23, but I'm guessing I've heard at least several thousand modern songs throughout my existence on this kooky planet. There's just SO much to these individual works... so much glorious melody, which soars and spans over unbelievable spaces... such a pounding, overwhelming force and passionate drive... such involved, elaborate orchestrations... It's truly unreal. Not just this, but Guardian somehow expands and improves on the fundamental aspect which made me such a dedicated fan in the first place -- incredibly stiring, memorable choruses that blow away the spirit with firey conviction. Nonsense.
Like every work of art, it is not perfect. But that matters not, for it's simply too awesome. Every song is beyond wonderful in countless ways, even if several manage to rise above the others. 'Battlefield' is ingenious. 'The Soulforged' is the most accessible song on the album but so stupidly catchy that it evades description. 'Punishment Divine' is raw and pulsating. I'm not sure I've ever heard a song as epic as 'And Then There Was Silence'. Wandering a bit off track, one undeniable fact which so titilates me (among the many others here) is that the percussion on 'Opera' is far far heavier than anything the drummer has produced, adding a weight to the compositions that didn't exist previously. It is consistently in this form and rarely changes, but absolutely no sense of monotony exists, as it just keeps tearing the listener apart... ravishing I tells ya.
But, the most important and utterly arresting element of 'Opera' is that none of these songs are one trick ponies. They're fourty eight trick ponies. They change so ridiculously often, in tempo, melodic paths, instrumentation, etc, the overall work becomes nothing less than an absolutely distinct, innovative experience which, in my opinion, leaves even the greatest of albums in the dust.
These guys didn't go into this recording with anything but the utmost aspirations. How they even managed to create something so mind-bogglingly good is an unbelievable mystery. Surely, they were blessed by some divine hand.
An utter masterpiece.
on October 16, 2005
I love good rock and roll with influences of many different styles of music. Some of my favorite bands are Kansas, Jethro Tull, Rainbow (with Dio at the helm), Iron Maiden, Blackfoot, and Cat Stevens.
I don't understand why fans of one band think they must denegrade another band that plays a similiar style.
I'm starting to appreciate Blind Guardian. I had never heard of this band prior to a week ago. They have great talent and know how to make a great record. They, along with bands such as Iron Maiden, are expanding Heavy Metal beyond the confines of the typical shout chorus and songs about drugs and sex. I hear influences of many great bands such as Jethro Tull and Queen in their music. But there is no need to denegrate other bands just to prove how talented Blind Guardian is.
Above anything else, music should speak to you in a very personal way. It is all about the music.
on April 3, 2002
This album should not be listened to, it should be EXPERIENCED. 70 minutes of what is easily Blind Guardian's best album (among their other 5 masterpieces) containing beautiful orchestral arrangements to bone-jarring guitar riffage, this is a must-own album for any person who appreciates music. The epic "And Then There was Silence" is among the finest extended tracks of all time, along with Rush's "2112," Iron Maiden's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," and Iced Earth's "Dante's Inferno." While Blind Guardian have all but departed from the speed/thrash metal of their first two albums, the evolution is for the better. Hansi Kürsch's multi-layered vocals sound crystal clear. Marcus Siepen's and Andre Olbrich's guitars cut through the mix, full of sound and fury, only in this case, signifying brilliance, power, and technical skill. Thomen Stauch's drums and percussion are the hammers of Valhalla, and thunder through the album. All in all, there are no flaws on the album, other than that it's not long enough! So kick back for a few hours and let this album play through three or four times to let all of the sounds fill your soul.
Arrangements: 10/10Songwriting: 10/10
on April 15, 2006
First of all, this is Blind Guardian's first album since they changed their overall playing style to epic metal (switching from their normal melodic speed metal style), and while some bands don't do well when they change styles after playing the same style for more than 10 years, Blind Guardian's latest full-length effort is a seamless transition (with "Nightfall In Middle-Earth"being the gate between their two styles) into their new style. Many things about them have changed, but in the end, they're still the same old Blind Guardian.
The first, most noticeable change is the vocals. Hansi's melodious voice is multi-layered and adds an epic touch to it, recalling Queen's album of the same name. Also, he is joined by a choir that often sings the choruses and hooks in most of the songs, turning every song into an noble anthem worthy of Tolkien himself. Second, Blind Guardian's intense speed has been compromised for a slower, hymnlike song structure. But fear not, for it hasn't been slowed down all that much.
What's still the same are the anthemic solos that recall Medieval times and the insanely fast double-bass drum riffs that make Blind Guardian one of the greatest European power metal bands ever to tour the Earth. Now that you have an overall idea of the album, I'll review each song on its own.
PRECIOUS JERUSALEM (6:22)
Begins with a driving drum riff and goes into a choral ballad of exceedingly epic proportions. A great opener. 9/10
Just as epic as the last song, with a tune that recalls a Medieval war scene. Some serious double-bass in this one. 10/10
UNDER THE ICE (5:44)
Even more anthemic than previous works, with a wonderful chorus and a feeling of desperation. 10/10
SADLY SING DESTINY (6:05)
Starts out feeling very optimistic, but turns into a powerful melody of melancholy. 10/10
THE MAIDEN & THE MINSTREL KNIGHT (5:30)
Starts off as a marriage ditty, then blasts off into a pseudo-power ballad, complete with a romantic feel. 9/10
WAIT FOR AN ANSWER (6:30)
Easily the album's high point, with an intensely epic feel and speedy drums. 10/10
THE SOULFORGED (5:18)
A grandiose Medieval anthem with a tremendous choral section. 10/10
AGE OF FALSE INNOCENCE (6:05)
Starts off slow and melodic, then sets off into an regal anthem once more. 9/10
PUNISHMENT DIVINE (5:45)
Mixes the new epic Blind Guardian sound with the speediness of past albums. The solos on this are superb. 10/10
AND THEN THERE WAS SILENCE (14:07)
More epic than all the past songs combined, with a grandiose progression towards a formidable end. 10/10
MIES DEL DOLOR
An acoustic album closer with several different versions. Soft and soothing after 60+ minutes of intense epic metal. 9/10.
OVERALL: 106/110 = A
An essential addition to the collection of any metalhead.
on February 6, 2005
On their seventh studio album, the German power-metal outfit have opened their magical chest and let loose everything they have. Gone (but not too far away) are the medieval inspirations and fantasy worlds, replaced with smaller, more localized tales, and generic folklore. The album is much more spontaneous than previous efforts, notably the critically-lauded Nightfall in Middle Earth, with tempos and melodies changing so quickly, it becomes difficult to digest individual songs upon the first listen.
A select few offer catchy choruses upon the first impression, namely "The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight" and "Mies del Dolor", the only tranquil piece on the album (four other versions of the song are also available on alternate releases). The rest of the album is a melodic assault on the senses, complete with Hansi Kürsch's epic choirs, screaming guitars and a beautifully crisp production. Every instrument is brought to the forefront of the musical delivery so that every note shines; in a way, the album never lets down from beginning to end. Despite the heightened glory of every second, the album's crowning achievements are the last three songs. "Punishment Divine", a ruthless double-bass powerhouse, throbs with energy in its near 6-minute duration. The 14-minute opus, "And Then There Was Silence", although difficult to intake at first, is an instant classic, showcasing everything of which Blind Guardian is capable - majestic choirs, memorable rhythms, ominous passages and moments of symphonic grandeur. Ending the album, "Mies del Dolor" (or "Frutto del Buio" or alternate versions) sets the listener at ease with soothing acoustic passages.
Known for their dark-age inspiration and powerful crunch, Blind Guardian have delivered once again, but this time with the most meticulously executed production to date. A Night at the Opera is very similar to the cover artwork: carefully-weaved chaos in a fantastic world.
See also: Blind Guardian - Somewhere Far Beyond, Blind Guardian - Nightfall in Middle Earth