31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2005
Blind Guardian (particularly NFIME) is the perfect band for someone like me: a metal fan and a total Tolkien geek. This is definitely one of Blind Guardian's best albums, possibly their absolute best. Andre is an amazing guitarist and Hansi's vocals are unmatched. Blind Guardian blend metal with medieval and classical into perfection. The lyrics are just as astounding as the music. They beautifully document the first half or so of JRR Tolkien's masterpiece, the Silmarillion. Every track gets a 10/10 from me. Here are my comments on each song:
1. War of Wrath- A narration, opening with cool battle sounds. This is, as the title says, during the War of Wrath at the end of the Silmarillion. Morgoth is speaking with Sauron. The rest of the album is set before this.
2. Into the Storm- Great song. This is about the giant spider Ungoliant (for those of you who only know the LotR movies, Shelob's mother, who is much more evil and powerful) and her strife with Morgoth over the Silmarls.
3. Lammoth- A cry of pain. You will probably only understand the significance of this if you read the book. Echo.
4. Nightfall- One of my favourites. This is about the Noldor's anguish, and finally decision to leave led by Feanor, after the theft of the Silmarils and the murder of King Finwe. The part "Vala he is that's what you said... Finally you may follow me/ Farewell he said" is a great reference to the book, going back and forth between Feanor and those who oppose his decision to depart.
5. The Minstrel- A short medieval-sounding song. This is about Feanor speaking before the other Noldor. It is either from the point of view of Feanor or one of his sons, probably Maglor.
6. The Curse of Feanor- Another favourite. This is about, as the title says, Feanor, my favourite character in the Silmarillion, and is told from his point of view. Excellent references to the Oath. This song really captures Feanor's pain and vengeful determination. It shows a side of him that some may overlook.
7. Captured- A short narrative. Maedhros is capture and tortured by Morgoth.
8. Blood Tears- My absolute favourite. This is a very emotional song about Maedhros's rescue by his old friend Fingon. It has good, but somewhat subtle specific references, like "cut off you old friend's hand" and "It seems so clearly/ bent the bow/ cause life in me is gone".
9. Mirror Mirror- Another great one. Very high- energy. Ulmo, Lord of the Waters instructs Turgon to build the Hidden City, Gondolin. This song has an awesome sort of medieval- sounding main riff.
10. Face the Truth- Narration. This tells of the coming of Fingolfin's host to Middle-earth.
11. Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns)- Another very emotional song. It captures the concept perfectly. This is about the fate of the Noldor. There are excellent refrences to the book, such as, "I know where the stars glow/ sky's unclouded/ sweet the water runs my friends" which refers to one of Feanor's speeches before they leave for Middle-earth. The "tears unnumbered..." part refers to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (the Battle of Unnumbered Tears) and Mandos's speech which states the fate of the Noldor and foreshadows that battle.
12. The Battle of Sudden Flame- Another short song like to The Minstrel. An elf swearing loyalty to his lord, probably Fingolfin, before the Dagor Bragolloach (the Battle of Sudden Flame) in which the Elves suffered terrible defeat.
13. Time Stands Still (at the Iron Hill)- Amazing, epic song. Great guitar-work. This is about Fingolfin and his fall in a man to man battle with Morgoth. This song has an awesome bridge part.
14. The Dark Elf- A little one sentence chant. This is about Eöl, the Dark Elf, and leads into the next song.
15. Thorn- A dark song, one of my favourites. It tells the tale of Maeglin, the son of the aforementioned Eöl, and his internal pain and torment. The mentions of "betray" and "needless love" are very fitting with the books, as well as the "illgotten son" part. My favourite part of this song is the "Don't you think it's time... /come play the song of death." This really capture's Maeglin's mindset in the book.
16. The Eldar- Very good, but this is probably the one I listen to the least. This is the tale of Beren and Luthien, from Luthien's point of view, if I'm not mistaken.
17. Nom the Wise- A narration about the death of Finrod Felagund after he tried to help Beren.
18. When Sorrow Sang- Another great song. This one is also about the tale of Beren and Luthien, but this time, I believe, it is from Beren's point of view most of the time.
19. Out on the Water- Another song like The Minstrel or The Battle of Sudden Flame. It is the end of Beren and Luthien's tale.
20. The Steadfast- A narration. Morgoth proclaims his power.
21. A Dark Passage- Another one of my favourites. This is just before the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. It switches back and forth between Morgoth and his servants' point of view and the Noldor's point of view. It shows Morgoth's confidence in his power and the Noldor's desperation. This song has a really cool outro with great percussion that sounds like they really are going into battle.
22. Final Chapter (Thus ends...)- A narration closing up the album. It tells of the outcome of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and the setup of the events to come. If you want to know what happens after that READ THE SILMARILLION.
61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2000
While Nightfall may not be Guardian's most consistently thrashy metal, it is perhaps their best ever released. It combines epic composition, more harmony, and more variation. It quite possibly is one of the best albums that I own. They are truly the masters of epic lyrics and epic songwriting. Here's the rundown.The War of Wrath: Battle noises, narrations. Utterly enjoyable.(9/10)Into the Storm: BAM! This track hits you without warning. Frantic and blister guitar riffs and keyboards!(9/10)Lammoth: Spooky wailing. Might have to read the book to understand its purpose.(7/10)Nightfall: Possibly the best sing-along chorus on the whole album.(8/10)The Minstrel: I really dig medieval fluting!(8/10)The Curse of Feanor: Some of the best lyrical content on here. Maybe not one of the most memorable songs.(7.5/10)Captured: Cool narrations.(7/10)Blood Tears: I don't know what instrument opens this song up, but it's damn cool! Great opener and a great song!(8.5/10)Mirror Mirror: Another great chorus. Is that surprising when talking about Blind Guardian? I think not.(8/10)Face the Truth: More narration.(7/10)Noldor(Dead Winter Reigns): Best song on here. Without a doubt. The opening is beautiful, very soulful. Another great chorus! (10/10)Battle of Sudden Flame: Another narration.(7.5/10)Time Stands Still(At the Iron Hill): The opening sounds like it could be used as music for a Squaresoft RPG. Then it blasts into more frantic guitars. A very catchy and fun chorus(with flutes!)(9/10)The Dark Elf: Monestary-esque chanting!(7.5/10)Thorn: A heavy track. Not as frantic as others, but pretty good. (8/10)The Eldar: Piano galore. Hansi shows his great vocal harmony on this one. But, I think I prefer him with some distortion.(7.5/10)Nom the Wise: Another narration.(7/10)When Sorrow Sang: The return of franticness! More great chorus!(8.5/10)Out on the Water: Nice, gentle vocals on this one.(8/10)The Steadfast: Another narration, instrumental(7/10)A Dark Passage: A fitting end song. More fantastic guitar and keyboards. Is anyone impressed yet? I am.(8.5/10)Final Chapter(Thus Ends...): Well, you knew it was coming. The end. Ending narration.(8/10)What a majestic, epic offering from Blind Guardian. We need more!
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2001
This is my second Blind Guardian album ("Somewhere Far Beyond" was the first), and each one I buy seems to bring me new levels of amazement. SFB was great, but this one is brilliance far beyond (no pun intended) that album. It's pretty different from anything the band has done before. It's not as consistently fast and hard as previous albums (although there is plenty of that), and there seems to be more melodic hooks, reminiscent of early Iron Maiden. There's also a keyboardist this time around, giving it a neo-classical, almost Dream Theater-ish sound. Basically, the music is unbelievably great. "Nightfall", "Blood Tears", "Thorn", and "Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns)" will blow you away. I hate to whip out the cliches here, but they do apply. This is a concept album, based on JRR Tolkien's "The Silmarillion". There are several brief narrations along the way, that sort of aid you in following the story. This is especially helpful if you've never read the book. I haven't read any of the Hobbit series at this time, so I was completely lost. I will read the books sometime in the near future, as it sounds like a very bizarre and interesting story. I recommend this album to metal fans and Hobbit fans alike. Even if you've heard all of BG's previous releases, you have no idea what to expect here. If you haven't heard the band at all, you're really in for a surprise. I'd say this is probably their best album, and one of the best albums ever made. You just can't go wrong here.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2002
This is the latest in a series of works that have been progressivly better (I own them all) by what I consider to be the greatest power metal band out there right now. To be completely fair, I'll go over the eextensive "good's" and few "bad's" of Nightfall in Middle Earth.
Pros: Where do I begin? Blind Guardian has suceeded in creating a heavy metal sound that is completely unique and unbelievable. Excellent musicainship by all members of the band, excellent songwriting, and an amazing sense of fantasy atmosphere make this an epic metal masterpiece. Andre Olbrich is a great guitarist. His solos are very well planned out and mainly consist of pre-written melodies instead of improviation. The sound of Olbrich's piercing guitar, whether it is playing another catchy elf-melody or complimenting the masterful vocals of Hansi Kursch, will be the sound most will associate with "Nightfall..." Kursch is, hands-down, the best metal vocalist in action right now. Many will not like this, but he is better than Bruce and Rob, in my opinion anyway. His voice has an absolutely amazing range! On top of that, and unlike most power metal vocalists, he manages to give his voice a very scratch, gruff tone that is perfect for metal. There are also a varied range of vocals on this album; there are times when Hansi will go for a much softer, cleaner tone when appropriate, and nearly every memorable chorus he is accompanied by a back up group of singers, creating a large chorus-like effect. The songwriting is phenomenal. Nearly every moment of every song is catchy and great, with never a dull moment. The utilizaton of acoustic guitars and keyboards/effects creates and amazing sense of grandeur and wonder that is majestic, beautiful, and metal.
Cons: I have little to complain about...although the drumming is excellent, I don't particularly like the way the drums are mixed. I wish I could hear the kick more. It kind of gets hidden behind all the singing, lead guitar, and effects. The same goes for the rhythm guitar. Althought the spotlight is rightfuly on Olbrich, there are times when the second guitar is nearly obsolete. The largest negative about this album are the interludes between almost every single song. I know they are trying to tell the story of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Simarillion, but I could really do without the spoken word tracks and sound effects of fighting. Some are completly random and make almost no sense to an outsider to the novel like myself.
The bottom line: A power metal fan can't go wrong with this. Neither can any metal fan. This is just amazing. If you enjoy this album, I strongly suggest "Imaginations from the Other Side."
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Just when I've convinced myself that Blind Guardian's 1995 album Imaginations From the Other Side is not only their best album, but the best power metal album ever, I listen to the band's 1998 epic Nightfall in Middle Earth and have to rethink my decision.
When I think about epic metal, this is the album that immediately comes to mind (the 23-minute title track from Symphony X's Odyssey is a close second). Nightfall in Middle Earth is not just epic, it's EPIC. This is what Blind Guardian had been building towards for 10 years. The album, in case you hadn't guessed, is based entirely on the works of legendary fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien, specifically The Silmarillion saga. Fortunately Blind Guardian's talent was a match for their ambition. Not only did the band faithfully adapt the source material, they included brief interlude tracks with sound effects and voice actors to help set the mood and ensure the story's progress. They did it well too, in case you were thinking of the uber-cheesy narration that Rhapsody kept inflicting on their listeners. All of the interludes on Nightfall in Middle Earth sounded as if they came straight from a major motion picture. And the actual songs are simply incredible. They're all extremely well written and well orchestrated power metal songs that are every bit as good as the stellar array of material on Imaginations From the Other Side.
Nightfall in Middle Earth is arguably power metal's finest hour, and nothing short of a must-have power metal album. Once you experience it, it will no doubt become the standard by which you judge all other power metal albums.
NOTE: The 2007 reissue of Nightfall in Middle Earth features digitally remastered sound (though to be fair the original version was a high quality recording to begin with) as well as a bonus track called Harvest of Sorrow, which was originally included as the b-side to their And Then There Was Silence single. It's also the English language version of the song Mies del Dolor (from A Night at the Opera). The song is also based on the Silmarillion, so it's inclusion on this reissue is quite fitting.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2007
There are already tons of reviews for this album, but I just felt like I had to add one. I'm coming at this from a somewhat different perspective, for I'm not a fan of Blind Guardian (this being the only album I own by them), nor am I a fan of this genre of music. Yet despite my preferences, I still enjoy this disc enough to give a four star rating, which really says something I think.
I bought this album because I'd read so much about how it was inspired by the Silmarillion, one of my favorite books. At first I was pretty skeptical for a few reasons. For one, it really sounded like a gimmick to me. Lots of metal groups (especially European progressive ones) have theme albums, and they can be quite good, but they can also be exceptionally bad. Specifically Tolkien-themed stuff that's actually good is almost impossible to create, because it's hard to live up to Tolkien's writing abilities, especially considering that in the case of the Silmarillion, Tolkien spent almost his entire life slowly polishing the history of Middle Earth (from 1917 to 1973). I was also skeptical because I didn't see how a fast-paced, heavy metal album could possibly do justice to the content. The Silmarillion has some incredible highs, but mostly it is a tragedy: the tragedy of the Noldor, their "doom" as Tolkien would say. I thought that if anything fit Middle Earth musically, it would probably have to be some kind of New Age/Celtic/Folk fusion, all on a very somber note (maybe with some Mideastern influences).
I could go on, but I was expecting this album to be way off the track. Yet I was proven wrong. The theme album concept worked beautifully because Blind Guardian was smart - they didn't go off on a tangent and make the Silmarillion their own by reinterpreting it. Nor did they do what I expected, and which I would have loathed: utilizing as many placenames, character names, etc as possible just to "suck up" to Tolkien fans. Instead they kept out the gratuitous use of Tolkien's names, and used them but sparingly when necessary. The Tolkien names that Blind Guardian used amount to but a few: Silmarils, Noldor, Feanor, Arda, Vala, Morgoth, Eldar, Valinor, and possibly a couple others. That's it. If you've read the Silmarillion you know it's chocked full of names; the index takes up 80 of the 460 pages in my edition. I really expected this to be a Tolkien love fest, but instead anyone listening can tell that Blind Guardian was truly INSPIRED by Tolkien to write the things they did, they did not just REHASH or regurgitate what he had already written. Yet they didn't reinterpret either, for the lyrics are all pretty spot on with the storyline (once you figure out what's being referred to), they just did it without gratuitously spewing Tolkien at us.
As to the music itself: I'm still hesitant to say I like it. I simply love the choruses: it sounds like a hundred people are singing the words, and it gives the choruses such power. At first the only thing I liked about the songs were the choruses; they were diamonds in the rough, tiny little gems that I had to wade through lots of power-metal to listen to. As time has passed and I've listened to the album more and more, I've begun to like some of the fast paced songs in their entirety. There are a few really great riffs that get stuck in my head, but the choruses remain the most compelling parts of the songs.
"Into the Storm" and "Nightfall" were the first two songs that won me over. The choruses are great, and the rest of the tracks are epic as well. I'd say these are the most popular songs on the disc, and possibly the most popular Blind Guardian songs overall (based on the fact that I was at a BG show for three songs before I had to leave, and 2 of the first 3 were the aforementioned tracks). But surprisingly, I've started to really like other songs as well. The chorus to "Mirror Mirror" is one of the best choruses, and "Blood Tears" has some great moments as well. But right now my very favorite song off the album is "The Curse of Feanor." I can't get enough of this song; it just stays in my head for days. It keeps conjuring the story anew in my mind: Feanor, in his fell wrath, cursing Morgoth and vowing to have his revenge and to regain the Silmarils. Epic is a word that I can't help but use, and though the word applies to much of the album, it is at its high point right here. Another song that has this same epic quality to it as far as the theme goes is "Dead Winter Reigns." This track shows us the Noldor at the pinnacle of their folly, as they have just slain their kindred, and have journeyed far to the north to cross the sea when they are confronted by Mandos, who pronounces their full doom. Fantastic! The music I'm not wild about, but the lyrics are just pefect: `Noldor, blood is on your hands,' `this deed can't be undone,' `can't escape from my damnation,' and especially the whole last part of the song after the final chorus, which I won't spell out here. So many great lines. "The Eldar" is a great slow song - I was surprised BG could write a song like this after listening to the album up to this point (though the vocals get a little breathy in parts). I was so happy to see BG make use of the concept of the "doom of the Noldor" in this track. This is possibly the best song thematically, because the tragic nature of the entire story of the elves that returned to Middle Earth is melded with a very somber sounding song.
There are still some songs I don't like at all (mostly toward the end of the album, if you haven't figured that out yet): "When Sorrow Sang" is my least favorite, followed by "A Dark Passage." I'm not wild about "Time Stands Still" either, though there's a cool acoustic riff in there. And it's taken a LONG time for the narrated tracks to grow on me. If you haven't recently read the Silmarillion, these narrations will mean nothing to you, and will detract from the album as a whole, but in the context of the storyline they're (usually) fairly appropriate.
Well this review is already long enough. On some days I could almost give this a 5, and on some days only a 3. But coming from someone who doesn't like this genre of music, I think 4-stars is a huge success. Blind Guardian has accomplished their goal, and they have given us a soundtrack to the tragic aspects of the Silmarillion.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2004
God, I love this band. This is my favorite band in the world. This album made this band shine like a sun. This album is dedicated to Tolkien, the one who wrote "Lord Of The Rings" saga. BG just summed one of his novels, "The Silmarillon", in one musical CD. There are 22 tracks divided in 11 songs and 11 narrations. Let me go through the tracks and rate them.
1. War Of Wrath: Nice opening narration to this great album. At first you'll hear "Cling Clang" and they start with the talk. After the narration it connects with...
2. Into The Storm: Very fast beginning to this track. Great riffs, solo, and vocals. The bridge and the chorus really kicks in very brilliantly. Amazing track! 5/5
3. Lammoth: All you can hear on this track is HOOOOOOOOO! Pretty funny though.
4. Nightfall: Wow! A smooth and soft song. Really, this song gets you in the mood and you can imagine the Nightfall in your mind. A very good track. 5/5
5. The Minstrel: A flutey track with a little words sang. Sweet!
6. The Curse Of Feanor: This is a great song. Very heavy and melodic at the same time. The first chorus is amazing sang. Hansi's voice in this song is amazing. 5/5
7. Captured: You'll be their guests of Blind Guardian! Forever! Ha ha ha!
8. Blood Tears: Another soft song and it is really catchy to be heard several times. Loved the chorus a lot. Nice solo in the middle. Andre Olbrich is the man. 4.5/5
9. Mirror Mirror: The hit single of the album. Usually, I never get appealled with singles, but this one is different. It is amazing. Great great great song. This is like Blind Guardian's shining moment. Pure power and speed metal. 5.5/5
10. Face The Truth: Yep, we are facing the truth that this album so far kicks ass!
11. Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns): A treasure of the album and I think this is my personal favorite track. The chorus is great and the riffs and solo are superb. I love this song so much. 6/5
12. Battle Of Sudden Flame: Nice and amusing, but it can be forgotten sometimes.
13. Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill): I heard it in the Live 2003 album and both versions are great. You feel like honoring someone on this song. Fantastic song and I love to listen to it. 5/5
14. The Dark Elf: A small sangable sentence. Not too much.
15. Thorn: Great intro and then it gets slow and it is a great song. I love the chorus and people will definitly like this song and it can be heard several times. 4.5/5
16. The Eldar: This is the only song that I really didn't like. Hey, don't get me wrong. I like pianos in Metal, but this one it is like over crowded, but still it can be heardable. 4/5
17. Nom The Wise: Another interesting narration!
18. When Sorrow Sang: Wow! Great song and is hard and fast. The chorus kicks ass as well. This is like one of my favorite tracks. Love this track so much. 5/5
19. Out On The Water: Nice singing in this one.
20. The Steadfast: When you hear this one, you'll feel that it is close to an end. It has a nice mood.
21. A Dark Passage: This is the last song on this album and it is appealling and fast. In this one, it gives you a small vision of the end of this tale by showing how they marched on. 5/5
22. Final Chapter (Thus Ends...): Thus ends this review and this is how the field is lost and by this I say this is a great album.
It is a metal classic and this album gave the big advantage of Blind Guardian. Tolkien will be proud of these 4 guys who created this great music. When I heard it, I felt that I really want to read this exciting book. Blind Guardian are number 1.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2003
"Nightfall in Middle-Earth" is a musical rendering of J. R. R. Tolkien's posthumously published "Silmarillion," which tells the story of events before the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in the First Age of Middle-Earth.
If you've heard Blind Guardian before, then you know what to expect, though the music here even surpasses the band's usually high standard. If you're new to the band, this is as good a place to start as any. Vocalist Hansi Kürsch will probably make or break this for you, as his style is somewhat unique, and most songs feature intricately layered vocal harmonies, adding to the grandeur and power of the music. Blind Guardian's style is very well-suited to Tolkien, and this wonderfully constructed album does his epic justice.
Brief spoken tracks that advance the story are interspersed between the songs, and for the most part these are quite well done. (Those of you thinking about Rhapsody's narrator need not fear!) Of course, if you've never read the Silmarillion, you won't appreciate them as much, but you don't need to be familiar with any of Tolkien's works to appreciate this power metal classic. I'd rate it four stars if you've never read the Silmarillion, five stars if you have.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 1999
In 1998, two bands which were leaders in the power metal revival - Iced Earth and Blind Guardian - released CD's. Obviously Blind Guardian released NFIME and Iced Earth released their Something Wicked... When I first heard Something Wicked and I was blown away by the great riffs, vocals and drums. But I quickly grew bored of it because of the atypical song structures and lack of any real creativity.
When I first bought NFIME, i wasn't quite sure about it. Sure i like epic metal, but this redefined epic, and it is also a whole lot different from Tales From The Twilight World (the only other Blind Guardian album I had before this). But every time i listen to it, it grows on me, i always find new things, whether it be a bit of lead guitar, or an orchestral effect or whatever. The fact is, with the huge content and ambitious nature of the album, it never gets boring. It is actually the opposite. NFIME presents you with a small morsel of what it has to offer. You are interested and decide to listen more closely, and then it reaches out and grabs you and never lets go.
I have not grown tired of this album, even though I have had it for many months now. I may listen to other albums, but you always come back to the best, and this is one. Although i must say that Imaginations From The Other Side is better.
The best songs on the album are: Into The Storm, When Sorrow Sang and The Curse Of Feänor. But they are all bloody good.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2000
Everyone that I have got to listen to this album has bought it, and you will too. You don't have to be a metal or Tolkien fan but knowing the Silmarillion's story makes it all the more beautiful. What strikes me the most is their range of talents; Blind Guardian plays unforgettable melodies and choruses, (even the 30 seconds of "The Minstrel"!) and it equally appeals to fans of hard rock (e.g. "The Curse of Feanor") "The Eldar" is just piano and vocals, and even it fits right in. egardless of your background, I highly recommend it.