Blind Guardian - The God Machine
Nuclear Blast
Power Metal
9 songs (51:03)
Release year: 2022
Blind Guardian, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Ben
Major event

Whenever a "legacy" band releases a new album there tends to be a ton of people lined up ready to say that it is a "return to the roots," and a trek back to the glory days. Nine times out of ten, they are wrong. However, speaking as a hardcore fan of Blind Guardian, this really is a return to days of yore. Just to clarify however I come from the school where the eighties albums are worshiped and The God Machine, it satisfies me. I remember when A Twist In The Myth came out in 2006, everyone was clamoring to say that this album was a "return to the roots" simply because it didn't have the same production treatment that the controversial A Night At The Opera had. Other than not being a tad overblown, no there was nothing about returning to the roots. Since the year of 2006, Blind Guardian has become a major orchestral powerhouse. 2010's At The Edge Of Time boldly began with a swelling of strings that never really stopped, and their 2019 full orchestral release Legacy Of The Dark Lands fully scratched that maestro itch. That being said, it is with a resounding, "YES!" that I proclaim that The God Machine is an actual "return to roots" album, and the roots albums this channels are Somewhere Far Beyond and Imaginations From The Other Side.

How exactly did Blind Guardian pull off the near insurmountable task of getting those old sounds back? First and foremost, the aggression factor has been kicked up to Time What Is Time and Born In A Mourning Hall levels. There are a few little medieval melodies here and there but nothing quite as majestic as say the entirety of Andre's guitar parts in Mirror Mirror. Another obvious facet of the roots return is the restraint when it comes to the vocals and near infinite choirs. While retaining a very professional feel to the recording, the songs all seem like they would translate to the live setting without too much difficulty. Compared to most of their releases, The God Machine is a svelte nine tracks and eight of them are metal full on, with one mid tempo ballad being the sole outlier. First opening salvo Deliver Us From Evil, begins with a semi jaunty bouncy beat that actually harkens back to the first couple measures of Precious Jerusalem. Swiftly though, we ascend to a barrage of double bass in verses while the guitars use simple yet tight and effective speed metal riffing ala the song Somewhere Far Beyond. Oh man, the guitars are so satisfying to listen to. Marcus' role as rhythm guitarist needs to be appreciated a bit more, and this album shows how his precision playing is integral to the heavy side of Blind Guardian. In a kind of neat little lyrical twist for me, Secrets Of The American Gods actually reminds me of the song Battalions of Fear and its allusions to American splendor. Musically, it is another fast number with a few mid tempo solo sections. At almost eight minutes, this is the longest song on here yet it doesn't feel in any way overblown and bloated. There's one ballad on here and despite it not being an overt, in your face medieval romp such as Skalds And Shadows or A Past And Future Secret, there is an unmistakable feeling of ancient forlorn solitude. While this isn't a Wacken sing along like The Bard's Song, atmospherically it fits on the album as we near the final third. Despite the notion that elves are dainty, lithe, pointy eared, and frilly, Blood Of The Elves is one of the faster and heavier tracks here.

As the years tick on by, it is harder and harder for me to care about new releases even if they are from some of my old favorite bands. The God Machine is one of the few new releases to break through my barrier and I'm glad it did. I almost feel like if this had come out after A Night At The Opera or even after A Twist In The Myth, their career trajectory would be quite different. They really did bring in a whole new wave of fans with their super orchestral leanings. The God Machine is a great album that satisfies long time fans of the band. I really hope people that came on board to Blind Guardian post 2010 aren't turned off by this leaner and meaner sound.

Killing Songs :
Deliver Us From Evil, Damnation, Blood Of The Elves, Violent Shadows

Ben quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Blind Guardian that we have reviewed:
Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red Mirror reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Blind Guardian - Somewhere Far Beyond reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Blind Guardian - At The Edge Of Time reviewed by Kyle and quoted 86 / 100
Blind Guardian - Follow The Blind reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Blind Guardian - A Voice In The Dark (CD Single) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
To see all 17 reviews click here
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