Blind Guardian - Battalions of Fear
No Remorse
Power / Speed Metal
9 songs (39'24)
Release year: 1988
Blind Guardian
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

Blind Guardian is one of the few bands who are in a league of their own when it comes to reverence in metal. Easily in the same success boat as Nightwish (who else could throw a two day festival for the sole purposes of recording a DVD) and to a lesser extent, Iron Maiden, Blind Guardian have come far since this debut album. Listening to albums such as Nightfall in Middle Earth and A Night at the Opera it’s hard to believe that this is the same band. One look at the back of the cd at the picture of the band lounging against a wall with their leather jackets and Metallica and Queensryche shirts foreshadows at the youthfulness that this cd embodies. These were just four other guys in a sea of late eighties hopefuls ready to take on the world armed with nothing but their instruments and at that they have succeeded.

Blind Guardian’s early sound was one of full out speed and aggression tinged melody. Opener Majesty is still played today and is the most familiar song on this cd of hidden gems. Enchanting lyrics, (and not in the mystical elves clad in fairy dust kind of way), percussive assaults, multiple solos, and most of all Hansi’s unique voice and melodies make this a blueprint of basically the entire cd. Iron Maiden worship is aplenty, take a listen to the dual shot of the instrumental intro Trial by the Archon and Wizard’s Crown. Twin guitar leads steal the show in the former and the latter is mainly driven by multiple guitar riffs and a slick chorus. Most of the music here walks that fine line between traditional metal and thrash, similar to Rage’s early days, but Run for the Night is obviously the most Bay Area influenced. A frantic delivery of the verses climaxes with a gorgeous refrain that is backed up by little guitar licks that add just a dash of flavor to an already savory tune. Plus as an added bonus we get one of Hansi’s rare high notes at the end of the final chorus and although it’s obvious as to why he doesn’t employ these anymore in his vocal repertoire, he means well and comes off sincere.

While Blind Guardian are one of my favorite bands, I can see why this and Follow the Blind are overlooked when compared to later outputs. There are no lush orchestrations, no hundred tracked vocal choirs, and less progressive elements than will come later on in their career. When I look at Blind Guardian today I see true musical visionaries, however I also see older, mature, and wiser men than the four who grace the back inlay of Battalions of Fear. But despite their success (which they have ever so rightly earned) I don’t hear the hunger, the “go big or go home” attitude that I hear on these early recordings and who can blame them really? When you’re on top of the world it’s hard to think the same as you were when you were dirt poor and just starting out. Battalions of Fear is an excellent cd and also a nice trip down memory lane for longtime Blind Guardian fans and is definitely recommended even to listeners who have only heard the producer’s wet dreams of Nightfall in Middle Earth and A Night at the Opera.

Killing Songs :
Majesty, Trial by the Archon / Wizards Crown, Run for the Night, Guardian of the Blind
Ben quoted 84 / 100
Aleksie quoted 86 / 100
Jason quoted 85 / 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 16 reviews click here
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