Blind Guardian - Imaginations From The Other Side
Virgin
Epic Power Metal
9 songs (49'18)
Release year: 1995
Blind Guardian, Virgin
Reviewed by Ben

Imaginations From The Other Side is the fifth all original long player from German metal heroes Blind Guardian. It is with this album that the bands creative zenith was reached for each song is a near masterpiece and much of Imaginations is played live still today. Blind Guardian began their musical journey with raw, speedy, and at times thrashy material but they’ve always had a flair for the fantastical. On Somewhere Far Beyond the enthusiasm for all things Tolkein was at a boiling point. They scored a huge hit with The Bard’s Song (In The Forest) and even dabbled into Stephen King’s Dark Tower saga with the title track. For Imaginations it seems like the band decided to pay tribute to the realm of mysticism and fantasy. The song Imaginations From The Other Side is a gorgeous, complex tapestry of a world populated by characters from children’s stories. Singer Hansi Kursch’s voice never sounded better and his use of manipulated choirs and numerous vocal washes that he utilized extensively here became a staple for the band on following releases. The overall tone for this album is one that is dark, epic, and aggressive. Speed and heaviness are not sacrificed for the sake of intricacy.

The title track kicks things off with a brooding, ominous intro that gives way into a hammering riff by Andre Olbrich and Marcus Siepen. Weaving his voice into the picture oh so deftly, Hansi Kursch enters the fray with his emotional delivery. The songs on this album are very wordy yet they never sound too cluttered. Choruses, while catchy, consist of more than the title of the song being repeated several times. Thomen Staunch’s drumming is frantic and fast paced, he punishes his double bass drums and his toms like no other. He always seemed like a “busy” drummer to me, he is constantly working his hands and feet with hardly any rest at all. Arthurian lore is delved into on the songs A Past And Future Secret and Mordred’s Song. A Past And Future Secret is almost entirely acoustically driven and is a direct, yet fuller version of The Bard’s Song. Both songs have a medieval flair to them but on this particular song it is pushed even more into the forefront. There is lush orchestration and a variety of percussive instruments that add to the authentic feel. Bright Eyes was a minor hit for the band which I believe turned into their first music video. During the intro where Hansi is singing “fool just another” I am reminded of fifties doo wop bands. The rhythm and the harmony used are simple yet brilliant. Andre and Marcus are pretty laid back on this one, they don’t show off until the solo section where everything gets frantic for a minute or so. Born In A Mourning Hall and Another Holy War are balls to the wall speedy head banging monsters. I want to throw I’m Alive into their group but this one stands out on its own because of its many acoustic passages. But here’s the catch, even the acoustic parts are fast and sound classical in nature. Imaginations From The Other Side closes like it began, with a big epic boot to the ass. And The Story Ends sounds much larger than it is due to its large use of the choirs. I should also point out that Ronnie Atkins from Pretty Maids has his voice in there too. I wish I knew the story on how he became involved in the recording of this record. I think it might have something to do with Flemming Rasmussen being the producer for this and Pretty Maids’ Scream album which came out that year in 1995 as well.

In my opinion Imaginations From The Other Side is the album that I would tell anyone interested in Blind Guardian to get first. When people who are new to metal ask me for recommendations on getting started I always throw this one out there. The combination of technical precision, speed, melody, aggression, and creative writing makes Imaginations From The Other Side an album that truly deserves to be called a classic.

Killing Songs :
A Past And Future Secret, I'm Alive, Mordred's Song
Ben quoted CLASSIC
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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