Blind Guardian

At the Edge of Time

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Over the years, metal has demonstrated that it can be quite flexible, incorporating everything from punk (thrash metal, death metal, black metal) to hip-hop (rap-metal) to goth-rock (gothic metal) to traditional European folk (folk-metal). And on At the Edge of Time, Blind Guardian's influences range from Euro-folk to classical to progressive rock; the end result is a fairly diverse album, which is not to say that the disc is groundbreaking by 21st century standards. These German power metal/progressive metal veterans have been around since the mid-'80s, and whether they are being influenced by Euro-classical or Euro-folk, At the Edge of Time maintains a stubbornly pre-'90s outlook -- both musically and lyrically. The lyrics are strictly fantasy-based, as were so many pre-‘90s metal lyrics -- and when they incorporate Euro-folk on occasion, they don't do it in the black metal-ish or death metal-ish way that, say, Finntroll do. Blind Guardian continue to live and breath the '70s and '80s, reminding us that they enjoy the pomp of Queen as much as they enjoy the pomp of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Some will complain that this 63-minute CD sounds dated, but then, dated is exactly what Blind Guardian are going for; they don't run away from it, they embrace it. Besides, one man's dated is another man's classicist. Although not quite essential, At the Edge of Time is an engaging disc that not only achieves a fair amount of diversity within a power metal/prog-metal framework -- it is also one of the more consistent releases that Blind Guardian have provided in the 21st century.

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