BLIND GUARDIAN — The God Machine

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BLIND GUARDIAN - The God Machine cover
4.48 | 11 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2022

Tracklist

1. Deliver Us from Evil (5:22)
2. Damnation (5:21)
3. Secrets of the American Gods (7:29)
4. Violent Shadows (4:18)
5. Life Beyond the Spheres (6:03)
6. Architects of Doom (6:21)
7. Let It Be No More (4:49)
8. Blood of the Elves (4:38)
9. Destiny (6:47)

Total Time 51:08

Line-up/Musicians

- Hansi Kürsch / Vocals
- André Olbrich / Guitars
- Marcus Siepen / Guitars
- Frederik Ehmke / Drums

Guest/session musicians:
- Barend Courbois / Bass
- Thomas Geiger / Keyboards, Effects
- Joost van den Broek / Keyboards (track 5)
- Marcela Bovio / Backing Vocals
- Marjan Welman / Backing Vocals
- Olaf Senkbeil / Backing Vocals
- Hacky Hackmann / Backing Vocals
- John "Jaycee" Cuijpers / Backing Vocals

About this release

Release date: September 2nd, 2022
Label: Nuclear Blast

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

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BLIND GUARDIAN THE GOD MACHINE reviews

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siLLy puPPy
Celebrating almost four decades as a band, BLIND GUARDIAN has been one of the metal universe’s most celebrated progressively tinged power metal bands with an amazing consistency of top notch innovation. The band has been quiet for quite a few years however with 2015’s “Beyond The Red Mirror” serving as the last metal based album. The band surprised its fanbase in 2019 with the non-metal cinematic orchestral classical release “Legacy of the Dark Lands” leaving fans to ponder the next step in the band’s ever-increasing move into the world of classical music.

Well fears of Hansi Kürsch steering the band into the world of musical soundtracks have been put to rest with the band’s 13th album THE GOD MACHINE which finds the band once again releasing its inner beast and cranking out the symphonic power metal that made the band famous in the 1990s. This fine return to form also finds newbie bassist Johan van Stratum joining the team for a satisfying assault of the senses in pure adrenaline fueled top of the line power metal. Comparisons to the band’s 90s albums ranging from “Tales From The Twilight World” to “Imaginations From The Other Side” are fairly accurate as the band has jettisoned the overly progressive complexities for a more straight forward head banging approach.

In other words it’s back to the basics for BLIND GUARDIAN but with top notch songwriting and stellar vocal and musical performances, it has been easy to forget what amazing power metal powerhouses the guys in this band have been and with all excesses trimmed down to more hard-hitting directness, BLIND GUARDIAN has delivered an excellent set of nine tracks reminiscent of the 90s run only improved upon in many ways including a stellar modern production job and a reminder that these guys haven’t lost all that music magic that made them the superstars they are.

THE GOD MACHINE basically delivers two styles. First there are the thrash fueled power metal tracks that blow the roof off the house including the opening “Deliver Us From Evil,” “Violent Shadows” and the soul-crushing “Blood Of The Elves.” Of course BLIND GUARDIAN has also been adept at crafting slower harmony led track and in this case excels with the mid-tempo rocker “Life Beyond The Spheres” and “Let It Be No More.” The pacing of the album is well balanced and the dramatic intros that lead up to the power metal fury is all crafted into a perfect blend of modern vs old school power metal splendor.

Like many such retreats into past glories, THE GOD MACHINE certainly garners the criticism that the band is simply retreading that which it has done before and in that regard all is certainly true but when a band is fueling all its fiery passion and delivers the goods so compellingly well then it is indeed a welcome return to the no frills approach that has been adapted to the modern world. While not the pinnacle of BLIND GUARDIAN’s discography in terms of originality, the quality of this album is absolutely astounding and for that reason i’m finding this to be quite a welcome return to form indeed although i must say that i have also been a fan of the band’s more experimental moments of the last decade.

All in all these metal veterans play with the zeal of their youth of several decades ago and do so without missing a beat. True that this style of power metal is predictable and by the books in pretty much every way but when performed so well by seasoned veterans sometimes it’s much preferable to eschew the progressive orchestral excesses for the sake of just rocking out. The band spent many years crafting the intricate melodies and the time spent paying attention to the details has more than paid off.
adg211288
As my indisputable favourite band, when Blind Guardian releases a new album it is, understandably, one of the biggest metal events of any year that it happens. In 2022, the event is the release of The God Machine, Blind Guardian's eleventh mainline album and twelfth overall, following the long talked about orchestral album that finally appeared as their previous release, Legacy of the Dark Lands in 2019, which was released under the name Blind Guardian Twilight Orchestra. Excluding that album, it has actually been as long as 2015 since Blind Guardian released a new power metal album. The God Machine represents the proper follow-up to Beyond the Red Mirror, ending their longest gap between studio albums – seven years.

Never the most prolific of bands in terms of turning out new albums, Blind Guardian has always represented quality over quantity. There is not such a thing as a sub-par album in their entire discography and The God Machine is of course not the one to break that trend. In fact, it does much the opposite. Despite some fierce competition from especially 2010's At the Edge of Time, what we have here is easily the strongest release Blind Guardian has put out since their golden years of the 1990s. That's in part due to how much this album actually sounds like their classic period once again. This is the kind of record that will likely make their former drummer Thomen Stauch, who left the band after 2002's A Night at the Opera due to be dissatisfied with the less aggressive direction the other three band members were heading in, wish he was back in the band. It's that much like the 1990-1995 era that produced their trio of aggressive power metal classics: Tales From the Twilight World, Somewhere Far Beyond and Imaginations From the Other Side.

This most aggressive side of Blind Guardian isn't like it hasn't been heard since the 1990s. The last two albums most of all had tracks that harkened back to those days, but they were overall very modern Blind Guardian releases of the kind started by 1998's Nightfall in Middle-Earth; more melodic, progressive, and symphonic. The God Machine instead feels like it may be somewhat reactionary to the fact that their last output was the orchestral album, following the non-metal album with an album that's the heaviest they've been since Imaginations From the Other Side. Signs of the more modern Blind Guardian are still here, such as in Secrets of the American Gods, which is a quite symphonic track, and there's also a ballad, Let it Be No More, but mainly this is a Blind Guardian that is all about speed and aggression, with some actual speed metal once again in evidence within the power metal.

The only thing really missing from making this sound like a true classic Blind Guardian album is one of their folksy ballads like A Past and Future Secret or The Bard's Song: In the Forest. Let it Be No More is quite nice but doesn't quite just work in same way. That said, this is still the closest thing you'll hear to a new 1990s style Blind Guardian album. And it turns out that this is just what the doctor ordered. It is, without a doubt, the best album they've done since then. Great songs, heavy as hell and Hansi Kürsch is on absolute fire, singing like he's in his twenties again instead of his fifties. Together Blind Guardian are giving the power metal genre one big kick up the backside.

Despite being my favourite band, or perhaps because of it, I always find it difficult rate Blind Guardian albums when I review them. I could easily put the majority of them on a pedestal and even the weakest among them is still far stronger than the average album, which is why I have to force myself to be more reserved than I might with other bands. Rate them as only Blind Guardian albums and not more generally as power metal albums. Doing it this way, I had long come to the conclusion that the 1990s was Blind Guardian's five star period and other albums, no matter how good, were the four and a half stars, 'best of the rest' ones.

The God Machine is the Blind Guardian album that proved me wrong.

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