Review

BLIND GUARDIAN Battalions of Fear

Album · 1988 · Speed Metal
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4/5 ·
Modrigue
Prepare for an epic battle

First studio album of BLIND GUARDIAN, "Battalions of Fear" combines the epicness of 80's IRON MAIDEN with the destruction power of 80's METALLICA. Like their fellow countrymen HELLOWEEN, the music can be described as melodic speed / thrash metal, direct and ferocious. As their debut effort, Hansi Kürsch's singing is a bit rough and the tracks can get a little messy at times, but these small youth flaws are compensated by energy and rage. As you can see with the songs names, Tolkien's mythology is already part of the band's universe, even if the compositions do not possess the refinement of "Nightfall in Middle Earth" yet.

Do not rely on the circus music opening, the powerful "Majesty" is a thundering metal overture, with sharp guitar soli. The best song of the record, and one of BLIND GUARDIAN's classic! The dark "Guardian Of The Blind" also has a devastating riff and a catchy hymn. Very nice. The short instrumental "Trial By The Archon" reminds IRON MAIDEN's "The Ides of March", a little more sophisticated, and introduces the epic and rageous "Wizard's Crown". Wow! Until now, this is nearly perfect. However, the middle of the disc is its weak point. "Run For The Night" enjoyable, but a bit flat, whereas the uneven "The Martyr" has its moments, but is hard to follow and not very coherent.

Fortunately, inspiration comes back with the Maiden-esque title track, a ferocious fast composition with an efficient war hymn. The small melodic thrash instrumental "By The Gates Of Moria" incorporates a few surprises. Not excellent, but not bad either. The other ending instrumental, "Gandalf's Rebirth", is more convincing and coherent, and concludes the record on an enchanting feel.

"Battalions of Fear" is far better than BLIND GUARDIAN's next and other thrash opus, "Follow the Blind" (only "Valhalla" is worth listening in it). Although the music itself is not very original and the band has not crafted their identity yet, the compositions are direct, powerful and epic, without concessions or useless orchestration. What more could you ask for when you're leading your fearless battalions to battle?

An underrated album, one of the best and most aggressive from BLIND GUARDIAN! Very recommended to 80's speed metal, IRON MAIDEN and HELLOWEEN fans!
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