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3.89 | 49 ratings | 9 reviews
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Album · 1990


1. Traveler in Time (6:01)
2. Welcome to Dying (4:50)
3. Weird Dreams (1:21)
4. Lord of the Rings (3:18)
5. Goodbye My Friend (5:36)
6. Lost in the Twilight Hall (6:01)
7. Tommyknockers (5:12)
8. Altair 4 (2:27)
9. The Last Candle (6:01)

Total Time: 40:52


- Hansi Kürsch / vocals, bass
- André Olbrich / guitars, backing vocals
- Marcus Siepen / guitars, backing vocals
- Thomas "Thomen" Stauch / drums


- Kai Hansen / additional vocals, additional guitars
- Piet Sielck / backing vocals, effect
- Kalle Trapp / backing vocals
- Hacky Hackmann / backing vocals
- Rolf Köhler / backing vocals
- Mathias Wiesner / effects

About this release

Release date: October 3rd, 1990
Label: No Remorse Records

- No Remorse Records label #NRR 1014.
- Re-released by Virgin. This edition cat. nr 0777 7 87789 2 9.
- Reissued by Century Media in 1999.

Japanese edition has a bonus track:
10. Run for the Night (Live) (03:44)

The 2007 remaster bonus tracks:
10. Run for the Night (Live) (03:44)
11. Lost in the Twilight Hall (Demo Version) (05:58)
12. Tommyknockers (Demo Version) (05:13)
(Both taken from the 1990 'Preproduction Demo')

Thanks to Time Signature, UMUR, adg211288, diamondblack for the updates


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The year is 1990. A few years prior the German band Helloween had released a pair of albums, Keeper of the Seven Keys Parts 1 & 2, which have gone down in history as the birth of the metal genre known as power metal. Along with them several other German bands appeared on the fledgling scene such as Scanner, Running Wild and Rage. A thing in common that all these bands have including Helloween is that their roots were very much in speed metal, the genre that spawned power metal. Another band this is true of is of course Blind Guardian. They released two albums in the style called Battalions of Fear and Follow the Blind. Like the others mentioned above, they then made the transition to a power metal band with 1990's Tales From the Twilight World.

Blind Guardian are not only a key band in the genre due to how successful they have been, but because they were one of the ones who really pushed it forward into it's own style. Though there had been several other power metal albums before Tales From the Twilight World the ones that were not still overly dominated by speed metal or heavy metal elements were rare. I would personally count the famous Keeper of the Seven Keys albums as such I have overall always found their production sound to still be very traditional and very much eighties sounding. Running Wild always had a heavy metal side to them while Rage kept both speed and heavy elements on their late eighties work. 1990 was the point where things really started to change for power metal. Former Helloween guitarist Kai Hansen released the first Gamma Ray album Heading for Tomorrow earlier in 1990 of course, during a time when Helloween themselves were gearing up towards the release of the not so fondly remembered Pink Bubbles Go Ape and often loathed Chameleon album, and had also taken the young Blind Guardian under his wing, which resulted in several guest appearances in their early work such as on Tales From the Twilight World during the track Lost in the Twilight Hall. How much of their switch from speed to power metal was his influence is debatable, but what I do know is that with Tales From the Twilight World Blind Guardian were one of the early bands to unify power metal into a distinct style without still have one foot in the camp of another genre.

There are still some speed metal elements on this album of course, but the switch in direction is very evident. The album is hard hitting, admittedly not too polished especially when compared to their following work, but it's that raw energy that makes it a special entry in their discography. Years down the line the power metal genre has become one that certain breeds of metalhead like to snigger at and make jokes about (favourites being that the music is cheesy and that the singers sound like fairies) which makes me wonder what the hell went wrong along the way with the style as it caught on and become standardised, because Tales From the Twilight World is simply fucking metal to the absolute textbook definition. It's heavy, fast, memorable and most of all the vocals are powerful. Hansi Kürsch has not quite hit his peak here even, and he still sounds better than most power metal singers that both came before or since, including Kai Hansen who while I respect immensely as a musician and as the Godfather of power metal, isn't really all that much of a great singer, as evidenced by as his contribution to Lost in the Twilight Hall. I digress, in fact all of the album is powerful work, ballad Lord of the Rings aside. It may seem like a pun to say it, but this album really injected the power into the power metal genre. It's sad how many newer bands don't really have that and how the bands who are harder usually rely on heavy, speed or thrash metal elements to get them there. While there is indeed speed metal on this album it's more of a leftover by-product due to the band's evolution and would be gone completely on their next album.

Blind Guardian's speed metal records were good, but Tales From the Twilight World brought the band onto a whole other level. It's not quite as good as the two albums that they would go on to make next, Somewhere Far Beyond and Imaginations From the Other Side, but it's one hell of a stepping stone towards them. With Lord of the Rings we get the template for the Blind Guardian folk ballad, though sadly they messed up the lyrics, presumably in translation, by singing 'gnomes' instead of 'dwarves', which I'm sure is going to bother any Tolkien die-hards who listen to the song. They fixed this is a later re-recording though. Tracks like Traveler in Time, Welcome to Dying, Goodbye my Friend and Tommyknockers, especially Tommyknockers, are all early power metal classics.

Overall, Tales From the Twilight World really is an essential release. Not only is it an excellent album, but it's also fairly historic in the development of its genre. Awhile I can't quite give it five stars, mostly because there were still a couple of bugs to be worked out of the Blind Guardian sound at this point, it's no less of a classic album. Also if you're one of the people I referred to earlier who think power metal is cheesy and sung by fairies, then listen to this album. This here is power metal with balls!

Three albums into their career and Blind Guardian have still yet to find that certain something that would make them unique amongst all the other power metal bands. Although there are certain hints of it creeping in, it isn't enough to make 'Tales from the Twilight World' truly stand out.

The use of acoustic guitars, more intricate vocal melodies and Tolkien-inspired lyrical themes are all signs of where the band are going musically, but sadly it fails to distinguish anything of this album from its predecessors. Songs such as 'Lord of the Rings', 'Welcome to Dying' and 'Tommyknockers' are some of the more memorable moments, but they're lost amidst an album of mediocre speed metal tracks ('Lord of the Rings' is damn catchy, though).

Much like their previous albums, 'Tales from the Twilight World' may be held in higher regard by enthusiasts of the genre, and whilst I absolutely love Blind Guardian's later material, to me, this is just another generic power metal affair.
If you enjoy Power Metal then this is an album that will either be already in your collection or pretty high up on your to-do list; since 1990’s Tales Of The Twilight World by the German band Blind Guardian is a pretty big deal, this album helped the band reach new heights, helped the band to separate their style from precursor Thrash and Speed stylings and into more purely Power territory, as well as introducing the world to their concert favourite ballad ‘Lord Of The Rings.’

‘Twilight World occupies a sweet spot in the band’s discography where it still has all the raw charm of the early material, but introduces a lot of the tropes from their better known material, such as Queen-inspired harmonies, choral involvement and progressive structuring and arrangements. Hansi ‘s vocals are really developing into the style fans know and love and Kalle Trapp’s production job sounds even better than on the previous two records.

Like several other Blind Guardian albums; the album boasts guest appearances from other musical greats including Iron Saviour’s Piet Sielck and frequent collaborator, Gamma Ray’s Kai Hansen. The lyrics reference a lot of popular fiction, like Dune, E.T. And The Tommyknockers, as well as all the Tolkien you can expect from the band who famously made a whole concept album about the Salmarillion.

If you are into the catchy choruses, there’s plenty to love here, and you’ll be humming melodies from this record all week long after hearing it. If you are into the guitar heroism, the leads and solos are delightful as always, and if you want riffs there’s plenty of Thrash in here to get you excited.

Highlights include the strong opener ‘Traveller In Time,’ as well as the excellent ‘Lost In The Twilight Hall’ and of course the aforementioned ‘Lord Of The Rings.’

If you are into the band, this album is a real no-brainer and if you are into the genre, its something you really ought to try out soon. There’s some seriously high quality memorable material on here, plenty of impressive solos and fills, and some fairly interesting lyrics. This really was the first of a streak of Blind Guardian gems from the 1990s, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this type of music.

Tales From the Twilight World catches Blind Guardian in the midst of their transformation from a power metal-flavoured hybrid of speed and thrash metal to masters of purebred power metal; to a large extent, more or less every album they have put out since has followed the lead set by this one, which set the blueprint for their sound.

With lyrical subjects drawn from a range of genre fiction touchstones, the album is the band's most confident of their first three, and whilst at a first listen it's hard not to get into the spirit of things, on repeated listens some parts become increasingly trite and irritating (in particular, the chanted refrain in Tommyknockers is just unbearable). This is the point where Blind Guardian became a decidedly acquired taste, so if you have the taste for them then good for you, give it a go - but if you find it falls flat, perhaps they aren't the power metal crew for you.

Yes this is true, it seems that these guys where the ones that gave power metal that edge it needed, whenever the speed element became more melodic and "powerfull".

This album is an interesting one, cause it really showed what Blind Guardian where to become.

As an album...yea its just classic metal at its best really, I wouldn't say it's perfect, their are moments where I'm thinking "meh", but to be honest, as a third album, with a band still trying to signify their sound, its pretty damn good.

The album also has a bit of a concept, where the songs seemed to be based on fantasy and other typed of literature, which was pretty cool.

1. Traveler In Time - Fast & frantic as hell. Great lyrics and a catchy chorus. 10/10

2. Welcome To Dying - Vicious speed. Good build up throughout. 8/10

3. Weird Dreams - Pretty interesting instrumental with some discordant parts. 9/10

4. Lord Of The Rings - The folky song. Great chorus & interesting arrangement. 9/10

5. Goodbye My Friend - Great chorus. Cool gang vocals. 8/10

6. Lost In The Twilight - Very interesting moments. Good chorus. Kai's vocals are amazing. Great instrumental work. 9/10

7. Tommyknockers - Weird but great chorus. The arrangement is also amazing. 10/10

8. Altair 4 - Odd little thing showing alot of progression. 8/10

9. The Last Candle - The first real epic Blind Guardian song with a big big chorus. Great closer. 10/10

CONCLUSION: I think this album plays an important part in the history of metal...or maybe I'm just mental.
"Tales from the Twilight World" is the 3rd full-length studio album by German power/speed metal act Blind Guardian. The album was released through No Remorse Records in October 1990. "Tales from the Twilight World" was Recorded in March - May 1990 in Karo Studios with producer Kalle Trapp, who had also produced the band´s first two studio albums.

The music on the album is power/speed metal done the teutonic way, which means that the music is epic and melodic in addition to being fast-played and raw. There´s been an evolution of sound since the more direct speed metal found on the two predecessors and up until then "Tales from the Twilight World" was by far Blind Guardian´s most epic sounding release. Compared to subsequent releases by the band this album is a rather stripped down affair though.

Hansi Kürsch distinct sounding voice and strong vocal delivery have always been some of the greatest assets to Blind Guardian´s sound and that´s also the case here. It´s not his best vocal performance though but my assumption is that much has to do with the dry and lifeless sound production. The band must have felt really comfortable with Kalle Trapp, because I doubt it´s his abilities as a sound producer that made them pick him for the job once again. I know many 80s albums sounded like this (empty and reverb laden), but this is a 1990 recording and I expect better. There are several good quality tracks on the album. The best example is probably the strong opener "Traveler in Time", but most tracks are of a good quality even though few reach excellence.

So while "Tales from the Twilight World" is certainly an improvement over the first two albums by the band, it´s not exactly the sound of a mature band either. Blind Guardian are skilled musicians and they were relatively skilled composers this early on too, but the overall quality of the product is lacking (especially as a consequence of the poor sound production). A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is still deserved though.
Tales From The Twilight World is a very special album to me. Not because it was my introduction to Blind Guardian (it wasn’t), but because after hearing several of their songs it was this album that I brought first and has remained one of my favourites of theirs ever since, and along with its next two follow-ups, Somewhere Far Beyond and Imaginations From the Other Side makes up the first of what I consider to me a trio of essentially masterpieces from this fantastic band.

The album couldn’t begin in any a more epic fashion with Traveller in Time. Vocals enter right from the off, the music slower than what will be typical of the album. It’s an epic build up into the main song and personally I wish more bands would start albums like this instead of including intro tracks which mostly end up pointless pieces of filler. No such case here. At about forty-five seconds it the speed picks up and the album is truly away. There is less of a thrash feel on this album than on its two predecessors, much more speed metal influence and there is also evidence of Blind Guardian starting to show power and progressive elements in their music. The chorus in this song really gets you going and the lead solo section, which has its slower and melodic sections as well as speed really makes the track the masterpiece that it is. Everything is perfect and the rest of the album continues the tread. Tracks such as Tommyknockers, Goodbye My Friend, and The Last Candle in particular are all just as good.

That’s not to say that the albums other tracks are inferior, trust me, they’re not. Straight after Traveller in Time we get Welcome to Dying, a track which Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth (and Blind Guardian’s frontman Hansi’s side project Demons & Wizards) has credited as his favourite Blind Guardian song. Well I personally don’t share that opinion but I can see why. Though it’s a shorter piece than Traveller in Time, it’s no less epic. Hansi’s vocals really shine here.

The oddball of the album has to be Weird Dreams, a short instrumental between Welcome to Dying and Lord of the Rings. It’s pretty much a foreshadowing of future progressive influence.

Lord of the Rings is the ballad of the album, showcasing Blind Guardian’s soft side really well. The acoustic driven chorus in particular really puts me in mind of Middle-Earth and Tolkien’s tale, from which the song is based. The band don't consider this the proper version of the song (that can be found on the compilation The Forgotten Tales) but I like this version as well, even if there are thematic mistakes in the lyrics.

In Lost in the Twilight Hall Kai Hansen appears on guest vocals (as he did on Valhalla from Follow the Blind). He does vocal tradeoffs with Hansi rather than having his own section in this song and it works better than on Valhalla, although I didn’t mind him on that song. Hansen also appears on lead guitar in The Last Candle. There’s also a nice lyrical reference to Traveller in Time in the song.

If in all the song’s there is a weaker point it is Altair 4. This song is basically just an epilogue to Tommyknockers, as both of them are based off the same book. It starts with some ambient style synths before some heaviness kicks in. It’s another track which has progressive influence. Note that I choose the word weaker instead of weak. Weak implies it’s not very good but weaker implies that it’s just not as good as the rest of the album, and that pretty much sums of Altair 4. Good, but after the epic Tommyknockers, perhaps a moment to calm down before moving onto The Last Candle, which coincidently is a great way to end the studio material on the album (or the album as a whole, if you are listening to a non-Japanese original). There’s also another lyrical reference in this song to a past song, this time Guardian of the Blind from Battalions of Fear.

There’s a nice nod to literature on this album’s lyrics (as there has been in other Blind Guardian albums), with themes including Frank Herbert’s Dune (Traveller in Time), Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (Lord of the Rings & Lost in the Twilight Hall), and Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers (Tommyknockers and Altair 4). Unfortunately there’s a lyrical mistake in Lord of the Rings where Hansi sings about “Seven rings to the gnoms”. In The Lord of the Rings books the line should have been “Seven rings to the Dwarves”. Of course this is only a lyrical mistake in terms of continuity with Tolkien’s work, and bears to effect on the enjoyment of the album and they fixed it on the new version of the song that I mentioned earlier, which can be found on The Forgotten Tales.

Hansi’s vocals are top notch on this album. He varies from very clean singing (Lord of the Rings), to more aggressive singing (but never full on growling). The rhythm section is extremely tight in terms of speed, which make this a very heavy album. Definitely a headbanging record if ever there was one. Lead guitar is impressive as well, solos kick in just where they’re needed, and overall Tales From The Twilight World is an extremely well planned and executed album.

Since I have the 2007 Remaster here, I’m going to close this review with some talk on the bonus tracks (though note that the score of this album only takes the main album into account).

First up is a live version of Run for the Night which originally appeared on the debut album Battalions of Fear. This was a bonus track for the Japanese version of the album original but now appears on all pressings (hence my earlier note album The Last candle being the end of the studio material). One thing to note is that if you have all remastered versions, this is the third album in a row to feature this song, what with battalions of Fear having the original, Follow the Blind having a demo version and now this live version. Despite the fact that it is a good song, talk about over flogging it.

The next two bonus tracks are new for the remastered edition. Both are demos from this very album, the chosen tracks being Lost in the Twilight Hall and Tommyknockers. Lost in the Twilight Hall is perhaps the more notable of the two, as it is a version which doesn’t include Kai Hansen in any shape or form. The vocal tradeoffs section is sung only by Hansi in a distinctly different style, which is understandable as in the final version both singer’s lines overlap. Tommyknockers is no less epic for being a demo version, though it does sound quite different in terms of tone and production.

Overall score of this album is 10. For what minimal faults it has, they are far outweighed by the album’s greatness. A must own for metal fans in general.

(Review originally written for Heavy Metal Haven)
Conor Fynes
'Tales From The Twilight World' - Blind Guardian (5/10)

The reason that Blind Guardian can be considered a progressive metal band is from the great complexity of the music found on their two 'masterpiece' albums, 'Nightfall In Middle-Earth' and 'A Night At The Opera.' However, unfortunately all of their music isn't that complex, and while I am admittedly a great fan of power metal (especially European-style)'Tales From The Twilight World' feels a bit too raw for it's own good.

For starters, I will say that Blind Guardian is one of my favourite metal bands, and the two masterpieces are two of my most cherished records in my collection. As a fan of power metal, I have listened to a lot of different power metal bands, and while there are only a few that really stand out; Blind Guardian being one of them. For a band that was just getting into a progressive, complex swing of things, the fact that this album is sort of simple (at least compared to later work) is understandable and forgivable. But being no stranger to power metal, I'm not even sure if this can be considered real power metal. Yes, there are references to fantasy (hell, they even have a song here called 'Lord Of The Rings!') and Blind Guardian is first and foremost, a power metal band but this would better be described as just being 'speed metal.' The European power metal style is usually accompanied by a great style of finesse and elegance; an epic quality as if to evoke thoughts of what it's like to charge into an army of orcs and goblins. However, this is very stripped down, and besides a few moments (the 'LOTR' song, for instance) where a feeling of fantasy and otherworldliness is evoked, it sounds more like a band some leather clad 1980s youth from LA would listen to, as opposed to the traditional 'swords and sorcery' lover archetype that power metal fans are associated with.

As a power metal purist (traditional speed metal has it's merits, but I don't care to listen to it) I find this failure to sound really 'epic' sort of disappointing. But it's Blind Guardian, so if you like this band, I guess this is worth at least checking out regardless.
Time Signature
Welcome to metal...

Genre: power metal, speed/thrash metal

As with the previous album, "Tales from the Twilight World" successfully blends the epicness of power metal with the rawness of thrash metal, drawing on both melody and speed.

There are plenty of melodic parts such as catchy choruses that often invite the listener to sing along, and melodic guitar parts. The opening track "Traveler in Time" is basically a streaight speed/power metal track with a rather epic opening that just about avoids being cheesy. This also applies to "Guardian of the Blind" Blind Guardian are obviously very good at just balancing their epicness right. We see that, or rather hear that, in most of the songs on this album.

While essentially a straight speed/power metal album, "Tales from the Twilight World" does contain inklings of the more progressively inclined style that Blind Guardian would later adopt as evident in the acoursting interludes and acoustic parts that appear in some of the songs.

Power metal fans should appreciate this album, and I think that some fans of speed and thrash metal might also like it, because Blind Guardian manage to keep the power metal cheesiness at a minimum.

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