A Night At The Opera Review

artist: Blind Guardian date: 07/30/2007 category: compact discs
Blind Guardian: A Night At The Opera
Released: Mar 19, 2002
Label: Century Media
Genres: Power Metal, Heavy Metal
Number Of Tracks: 11
This monumental album was in the writing stages for over two years and the band spent the better part of 2001 in the studio recording it. Featuring some of the most majestic and ambitious metal compositions ever recorded.
 Sound: 8.3
 Lyrics: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 9
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 Users rating:
reviews (3) 6 comments vote for this album:
overall: 10
A Night At The Opera Reviewed by: lonely hunter, on october 08, 2005
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: One thing you'll immediately notice when listening to this CD, as well as previous Blind Guardian albums, is that there is a tremendous amount of guitar melody. Andre and Marcus, more so Andre deliver so much guitar melody with amazing and technical precision. They far surpass any metal band instrumentally since the golden era of Metallica. Thomas creates a solid foundation for many of the songs with his solid and non-stop brutal assault on drums. A constant hammering on the double bass is done in a very lively way. BG also breaks ties with just straight forward guitars and drums, like in their Somewhere Far Beyond, and uses a wide variety of instruments, adding a more epic sound. Perfectly constructed pieces include "Precious Jerusalem," "Battlefield" and "Under the Ice." // 10

Lyrics: BG has been known to be one of the top elite of power/epic metal, not just because of the music, but lead singer/writer Hansi knows how to pull out some intense song writing. His lyrics gives you the impression of something that is far beyond greater than just you or me. Lyrics from "Precious Jerusalem" and "Sadly Sings Destiny" gives listeners more than just the typical elf and dragon slayer stories that power metal offers. It reaches down into faith and the inevitable. Other than the guitars or drums, BG is probably best known for their frontman Hansi. Hansi has such a powerful and soothing operatic style of singing that you can't help but enjoy the album. He sings with much intensity and passion that truely gives the album that epic feel. Best example of this is in "Under The Ice." Hansi's voice is matched beautifully with the rest of the band, as well as choir members, it instantly produces a masterpiece. Hansi is indeed one of the best singers. His voice is at the top of the list joining Hetfield and Mercury. // 10

Overall Impression: A Night At The Opera is truely one of the great works of Blind Guardian (and even in metal itself) and is second only to their Nightfall In Middle Earth masterpiece. Hansi's masterd vocals coupled with Andre's impressive solos and Thomas' perfected drumming, have indeed raised the bar far beyond any of the more recent metal bands could dream of doing. Nile, Behemoth, Trivium and bands such as those can learn a thing or two from BG, great metal music doesn't come from super thick gutars with hardly any melody and vocals that hardly anyone can understand. But great metal music comes from a balance of all the members with in the group. A Night At The Opera contains nearly all perfect songs, minus a couple of strange arrangements, that can really challenge and make you re-think your own musical/guitar playing style. Blind Guardian - truely brilliant music. // 10

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overall: 6.7
A Night At The Opera Reviewed by: PsychoWolfD, on november 17, 2005
1 of 12 people found this review helpful

Sound: Almost every power/prog metal listener our there in the world keeps saying, Blind Guardian this, Blind Guardian that, Blind Guardian rules, or whatever. Well, me being a fan of progressive, symphonic metal music, and a learning keyboardist, I would like to say that this is a very overrated band and even more overrated album. Blind Guardian, progressive symphonic power metal? C'mon, that's giving them too much credit. How the hell are you guys any symphonic without keyboards or orchestration in every song? It seems to me guitar-overdominated and drowned out with chorus vocals. How dare anyone call this the best metal band in the world? They call themselves orchestral but don't even have an official keyboardist. Only for touring purposes and a guest in later albums. That's all Mathias Wiesner is good for to them. They don't even give a shit about symphonies! All they care is how loud the guitars (the two guitars) overpopulate the production with the 1000-times overdubbed vocals. Even on songs where there are orchestral sounds, they will only use them in the softest spots where guitars aren't featured ("Maiden And The Minstrel Knight"). They are very arrogant musicians who think they are "traveling bards" who could do everything just by vocals, two guitars, and a drummer, with bass and orchestration as less frequent guests! That's not progressive metal, nor orchestral metal. It's just regular, repetitive power metal attempting to juice up their sound with guest musicians who only appear for a few damn seconds to back them up. The bass is a guest too! What the hell! The bass must be freakin' heard! They don't pay debt to the name of great metal music and dismiss the bass as an unimportant, octave-lower notes instrument. In every review of this album I've seen, all they talk about musically is the guitars! I, being exposed to awesome metal music this year, believe guitars are not the only force of a metal band. I beieve in the perfect balance of vocals, guitar, bass, drums, and ultimately, keyboards. So this album has plenty of guitar solos, big deal. I've got plenty of them not that I listen to the genre of music here. And keyboard solos, and even bass solos too! I tell you, there's better music than this. I won't settle for less than quality. // 5

Lyrics: Hansi may be a very talented and operatic singer, but nonetheless, very arrogantly displayed. I am very scornful of him because he's pretty much the mastermind of Blind Guardian, but because he (and guitarist A. Olbrich) insist on keeping their sound guitar-dominated, like a faggot throash metal band. I can't believe I used to listen to thrash. Now it's trash! I'm prog/neo-classical metal all the way man. Not this wannabe stuff who coudn't make a great epic orchestral song if the planet Earth depended on it. Lyricwise, upon first listen witout looking at the lyricsheets, they sound the same thing over again. They may use different themes such as Jerusalem, faith, fate, minstrels songs, but same verse patterns can't help but be noticed. But to be honest, if the music was completely awesome like Rhapsody, I'd give these lyrics 100%. The Iliad is the topic of the 14-minute "And Then There Was Silence." Now, apart from my above criticism, this might as well be the best song on the album and actually fits the genre I love. This at least has full time orchestration, and good band musicianship (albeit still with no bass imput). If I'll buy anything from Blind Guardian, it'll be the ATTWS single disc, even though I may choose in the end to buy a Rhapsody or Nightwish CD. (FYI, I didn't buy this album. Ripped it from another disc). The lyrics (and singing) are actually worth a lot of credit, they just need WAY better instrumentation than this. Even vocal melodies never fail to amaze me here, but wasted on inferior music. // 8

Overall Impression: Since "And Then There Was Silence" the only song here with such big effort (worth the 50% time spent on production). And if you agree, you'd best not buy this album and get the ATTWS single instead. At least the English version of the acoustic bonus track will be there as well, which is not actually a letdown either (Mies del Molor, translated as Harvest Of Sorrow). I think it will be real nice if Blind Guardian and Symphony X did a joint concert playing the whole Iliad And the Odyssey concept with a set list of BG's ATTWS, and SX's The Odyssey, which is one of the best epic songs in the world. But on the other hand, maybe SX can cover ATTWS and do the whole concert themselves, for Michael Pinnella (SX keyboard legend) is like a human orchestra, outplaying wannabes who only play a few chords of background atmosphere. Symphony X would kick the crap out of BG. I can't believe they were touring in suport of BG, BG should be touring in support of them! Far superior band are: Nightwish, Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica, and Symphony X. They believe in orchestral melody, at least. Many people nowadays think that metal is all about riffs and solos, but now that new ideas have emerged, I pronounce metal as the music of creativity, and and aspiration to greatness. Fine keyboards, flawless guitarwork, resolute bass guitars, and creative drum/percussion work. Lets not forget. Brilliant songwriting, vocal excecutions, and lyrical content of the optimistic. Blind Guardian may have attempted this, but I still can't believe they spent 2 years producing an album that is lesser in instrumental worth. Repetitive riffs and overplayed, wah-infested solos are forver dethroned, claimed by memorable harmonies, innovation, creativity, passion, and a soul/life-force crafted in each magnificent note played by EVERY instrument. Blind Guardian still has some more lessons they could learn from my mentioned bands above. I don't mind anyone loving this album, not at all, its just I wish they wouldn't overrate it, calling them the best band in the world, without listening to any innovations of Rhapsody's concept of continuous storylines in albums and standout keys and bass. However, please note that on the bright side, I express some gratitede and credit to Blind Guardian for being a defiance to the nu/death/black "metal" bullf--ks out there in the world. This is better music compared to that, at least. // 7

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overall: 10
A Night At The Opera Reviewed by: Dajjal, on july 30, 2007
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Before this album was released, German power metal greats Blind Guardian have already been reputed to be excellent songwriters and musicians, and creative ones at that, incorporating intricate arrangements and style. For this 2002 release, they had decided to make an absolutely bombastic, powerful album. The production reaches the peak (so far) of Blind Guardian's songwriting arrangement capabilities. According to their website, 50% of the production was spent on the 14-minute epic "And Then There Was Silence", which despite being the longest song on the CD (and as far as I know, their whole discography), became the album's single. Now why can't the American radio play something as amazing and beautiful and actually well-composed like ATTWS, if they're just going to keep on broadcasting "singles"? This is not to say that the rest of the album is underwritten or underperformed. This album is a gathering of epics. No filler, every song on the CD is listenable (and enjoyable). I am quite fond of the guitar-style of the 2 axeweilders of the band, Andre and Marcus. A wah-like sound distinguishes them from other power metal guitarists, or at least it establishes them as the originals in a modern world of mimics and followers. I'm convinced that they quite frankly don't care that every metal song has to have a blistering neoclassical solo all the time, it's the songwriting that counts. I admire that.The drums are intricate and powerful especially on this CD. On this CD I dare compare his work to the great Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater. The ironic part is, it is after this album (and the Live album that came after that) that the Drummer Thomen "the Omen" Stauch left the band because he wished to play music in the thrashier style of BG's old sound (and so came his new group Savage Circus, actually a real amazing band as well). And one can get worried that because the production is so dense, the bass guitar is drowned out. However, the bass actually shines in my opinion on the ballad "The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight". And I'm sure bass enthusiasts/experts can point out the bass in Blind Guardian's most bombastic, most orchestrated songs. // 10

Lyrics: Ah, the great Hansi Kursch. Already he's been a strong singer that can sing the most powerful choruses to the most heartfelt ballads. It's like a 1000 people are singing on this CD because of Hansi's overdub upon overdub wall of sound to create the illusion of a gang of warriors, goblins, elfs, dwarves, etc. joining along in the fun. Hansi Kursch describes himself as a "critical Christian", and so he has songs influenced by Christianity, first most evident on "Precious Jerusalem". Also, though not explicitly sung, it can be implied that "Sadly Sings Destiny" has a Christian theme as well. Then "Battlefield", I suppose is a classic battle song, though if there's a specific reference or topic, I admit my inablility to decipher it hehe... "Under the Ice" is supposed to contain references to the Trojan War, while the epic "And Then There Was Silence" is a direct telling of the Illiad told though amazingly orchestrated metal music. When I heard "Maiden and the Minstrel Knight", I thought it was a reference to Romeo and Juliet, but I later found out it was close to "Tristan and Isolde". I should get to reading that (assuming it's a book lol... forgive my ignorance). Crazy metal musicians, teach me a lesson every song. I know of no real direct topic on "Wait For an Answer", but it sounded like a reference to current world events especially Bush's "War on Terror". From my observation, the singer's position seems to be on a skeptical viewpoint but nevertheless the insurgents must be apprehended... or something like that. If someone implies otherwise, please inform me. "The Soulforged" is an interesting song about the character Raistlin from a series called Dragonlance, which I should get to reading sometime. And finally a more familiar topic on my part, "Age of False Innocence" is a song about Galileo Galilei, and his expulsion from the church because of his astronomical discoveries and how they contrasted with then-church dogma. I can relate to that very much because I too object to the church and their teachings, in favor of scientific discovery. "Punishment Divine" is another relateable song for me, the lyrics being a reference to the great philosopher Fredrich Nietzsche. Hansi screams: "Nature's law instead of God in Heaven!!!" The bonus track "Mies del Dolor" is a spanish version of their song "Harvest of Sorrow", which can be found on the ATTWS single. Such intelligent and creative lyrics. I can't point out a flaw if I looked for it for days. What really gets me is that they truly know what they want to do. The music reflects the lyrics so hand-in-hand. A bit of trivia here, allegedly this album contains the fewest references to Tolkien from any album of theirs, and instead of issues such as the Christian Bible, war, the Illiad, philosophy, among others. // 10

Overall Impression: This is a one-of-a-kind album. I've let people who normally would not listen to metal music hear this CD, and they've enjoyed it quite as much as I did when I first heard it (one of those people is my French teacher =D). I honestly cannot point out anythign I hate from this album at all, all is what the band had intended and I accept it for what it is and enjoy it to the fullest. Blind Guardian are reputed as well to be the kindest musicians to their fans, and the most soulful in the power metal community. They are the kind who will not submit to music critics (those like our arrogant Mr. Psycho somewhere here), and will continue to do what they wish no matter what, and it's for that reason that their fans love BG so much. Thank you Blind Guardian for some hope in this music industry and your incredible contributions. BG are an inspiration to my keyboard playing, though they have no official, leading keyboards necessarily in their music. All the same, they've impacted me deeply. Enthusiasts of music in general should give at least one shot of this album in their CD player. They're sure to find something they would enjoy. // 10

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