January 27, 2021

Anyone out there not heard of Blind Guardian? If you have to say “no” to this question then they really are looking at the wrong website! So, there is very little that has not been said already about the loud, proud and mighty German power metal masters and they have broken records galore since they came together in Krefeld in 1984. There is to be no history lesson here as none is needed as with Blind Guardian you always know what you are going to get and they always deliver it most spectacularly and perfectly. OK, so the Legacy Of The Dark Lands released under the Blind Guardian Twilight Orchestra moniker caught a few people on the hop but I think most of the original detractors of the orchestral work have now reflected and accepted the album for the true masterpiece that it is. However, we should applaud the band for putting themselves outside the box and it shows how committed they are as they look for ever new angles to bring metal to the masses.

Alongside this is the ever constant revisiting of earlier works and any newcomer to the band would be hard pressed to choose which versions to go for given the high number of re-masters and remixes available to us. The latest to get the special treatment is Imaginations From The Other Side which initially came out in 1995 and showed a darker edge to the band which fans and critic alike responded very well to. The content of the new version appears to differ depending on which format you decide upon so please check all listings before you make your choice of purchase. The 25th Anniversary version is available in a number of formats including vinyl, CD and an all singing all dancing box set of three CD (live, 2012 re-master and instrumental versions) and an accompanying Blu-ray of the live gig. Sadly, we do not have access to this but we do have is the three CD downloads but it does not seem like there is an equivalent three CD version for sale, let’s see what Nuclear Blast ultimately makes available.

What we have here then on CD 1 is the live version of the album which was recorded at the Ruhrpott Metal Meeting in Oberhausen on the 3rd December 2016. The band is hot and the crowd are going crazy which makes this a live performance to enthuse about and totally relish. As you must surely expect singer Hansi Kürsch is on fire and shows why he is one of the greatest metal vocalists around with guitarists André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen giving you as many riffs and solos as you could ever wish for and then we have drummer Frederik Ehmke who manages to sound as heavy as a steam hammer on overtime. Blind Guardian live is akin to a force of nature and the performance here is mightily impressive. The second disc sees the studio album and they have gone with the 2012 remixed and remastered version rather than the original or even 2018 mix, I suppose it’s a difficult choice when you have so many different versions to choose from. There are a couple of bonus tracks too with Uriah Heep’s The Wizard and System Failing both of which are the 2018 remix and re-masters and it’s surprising how well the band does Uriah Heep. The third CD is the instrumental versions and I often find that these discs are usually played just the once out of curiosity and rarely see the light of day again. However, it amazed just how well the band sounds in instrumental form but I cannot listen to the music without having a mental picture of Hansi Kürsch standing just off stage with a microphone in his hand motioning for the boys to get a move on! I enjoyed this disc far more than I expected and the five bonus tracks at the end finished off the disc perfectly. These are three tracks from the 2007 remastered version of the album plus a demo of I’m Alive and an intriguing orchestral version of A Past And Future Secret.

Some might question why the band or label has released yet another version of Imaginations From The Side but you do not have to buy it but, come on, this album was and remains a real killer and if you have a spare 189 minutes then there are much worse ways to spend your time. For me, it just reminds what an amazing power metal band they are and what a fabulous back catalogue available to us which means that I’m going to spend the next few weeks revisiting all of the works of a quite spectacular band with few equals.

Imaginations From The Other Side (25th Anniversary Edition) track list

CD1 – Live

  1. Imaginations From The Other Side (8:26)
  2. I’m Alive (5:40)
  3. A Past And Future Secret (4:13)
  4. The Script For My Requiem (6:32)
  5. Mordred’s Song (5:20)
  6. Born In A Mourning Hall (5:37)
  7. Bright Eyes (5:41)
  8. Another Holy War (5:02)
  9. And The Story Ends (7:27)

CD2 – Remix & Remaster

  1. Imaginations From The Other Side (7:10)
  2. I’m Alive (5:31)
  3. A Past And Future Secret (3:43)
  4. The Script For My Requiem (6:54)
  5. Mordred’s Song (5:27)
  6. Born In A Mourning Hall (5:14)
  7. Bright Eyes (5:14)
  8. Another Holy War (4:35)
  9. And The Story Ends (5:57)
  10. The Wizard (2018 Remix and Remaster) (3:19)
  11. System’s Failing (2018 Mix) (4:24)

CD3 – Instrumentals/Demos

  1. Imaginations From The Other Side (7:11)
  2.  I’m Alive (5:31)
  3. I’m Alive (3:43)
  4. The Script For My Requiem (6:55)
  5. Mordred’s Song (5:27)
  6. Born In A Mourning Hall (5:13)
  7. Bright Eyes (5:13)
  8. Another Holy War (5:14)
  9. And The Story Ends (5:57)
  10. Imaginations From The Other Side (Demo) (7:11)
  11. I’m Alive (Demo) (5:19)
  12. A Past And Future Secret (Demo) (3:35)
  13. The Script For My Requiem (Demo) (7:00)
  14. A Past And Future Secret (Orchestral version) (3:47)
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