Classic Review: Blind Guardian – Somewhere Far Beyond

Release: 29/06/1992

When the acoustic guitars atmospherically introduce “Time What Is Time“, I immediately feel at home. I close my eyes and forget the world around me. At the same time, anticipation grows for one of the most exciting journeys one can experience with a power/heavy metal band.

Somewhere Far Beyond celebrates its 30th birthday this year and sounds as fresh as ever. One might argue about with which album Blind Guardian reached their zenith: Imaginations from the Other Side? Nightfall in Middle-Earth – or just this opus, which the guys from Krefeld are currently performing in its entirety every evening? No matter what the answer is, in 1992 the hit density was particularly impressive. In my opinion, the two successors can’t quite keep up, even though I would award three times the highest mark without hesitation.

The brilliance of the song material was only brought home to me again at the recent Rock Hard Festival, when Blind Guardian also played Somewhere Far Beyond in full (I hadn’t expected that at all that evening, so the joy was huge): One more had the impression of listening to a best of programme. The aforementioned opener, “Journey Through The Dark“, “Theatre of Pain“, “The Quest For Tanelorn“, of course “The Bard’s Song“ (both parts) and the title track – all of them anthems that metal fans will still adore in 30 years.

If you ask me for my favourite song, I would have to think very long. My first favourite was once “Theatre of Pain“ with its goosebump refrain:

Don’t fear your last step
From the Theatre of Pain
And the children will love your singing
From the sea
The sea is calling
Now we’ve to leave it

It still makes me fall to my knees, and on some days I shed a tear or two. Nowadays, when I write in reviews about power/heavy metal records that I miss hooks, I probably inevitably have such songs in mind that once set the bar incredibly high.

And do I have to say anything about “The Bard’s Song – In the Forest“? Anyone who has ever experienced this number live probably has goosebumps just reading the song title. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful and best campfire ballad of a metal band. Basically, only Blind Guardian themselves can compete with “Lord of the Rings“, which I frankly like even a bit more, at least on record.

In my opinion, “Ashes to Ashes“ is one of the underestimated numbers – at the Rock Hard Festival it became clear (once again) what a live grenade the composition is. It is to be hoped that Blind Guardian will include it in their setlist again and again in the future.

There are still people who don’t like Hansi’s singing. Frankly, I can hardly understand that, even though I grant everyone their own taste: For me, the vocals (not only) on Somewhere Far Beyond are a highlight, because they are incredibly unique. No singer on this planet sounds like Hansi. And almost no metal singer can touch me emotionally like Hansi can. In the interplay with the dreamlike guitar work of André and Marcus pure magic is created, to which Thomen gives the necessary heaviness with his energetic drumming.

Conclusion: Somewhere Far Beyond is a monument and without question one of the best metal albums ever recorded. I claim that its class is still underestimated, especially in Germany, because people here unfortunately tend to devalue bands from their own country. The mighty Scorpions can tell you a thing or two about it… The love that flows towards Blind Guardian at every concert is not least closely linked to this release, which is full of creativity, skill, joy of playing, passion and epicness. You can imagine how much I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s Blind Guardian gig in Oberhausen, where Somewhere Far Beyond will be celebrated from the first to the last second.

Tomorrow all will be known
And you’re not alone
So don’t be afraid
In the dark and cold
‘Cause the bards‘ songs will remain
They all will remain

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