Progress and setbacks
A sign of life just to let you know that Christmas is getting closer and we are still not done with recordings, yet. But, and that is the good news for the album, we are still on schedule. The description "on schedule" can be loosely interpreted when talking about a Blind Guardian album production. There is only a small amount of guitars which need to be completed, some bass, a lot of vocals and even more mixing. We are targeting an early February deadline. I am very sorry we have not been able to involve you more so far, but we are so focused on the album that we hardly find the time to eat. I have become a skinny beauty during these days. I promise to provide you with some studio shots as soon as the new year has started.

The single we mentioned a few months ago has been completed and I wouldld like to provide you with some information about it, only the important stuff and of course only the true stuff. There will three songs on the single: 1. Fly, 2. Skalds and Shadows (acoustic version), 3. In A Gadda Da Vida.

"Fly" is a quite surprising title for a Blind Guardian song, one could think. But it lyrically fits very, very well. This song is about inspirations and how they can influence your art, your life and other people's lives. I, myself, was inspired by the movie "Finding Neverland" when doing the lyrics. The music is mindblowing. It certainly describes how we look at music and how we see ourselves as musicians. We love to explore and assimilate. Though the song is different, it is pure Blind Guardian. I, personally, consider it to be amongst the best songs we have ever written. It is new!!! It is fresh!!! Whether you like it or not, you will have to admit that you have never heard anything like that before. Not from Blind Guardian and neither from any other band on this planet.

The acoustic version of "Skalds and Shadows" stands completely in the tradition of songs like "The Bard's Song" and "A Past and Future Secret". Charlie and Frederik came up with a very cool percussion arrangement and on top of it Frederik played some mindblowing flute melodies. We are very happy with the result and we are working on a more orchestral version at the moment, which is supposed to become part of the album. This purer version will only be on the single. The word "skald" is probably not very common, but is nothing else than the ancient nordic description for their bards. The nordic Edda poems have mostly been invented by Skalds and they also have kept these stories alive by traveling around and telling the stories to other people. I, as a fan of "Die Nibelungen" and of Tolkien's work, was mostly thrilled by the Saga of Volsung, which the song lyrically partly scratches - as well as the mission of the storyteller.

As probably most of you have figured out, "In A Gadda Da Vida" is a cover version of the Iron Butterfly smash hit. Although we like stoner music - we dared to turn it into a modern speed metal tune. This song of course will only appear on the single.

The single's cover artwork has been done by Anthony Clarkson. He did a great job. The motive is pretty much Blind Guardian. I am sure you will love it.

What else can I tell you? We have not decided how the album will be entitled. Due to lyrical issues I am brainstorming with the word "myth", but that does not necessarily mean it finally will be used for the title. The two strongest titles from my point of view so far are "A Twist in the Myth", or "Borderline Myth". None of them can be seen as confirmed. Sometimes you wake up and you just know: that's the title to go for. Mostly it is just the question of the right inspiration...

We saw your discussion about the possible style we may have chosen for the new album and I just would like point out the following one more time: we will not deny our roots, but we at the same time will not make a step back and we have no intention to stand right where we have been with the last studio album. The album will contain 11 very strong songs, which all differ strongly from each other. There's heavy metal, there's more rockish metal, there's more progressive metal, there's more intense metal, but there is no rip off! We do not sell out. "Selling out" could be a cool title, too, by the way. Ah, damn!, someone has used it before, I think.

The single will give you an idea of how much the songs on the album will be different from each other. To explore and invent something new - that's the thrill!!!

After describing all the progress we have been making I must inform you about a setback for us. Almost immediately after I have posted my report about the progression of the new album to Jason and Pedro, I have caught a cold. My appointment with the doctor delivered bad news: it is the regular seasonal virus including a terrible middle ear infection. On top of it I am struggling with severe sinusitis. It obviously is impossible for me to keep on working on album stuff in such a condition. It would be a waste to perform these great songs with a sneezy nose. Therefore I am facing an interruption of approxamtely four weeks before I can continue my recording session. Since most of the other recordings are completed this means we are going to lose the next month.

After a long discussion with Nuclear Blast we all have agreed on the unfortunate fact that a delay of the album release would be the best thing to do at the moment. Due to the importance of the album for Nuclear Blast and Blind Guardian we do not want to risk anything by pushing things. To avoid any further complications we have decided to go for a late August, or early fall album release. Since the single is completed and there is no need for a delay in that matter, we will keep the date for the single release.

As soon as I am ready to continue the recordings I will let you know. I know that this is terrible timing and we are aware that you are desperately waiting for the new album, but apart from the promise you will get high quality music in the end, there is hardly anything we can do right now. As for the announced shows in May we will do everything possible to play them. We will keep you informed.

Finally, and on a more positive note, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a successul year 2006.