A Night At The Opera – 2002
After the heavy-themes and grand-concept stylings of the four previous studio albums, the Bards change tack in an altogether dramatic fashion on A Night At The Opera, so called after the Queen album of the same name, itself named after a Marx brothers production. Just as Blind Guardian fans were beginning to know what to expect from the Bards, it’s as though they said – in true Monty Python fashion – “ … and now for something completely different.” The result is an album which arguably owes more to the British variety-rock act than to U.S. speed and thrash metal. On this album we hear Blind Guardian at their most musically expansive, and correspondingly, the album marks a return to their earlier approach in which they broach an assortment of stories and themes, most notably: two tracks dealing with Cassandra and the Trojan war, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, the Nazi propaganda machine and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s descent into a paranoid vision in which he is judged by saints. The galloping track ‘Battlefield’ has since earned the dubious honour of soundtracking the Heavy Metal edition of Adult Swim’s game Robot Unicorn Attack. The last of what most would consider to be the classic Blind Guardian period is marked by Live – a double-album comprised of recordings taken from their world tour, and the last before the departure of Thomen Stauch and their subsequent signing to Nuclear Blast Records.