REVIEW: Blind Guardian @ Nosturi, Finland 02/06/2015

After not being able to attend the show Blind Guardian performed in London for various reasons, being given the opportunity to see them in Helsinki whilst I was in Finland was too good to turn down. I turned up to the venue Nosturi to find easily the most metal venue I've ever been to being situated right on the water's edge in Helsinki's docklands and surrounded by giant cranes, and as I headed in I arrived to discover that they had no support band warming up for them. Instead, just a DJ playing the most generic shite that you can imagine.

After two hours of standing around watching the venue slowly pack up with Finns it was finally time for Blind Guardian to come on. Dimming the lights, the band members came on stage to the haunting chanting intro of 'The Ninth Wave' from their new album Beyond the Red Mirror. The chanting was then followed by heavily distorted guitars kicking in and Hansi's unique vocals taking over the song. It was a great song to kick start a gig and get the Finnish metalheads going. Without knowing how much would be played from Beyond the Red Mirror I was pleasantly surprised when they took us about 25 years back and played 'Banish From Sanctuary', complete with its incredible riffs and solos that make it a favourite of mine. Hansi then took a bit of time between songs to say how they haven't played a club gig in Helsinki in over 10 years, which surprised me because Helsinki would be the first city I'd tour in if I was in a band. After a bit more talking and some remarks about how they shouldn't play the next song because the sun doesn't go down in Helsinki this time of year, they proceeded anyway with 'Nightfall'. With its slow intro that gradually gets heavier, this is easily one of their greatest songs with one of the catchier choruses to belt out too, it should be and probably is included in every one of their sets now.

After 'Nightfall' came 'Fly', the only track performed off A Twist in The Myth. It's one of the funkier songs in metal, with lyrics like "for fairies sake" and it's catchy melodies throughout. The next song to be played was 'Tanelorn (into the void)', a heavy track that gave the gig a bit more speed after the previous songs had slowed it down a tad. Coming back to Beyond the Red Mirror they played 'Prophecies', another great song off their new album with more brilliant solos epitomising what Blind Guardian's music is really about. The next song was 'The Last Candle' from the album Tales From the Twilight World, which had us all chanting "somebody's out there" for a good five minutes after the song had finished. They then brought out the acoustic guitars to play 'Miracle Machine' that served as the perfect song to further show off Hansi's incredible vocal range. After putting the acoustic guitars away the next song was 'The Lord of The Rings'. As a fan of The Lord Of The Rings books and movies hearing the song played live is incredible, and we were treated to a heavier dose of the studio version too. It just really shows how well written the songs are that they can still sound so good when changed up style wise on stage. Next up, and the only song of the night to be played off their debut album Battalions of Fear, was 'Guardian of The Blind'. This is a track that shows even on their first record they were going to be one of the driving forces of power metal in the late 80's and early 90's with the likes of Helloween and Gamma Ray.

’With only two songs left before walking off for the encore, 'Bright Eyes' and 'And the Story Ends' were played, the last song being aptly named as the show was coming to an end. As the band left the stage 'War of Wrath' was played on the sound system until they came back out and played 'Into the Storm', 'Twilight of The Gods' and 'Valhalla'. As they left the stage for another encore everybody wildly chanted the chorus to 'Valhalla' for a few more minutes making sure the atmosphere didn't die down once. After coming out for the second encore they went straight into 'Wheel of Time', only the second song of the night to be played off their previous release At the Edge of Time. As soon as the song was over the acoustic guitars were broken out again - the point at which every Blind Guardian fan knows they're going to be treated to one of the greatest ballads in metal history, 'The Bard's Song'. With every audience member knowing every word of this song it is one of the most epic tracks you will ever witness, when nearly a thousand people are belting it out in unison almost drowning out the band on stage.

With some thanks and goodbyes from Hansi came the announcement that this gig was being recorded as part of a live album, so hopefully many more people will be able to see what I saw that night, and furthermore see how truly metal the Finns really are. We were then left with the final song 'Mirror Mirror'. An amazing song to end an amazing gig, Blind Guardian are one of the greatest metal bands around and I'm already excited for the next time I get to see them play live, a real unforgettable experience.



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Label - Ektro

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Date - 23rd- 26th March
Venue - Pwllheli, Wales  

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