Blind Guardian is a Power Metal meets Progressive Metal band, straight out of the fine country of Germany. I enjoy the Power Metal and Progressive Metal genres immensely, Blind Guardian for me, is always a cool listen. As I was browsing around the Century Media Records online site (CM Distro.com) several months ago, I happened to find an EP from Blind Guardian that quickly caught my Metal attention. The name of this EP is “Fly”, (released in 2006), it contains three songs: “Fly”, “Skalds and Shadows” and the cover version of the Iron Butterfly classic – “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”. I knew instantly I needed to purchase this EP. I have always and forever revered this Psychedelic, Classic Rock, gem of a song that Iron Butterfly created with “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, (originally released in 1968). I placed my order for this Blind Guardian EP without ever hearing it first… I had complete confidence in Blind Guardian delivering a decent cover version of this song, plus as I stated earlier, their Power – Prog Metal style never put me in the doldrums whatsoever.
Blind Guardian “Fly”, as with any of this bands albums, never fail to peak my curiosity based on the album cover artwork on their releases. Going in, I knew they are a capable, talented and quality Metal band, with intellectual lyrics and story telling to coincide with their songs. I am pleased at purchasing “Fly”, all three songs are diverse, with my favorite being the cover song from Iron Butterfly “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” Blind Guardian’s version is very heavy, all power, it rocks tough and hard, while paying great respect to this songs originally intended hardness and dark landscape. The only key aspect here, is to know that this is the shortened cover version of this song, at 3:38 long, (the original Iron Butterfly album version is 17:05 long). Blind Guardian if anything, makes this song sound just as macabre and melancholy, (quite a musical feat), with the vocals and music sounding equally haunting as the original. Some may feel Blind Guardian makes “In-A-Gadda-Da Vida” sound more spooky than the original version… there have been times I have thought just that. Now, as to the age old argument… is the cover version better than the original? Of course, it would be a monstrous feat to blow away the original Iron Butterfly rendition of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”… I will always like the original version more. With that said… once you hear Blind Guardian cover this song, you may very well be like me and think – whoa, this is a really cool and heavy way to commemorate a classic… a Metal job well done.
“Fly” is a more open ended Progressive Metal example, with the vocals being more punctual and deliberate. “Skalds and Shadows” is an acoustic version of it’s original, musically you are surrounded by an almost medieval atmosphere of mood and senses, making me feel as if I am about to enter an ancient, abandoned castle. I am impressed by the way lead vocalist Hansi Kursch changes and adapts his vocal approach, according to the individual song, this type of diversity and quality in singing is appreciable. Blind Guardian gives the listener a rather nice mix of Heavy Music on this “Fly” EP, even though there are only three songs. I am obviously pleased with this EP, it is a Metal keeper. The liner notes are 8 pages with full lyrics and credits. The center spread within the liner notes are two pages depicting the Blind Guardian band logo. With the musicianship, vocals and diversity of song found on this one EP, anyone new to Blind Guardian’s music should find this as an invitation to check out their impressive back catalog of albums. I recommend “The Fly” to all Progressive and Power Metal fans. Fans of Metal music in general should appreciate what Blind Guardian has created here as well.