Dead Heart in a Dead World
Dead Heart in a Dead World is the fourth studio album by progressive metal band Nevermore, released in October 2000. In a style comparable to a darker, heavier Queensrÿche, its songs range topics such as criticism of drug possession penalties to rejection of religion; the album features a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's hit, "The Sound of Silence". It is notable for being Nevermore's first record utilizing seven-string guitars; the album featured one single in the track "Believe in Nothing", covered by All That Remains on their 2008 album, Overcome. It was covered by Firewind in 2008, on the Century Media covers album "Covering 20 Years Of Extremes." In 2005, Dead Heart in a Dead World was ranked number 361 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time. All lyrics written by Warrel Dane except "The Sounds of Silence" by Paul Simon. Band Warrel Dane - vocals Jeff Loomis - guitars Jim Sheppard - bass Van Williams - drumsOther Andy Sneap - production, mixing, mastering Justin Leeah - additional engineering Bobby Torres - additional engineering Travis Smith - illustrations, layout Karen Mason-Blair - band photography Neil Sussman - legal representation Official Website
Pearl Jam is an American rock band formed in 1990 in Seattle, Washington. Since its inception, the band's line-up has included Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament. Since 1998, the band has included drummer Matt Cameron. Boom Gaspar has been a session/touring member with the band since 2002. Drummers Jack Irons, Dave Krusen, Matt Chamberlain, Dave Abbruzzese are former members of the band. Formed after the demise of Gossard and Ament's previous band, Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam broke into the mainstream with its debut album, Ten, in 1991. One of the key bands in the grunge movement of the early 1990s, its members shunned popular music industry practices such as making music videos or giving interviews; the band sued Ticketmaster, claiming it had monopolized the concert-ticket market. In 2006, Rolling Stone described the band as having "spent much of the past decade deliberately tearing apart their own fame."The band had sold nearly 32 million albums in the United States by 2012, by 2018, they had sold more than 85 million albums worldwide.
Pearl Jam outsold many of its contemporary alternative rock bands from the early 1990s, is considered one of the most influential bands of the decade. AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine referred to Pearl Jam as "the most popular American rock & roll band of the'90s". Pearl Jam was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 7, 2017, in its first year of eligibility, they were ranked at number 8 in a reader poll by Rolling Stone magazine in its Top ten live acts of all time issue. Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament were members of pioneering grunge band Green River during the mid-1980s. Green River toured and recorded to moderate success but disbanded in 1987 due to a stylistic division between the pair and bandmates Mark Arm and Steve Turner. In late 1987, Gossard and Ament began playing with Malfunkshun vocalist Andrew Wood organizing the band Mother Love Bone. In 1988 and 1989, the band recorded and toured to increasing interest and found the support of the PolyGram record label, which signed the band in early 1989.
Mother Love Bone's debut album, was released in July 1990, four months after Wood died of a heroin overdose. Ament and Gossard were devastated by the resulting demise of Mother Love Bone. Gossard spent his time afterwards writing material, harder-edged than what he had been doing previously. After a few months, Gossard started practicing with fellow Seattle guitarist Mike McCready, whose band, had broken up. After practicing for a while, the trio sent out a five-song demo tape in order to find a singer and a drummer, they gave former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons the demo to see if he would be interested in joining the band and to distribute the demo to anyone he felt might fit the lead vocal position. Irons passed on the invitation but gave the demo to his basketball friend, San Diego, California singer Eddie Vedder. Vedder was the lead vocalist for a San Diego band, Bad Radio, worked part-time at a gas station, he listened to the tape shortly before going surfing. He recorded the vocals to three of the songs in what he described as a "mini-opera" entitled Momma-Son.
Vedder sent the tape with his vocals back to the three Seattle musicians, who were impressed enough to fly Vedder up to Seattle for an audition. Within a week, Vedder had joined the band. With the addition of Dave Krusen on drums, the band took the name Mookie Blaylock, in reference to the then-active basketball player Mookie Blaylock; the band played its first official show at the Off Ramp Café in Seattle on October 22, 1990. They opened for Alice in Chains at the Moore Theatre in Seattle on December 22, 1990, served as the opening act for the band's Facelift tour in 1991. Mookie Blaylock soon renamed themselves Pearl Jam. In an early promotional interview, Vedder said that the name "Pearl Jam" was a reference to his great-grandmother Pearl, married to a Native American and had a special recipe for peyote-laced jam. In a 2006 Rolling Stone cover story however, Vedder admitted that this story was "total bullshit" though he indeed had a great-grandma named Pearl. Ament and McCready explained that Ament came up with "pearl", that the band settled on "Pearl Jam" after attending a concert by Neil Young, in which he extended his songs as improvisations of 15–20 minutes in length.
Pearl Jam entered Seattle's London Bridge Studios in March 1991 to record Ten. McCready said that "Ten was Stone and Jeff. Krusen left the band in May 1991 after checking himself into rehabilitation. After playing only a handful of shows, one of, filmed for the "Alive" video, Chamberlain left to join the Saturday Night Live band. Chamberlain suggested Dave Abbruzzese as his replacement. Abbruzzese played the rest of Pearl Jam's live shows supporting Ten. Released on August 27, 1991, Ten contained eleven tracks dealing with dark subjects like depression, suicide and murder. Ten's musical style, influenced by classic rock, combined an "expansive harmonic vocabulary" with an anthemic sound; the album was slow to sell, but by the second half of 1992 it became a breakthrough success, being certified gold and reaching number two on the Billboard charts. Ten produced the hit singles "Alive", "Even Flow", "Jeremy". Interpreted as a
Savatage is an American heavy metal band founded by brothers Jon and Criss Oliva in 1979 at Astro Skate in Tarpon Springs, Florida. The band was first called Avatar, but shortly before the release of their debut album Sirens, they changed their name to Savatage as Avatar was taken by another band. Savatage has released two live albums, four compilations and three EPs; the band first reached substantial commercial success with its third studio album Fight for the Rock, which peaked at number 158 on the Billboard 200. Their next four albums—Hall of the Mountain King, Gutter Ballet, Streets: A Rock Opera and Edge of Thorns —were successful, but more critically acclaimed than Fight for the Rock. On October 17, 1993, six months after the release of Edge of Thorns, guitarist Criss Oliva was killed in a car accident. Following his death, Jon decided to continue Savatage in memory of his brother; the band released four more studio albums, went through several line-up changes before going on an extended hiatus in 2002.
During the years—partly before the hiatus—members founded various new bands such as Jon Oliva's Pain, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Circle II Circle and Doctor Butcher. On August 2, 2014, Savatage announced. Criss Oliva and his brother Jon formed their first band together, Avatar, in 1979, from the ashes of their former bands Tower and Alien respectively. In 1980, the duo met up with Steve "Doc" Wacholz and practiced in a small shack behind the Oliva home, dubbed "The Pit" by the band. Wacholz tried out to be part of Jon's band, but when the first Savatage line-up was taking shape, on drum duties, was relieved of them by Wacholz, they gave Steve a nickname that would follow him throughout his career: "Doctor Hardware Killdrums" shortened to just "Doc" or "Doc Killdrums", which referred to Steve's hard playing style. Criss and Steve played Tampa and Clearwater area clubs for many years. In 1981, Keith Collins joined them to relieve Jon of bass guitar duties. In late 2006, footage was released onto the internet of an early performance by Avatar at a gig in a Clearwater, Florida parking lot and was prominent in featuring an early version of the song "Holocaust", which would be released on Savatage's first album and a cover of Van Halen's "Eruption" and VH's version of "You Really Got Me".
In 1982, Avatar took part in some heavy metal compilations, most notably "The YNF Pirate Tape", a promotion by Tampa rock radio station 95ynf for local Florida bands. Shortly after its release, "Avatar" was forced to change its name due to copyright issues. Combining the words "Savage" and "Avatar", the band decided on Savatage. We wrote out Avatar on a big piece of poster paper... and Criss said, "Put a big S in front of Avatar," and it was like, "SAVATAR." I was like, "That sounds like a bad dinosaur," but we liked the way it looked. So finally, out of nowhere, I don't remember who it was—it might have been Criss' wife or my wife—somebody said, "Take the R out and put a GE," and we did, it was "SAVATAGE." I was like, "That was cool," not "SA-VA-TAGE," but "SAVATAGE," like "SAVA" for Savage and "TAGE" for mystical or whatever. From that moment on we were Savatage, their first two albums and The Dungeons Are Calling, were released on Par Records, an independent label. In 1985, they signed a contract with Atlantic Records and released their third album Power of the Night.
Power of the Night, produced by Max Norman, who would go on to produce Megadeth's 1992 album Countdown to Extinction, showcased the band's unorthodox approach to metal, which included Jon's liberal use of keyboards on songs like "Fountain of Youth" and Broadway-style song structures like the kind employed on "Warriors". It fell short of sales expectations. Atlantic budgeted to provide funds to make a video for "Hard for Love", on the condition that it be retitled "Hot for Love" for broadcast purposes; the band refused to change the song and a video was not released. In 1986, after the release of their fourth album, Fight for the Rock, a failed attempt at a commercial approach imposed by the record company which the band themselves called Fight for the Nightmare, Savatage toured with Metallica, KISS and Motörhead; the band were not happy with pressure from the label to include two cover versions. Jon Oliva had been retained to write material for other artists on the Atlantic label, such as John Waite and other pop-rockers.
The label demanded Savatage record the material themselves. In a choice they would regret, the band agreed. Not only did it destroy them in the press, it nearly destroyed the band and sent Jon into his early alcohol and drug problems. Jon admitted however the album did have strong points, including the band's cover of Badfinger's "Day After Day". During this time, original bassist Keith Collins left the band, Johnny Lee Middleton joined the band. Since 1987, Johnny has been the only consistent member of Savatage. In 1987, Savatage released their first commercially successful album, Hall of the Mountain King, which became the base for the band rising into a more mainstream arena; the band recorded their first music video for the album's title song, which received extensive air play on MTV's Headbangers Ball a
In Flames are a Swedish heavy metal band, formed by guitarist Jesper Strömblad in 1990 in Gothenburg, Sweden. At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, In Flames are the only remaining bands responsible for developing the genres known as Swedish death metal and melodic death metal. During the band's early years, In Flames had a varying group of musicians recording with them, including many session musicians. By the release of Colony the group had established a stable lineup, their sixth studio album Reroute to Remain showed the band moving toward a newer style of music that moved further away from melodic death metal and closer to alternative metal. This decision was criticized by fans of the group's heavier metal sound; as of 2008, In Flames had sold over 2 million records worldwide. Since the band's inception, In Flames have released thirteen studio albums, three EPs, two live DVDs, their latest release being their thirteenth studio album I, the Mask in 2019. In Flames has been nominated for three Grammis Awards.
They won two of these nominations. In Flames was founded in 1990 by Jesper Strömblad as a side project from his then-current death metal band, Ceremonial Oath, his purpose was to write songs with a more melodic musical direction, something which he was not allowed to do in Ceremonial Oath. In 1993, Strömblad decided to quit Ceremonial Oath due to musical differences and began focusing more on In Flames; that same year, Strömblad recruited Glenn Ljungström on guitar and Johan Larsson on bass guitar to form the first official In Flames line-up. The trio sent it to Wrong Again Records. In order to increase their chances of getting signed to the label, the group lied and said they had thirteen songs recorded, when in fact they only had three; the owner of the label enjoyed the music, signed them to the label. After being signed, work on the band's debut album began; the album, titled Lunar Strain, was recorded in Studio Fredman and released in August 1994. Since the band did not have a vocalist yet, Strömblad asked Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity to provide session vocals.
Many other session musicians participated in the recording as well, including guitarists Anders Iwers, Carl Näslund, Oscar Dronjak, vocalist Jennica Johansson, violinist Ylva Wåhlstedt. During 1994, In Flames recorded and self-produced their first EP, Subterranean, in Studio Fredman. In Flames still did not have a vocalist yet, so session vocals were provided this time by Henke Forss. In 1994, the band covered the song "Eye of the Beholder" for the Metallica tribute album Metal Militia - A Tribute to Metallica. In 1995, Subterranean was released. Subterranean led the band to acquire a record deal with Nuclear Blast. In 1995, In Flames became tired of using session musicians to record an album or to do live shows, so the trio asked Björn Gelotte to join the band as the full-time drummer, 6 months asked Anders Fridén to join the band as the full-time vocalist; that same year, the new line up recorded The Jester Race. This album was recorded once again in Studio Fredman, but unlike previous albums, it was co-produced by the studio's owner, Fredrik Nordström.
Gelotte provided some lead and acoustic guitars for the album. Afterwards, In Flames toured with Samael, Grip Inc. and Kreator. In 1997, In Flames recorded and released their third studio album, Whoracle; this album was co-produced by Nordström. Once again Gelotte provided acoustic guitars for the album. Ljungström and Larsson unexpectedly announced that they were leaving In Flames after the album was recorded. Niklas Engelin and Peter Iwers were recruited to fill in the vacant spots on guitar and bass during a tour with Dimmu Borgir. After the tour both Engelin and Iwers were asked to join the band as permanent members, to which they agreed. With the new line-up, In Flames proceeded with a European tour and played their first two shows in Japan. However, by the end of that tour in 1998, Engelin quit In Flames, so the band decided to switch Gelotte from his position as drummer to guitarist, they recruited Daniel Svensson to take over as drummer. In 1999, the new line-up released the band's fourth studio album, Colony.
This album was co-produced by Nordström. The second solo on "Coerced Coexistence" was recorded by Kee Marcello. Afterwards, In Flames toured Europe and played their first show in the United States during the Milwaukee Metal Fest. In 2000, In Flames recorded and released their fifth studio album, Clayman, it was again co-produced by Nordström. Afterwards, In Flames toured with Dream Theater and Testament. In August 2001, In Flames released The Tokyo Showdown, a live album recorded during the Japanese tour in November 2000. In 2002, In Flames recorded and released their sixth studio album, Reroute to Remain. Unlike all of In Flames' previous albums, Reroute to Remain was not recorded in Studio Fredman or produced by Nordström; the album was produced by Daniel Bergstrand and recorded in a house the band rented in Denmark, except for the drums which were recorded at Dug-Out studio. Reroute to Remain represented a major stylistic shift for In Flames music, in the addition of clean vocals, catchier choruses and less growling.
It was their first album to have offi
Enemies of Reality
Enemies of Reality is the fifth studio album by American progressive metal band Nevermore, released in 2003 by Century Media records. Due to the mixed reception of the album's production by Kelly Gray, it was remixed and mastered by Andy Sneap for its 2005 reissue; the worms on the album cover are a direct reference to the lyrics of the title track, "Enemies of Reality," in which Warrel Dane sings, "Open wide and eat the worms of the enemy." There are other lyric-inspired images in namely an open hand holding a glowing sun. At the beginning of the song there is message played backwards that repeats the pre-chorus "we are the useless by-product of soulless meat." On the last page of the CD booklet is a dedication to the late Death frontman Chuck Schuldiner, which reads: "This record is dedicated to Chuck. Let the metal flow into eternity..." The track "Noumenon", is named after the philosophical concept of things as they are, as compared to the concept of phenomenon, how things appear. The term was popularized by Immanuel Kant, who used it to help explain his philosophy of transcendental idealism.
Enemies of Reality was written and recorded during a time of personal and professional tumult for the members of Nevermore. Warrel Dane attributes the sound of the album to the challenges that the band members faced during this period: "Enemies Of Reality was a difficult album to make. We were all going through a difficult time in our lives. We were all fucking angry people, I think that kind of shows on that album."Among the professional challenges that the band faced was that Enemies of Reality was the final album in the band's inaugural recording contract with Century Media. This interfered with the album's creation in an audible way, with the recording budget for Enemies of Reality becoming an aspect of the negotiations. However, Dane's description of the situation indicates that both band and label were tough in their negotiating positions: Basically, they wanted us to re-sign and do a new contract before our old one was done and we didn't want to do that. We wanted to fulfil our original contract and go on from there because there were a number of labels that were interested in working with us.
We were playing hardball back and forth with the label and that's why that record... it was a difficult period for us. We were all pretty pissed off and angry and that shows in the music. Our budget got. I think it came down to "Well, re-sign now or this is your budget because that's what is says in your contract." You can't argue with that. We didn't re-sign. We didn't buckle under and I think it paid off in the end because we got what we wanted. We got everything that we wanted in our new record deal... everything that we've worked ten fucking years for and deserve, we got. We learned how to play the game and we played it well. Enemies of Reality is infamous for its production by Kelly Gray, criticized as being inferior to the quality of previous albums. Speaking in 2003, contemporaneous with the initial release, Jeff Loomis spoke with qualified favour of the recording: more of a pop producer kind of guy. He's worked with Candlebox before and sold millions of albums with them, so working with us, we were kind of like his lab rats, you know?
He's never done a metal band before but overall I think he did a pretty fantastic job. He got a real live quality out of us because we were always used to doing drums first and the bass, the guitar and the vocals at the end; this time we recorded most of the songs live with the whole band and after one song was done, Warrel would sing on it of saving all of to the end, which kind of saves his voice in the overall recording process. I guess the whole album was done in a different atmosphere and aspect that sounds good. In 2005, Enemies of Reality was remixed by Andy Sneap, who produced Nevermore's Dead Heart in a Dead World and would produce This Godless Endeavor and master The Year of the Voyager, mix and master The Obsidian Conspiracy; the remixed/remastered sound was received more positively. Warrel Dane admitted, but to me, that's the odd thing about that album. I find it strange that the production on that album got reviewed more than the songs did."By 2005, Loomis too had soured on the recording.
Moreover, he directly attributed the shortfall in the album's sonics to budgetary constraints related to the contract negotiations ongoing with Century Media: We were at the end of our recording contract with Century Media, they didn't know if we were going to re-sign with them, so they gave us a small budget for our last album to work with. That was about $20,000, a nothing deal to do a record. What we needed to do at the time was to find a producer, available to make a record with such a small budget, that guy was Kelly Gray, he was just not the right guy to do this album." Enemies of Reality received mixed reviews due to the purportedly unbalanced and pop-inflected nature of its songwriting. While positive, Sputnik Music described the album's commercial song structures as "catchy and hooky" yet its "downfall" that led to the album seeming "a bit too simplistic and unintelligent.... Enemies can feel too much like pop sometimes." Deadtime.com praised the album's "heavy, technical thrash" while criticizing the band for "including no less than three ballads on a nine song album would have bee
Hard rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music that began in the mid-1960s, with the garage and blues rock movements. It is typified by a heavy use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar and accompanied with keyboards. Hard rock developed into a major form of popular music in the 1970s, with notable bands such as AC/DC, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Aerosmith and Van Halen. During the 1980s, some hard rock bands moved away from their hard rock roots and more towards pop rock, while others began to return to a hard rock sound. Established bands made a comeback in the mid-1980s and it reached a commercial peak in the 1980s, with glam metal bands like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard and the rawer sounds of Guns N' Roses, which followed up with great success in the part of that decade. Hard rock began losing popularity with the commercial success of R&B, hip-hop, urban pop and Britpop in the 1990s. Despite this, many post-grunge bands adopted a hard rock sound and in the 2000s there came a renewed interest in established bands, attempts at a revival, new hard rock bands that emerged from the garage rock and post-punk revival scenes.
Out of this movement came garage rock bands like the White Stripes, the Strokes, Interpol and on, the Black Keys. In the 2000s, only a few hard rock bands from the 1970s and 1980s managed to sustain successful recording careers. Hard rock is a form of aggressive rock music; the electric guitar is emphasised, used with distortion and other effects, both as a rhythm instrument using repetitive riffs with a varying degree of complexity, as a solo lead instrument. Drumming characteristically focuses on driving rhythms, strong bass drum and a backbeat on snare, sometimes using cymbals for emphasis; the bass guitar works in conjunction with the drums playing riffs, but providing a backing for the rhythm and lead guitars. Vocals are growling, raspy, or involve screaming or wailing, sometimes in a high range, or falsetto voice. Hard rock has sometimes been labelled cock rock for its emphasis on overt masculinity and sexuality and because it has been predominantly performed and consumed by men: in the case of its audience white, working-class adolescents.
In the late 1960s, the term heavy metal was used interchangeably with hard rock, but began to be used to describe music played with more volume and intensity. While hard rock maintained a bluesy rock and roll identity, including some swing in the back beat and riffs that tended to outline chord progressions in their hooks, heavy metal's riffs functioned as stand-alone melodies and had no swing in them. Heavy metal took on "darker" characteristics after Black Sabbath's breakthrough at the beginning of the 1970s. In the 1980s it developed a number of subgenres termed extreme metal, some of which were influenced by hardcore punk, which further differentiated the two styles. Despite this differentiation, hard rock and heavy metal have existed side by side, with bands standing on the boundary of, or crossing between, the genres; the roots of hard rock can be traced back to the 1950s electric blues, which laid the foundations for key elements such as a rough declamatory vocal style, heavy guitar riffs, string-bending blues-scale guitar solos, strong beat, thick riff-laden texture, posturing performances.
Electric blues guitarists began experimenting with hard rock elements such as driving rhythms, distorted guitar solos and power chords in the 1950s, evident in the work of Memphis blues guitarists such as Joe Hill Louis, Willie Johnson, Pat Hare, who captured a "grittier, more ferocious electric guitar sound" on records such as James Cotton's "Cotton Crop Blues". Other antecedents include Link Wray's instrumental "Rumble" in 1958, the surf rock instrumentals of Dick Dale, such as "Let's Go Trippin'" and "Misirlou". In the 1960s, American and British blues and rock bands began to modify rock and roll by adding harder sounds, heavier guitar riffs, bombastic drumming, louder vocals, from electric blues. Early forms of hard rock can be heard in the work of Chicago blues musicians Elmore James, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, the Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie" which made it a garage rock standard, the songs of rhythm and blues influenced British Invasion acts, including "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks, "My Generation" by the Who, "Shapes of Things" by the Yardbirds, "Inside Looking Out" by the Animals, " Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones.
From the late 1960s, it became common to divide mainstream rock music that emerged from psychedelia into soft and hard rock. Soft rock was derived from folk rock, using acoustic instruments and putting more emphasis on melody and harmonies. In contrast, hard rock was most derived from blues rock and was played louder and with more intensity. Blues rock acts that pioneered the sound included Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Jeff Beck Group. Cream, in songs like "I Feel Free" combined blues rock with pop and psychedelia in the riffs and guitar solos of Eric Clapton. Jimi Hendrix produced a form of blues-influenced psychedelic rock, which combined elements of jazz and rock and roll. From 1967 Jeff Beck brought lead guitar to new heights of technical virtuosity and moved blues rock in the direction of heavy rock with his band, the Jeff Beck Group. Dave Davies of the Kinks, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Pete Townshend of the Who, Hendrix and Beck all pioneered the use of new guitar effects like phasing and distortion.
The Beatles began producing songs in the new
Blind Guardian is a German power metal band formed in 1984 in Krefeld, West Germany. They are credited as one of the seminal and most influential bands in the power metal and speed metal subgenres. Ten musicians have been a part of the band's line-up in its history, which has consisted of singer Hansi Kürsch, guitarists André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen, drummer Frederik Ehmke since 2005. Blind Guardian is a part of the German heavy metal scene; the band was formed in 1984 as Lucifer's Heritage by Kürsch, other guitarist Markus Dörk and drummer Thomas Stauch. Dörk and Stauch both left the following year, were replaced by Christof Theißen and Hans-Peter Frey who left as well before the end of the year. In 1987, Siepen joined and Stauch returned. Over the releases, Blind Guardian established themselves as a notable successful band and as pioneers of the power metal movement. In 1996, Kürsch stopped acting as the band's bass guitarist to focus on vocals. Various session members replaced him Oliver Holzwarth.
However, in 2005, Stauch left the band, disapproving of Blind Guardian's transition into a more complex progressive sound with a heavy use of backing vocals, was replaced by Ehmke. Most of Blind Guardian's albums were well received by fans and critics alike: Somewhere Far Beyond, Imaginations from the Other Side, Nightfall in Middle-Earth, are seen as influential works; the music is composed by Kürsch and Olbrich together, the lyrics, written by Kürsch, are inspired by the fiction of fantasy authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, Robert Jordan, as well as traditional legends and epics. Over the years a theme has developed which personifies the band members as travelling storytellers, leading fans to refer to the band affectionately as "The Bards". Blind Guardian was formed in 1984 in Krefeld, Germany, by Hansi Kürsch and Andre Olbrich under the name Lucifer's Heritage, with Markus Dörk and Thomen Stauch; the band expanded into a quintet with the addition of a second lead vocalist, Thomas Kelleners.
However, after three months Kelleners left the band in a mutual agreement. Lucifer's Heritage first released two demos in 1985 and 1986, despite undergoing chaotic lineup changes: Dörk and Stauch were replaced by Christof Theißen and Hans-Peter Frey, respectively. In 1987, Marcus Siepen joined and Thomen came back to form the lineup which would stay consistent for the next 18 years. After Lucifer's Heritage signed a contract with No Remorse Records, the band changed their name to Blind Guardian to avoid any speculations about Satanism; the band's new name was inspired by the Fates Warning album Awaken the Guardian. They released their debut album Battalions of Fear in 1988, a speed metal album influenced by Helloween; these two German bands had close ties, Helloween founder Kai Hansen made a guest appearance on Blind Guardian's second LP, Follow the Blind, where the band revealed some thrash metal influence. Their third LP, Tales from the Twilight World, had a much more melodic and "epic" feeling, with usage of choir and classical music influence.
Blind Guardian signed with Virgin Records in 1991, released their fourth studio album Somewhere Far Beyond in 1992 and the live album Tokyo Tales in 1993. Flemming Rasmussen, former Metallica producer, began working with the band in 1994, producing their fifth studio album Imaginations from the Other Side, released in 1995, The Forgotten Tales, an album that contained half covers and half original work, released in 1996. In 1998, Blind Guardian released their epic album Nightfall in Middle-Earth. "Complete with anthemic choruses, spoken word story lines, plenty of bombastic power metal punctuating every dramatic turn", says Allmusic's Vincent Jeffries, "Nightfall in Middle-Earth is Blind Guardian's most triumphant". A concept album based on J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion, Blind Guardian's music demonstrated some folk rock influence, but featured heavy use of Queen-style layered backing vocals. Since Nightfall, bass guitar has been played by sessional member Oliver Holzwarth, Hansi has been able to devote all his attention to singing.
Nightfall was the last Blind Guardian album produced by Rasmussen. A Night at the Opera, named after the Queen album, was released four years later. On this album, the band's sound lacked all influence of their original speed metal. Power and progressive metal abound, with over the top orchestral backing and a consistent vocal and guitar layering throughout. Though not a true concept album, many of the lyrics dealt with the common themes of religion and relations between human and divine powers, it was followed by a live album in 2003 and a DVD, Imaginations Through the Looking Glass, in 2004, the last recorded Blind Guardian material to feature Thomen Stauch on drums. He was replaced by Frederik Ehmke; the first album with Ehmke was A Twist in the Myth, which came out in 2006. Blind Guardian participated in the soundtrack for the In the Name of the King: a Dungeon Siege Tale fantasy movie, which came out in 2008; the band recorded a theme song for Sacred 2 Fallen Angel role-playing video game, the sequel to Sacred.
"A Voice in the Dark" was the next single from Blind Guard