Time and again BLIND GUARDIAN fans eagerly await the arrival of a new album, never really knowing where the band had gone towards in the mostly four years since the predecessor. 2006 is one of these years and "A Twist In The Myth" the long awaited CD and this time the suspense is even bigger, as "A Night At The Opera" had been received with rather split views, mostly due to the less accessible compositions, so which direction would the new epos go into? Even more complex or more accessible again?
Well, after several listens I can for one that "A Twist In The Myth" again does not sound like one of the previous albums, they definitely stayed true to themselves there, and on the other hand I would say that they have brought back more catchiness, even though they are not straight and simple all the way through either, so by taking in pieces of their past they have made another step into their future.
The at times pretty complex single "Fly" had generated nervous ticks with some of the die-hard fans, but just like this song manages to ignite after a few sessions, you will also give "A Twist In The Myth" a few spins to really find full access, but that is something positive, as it means that the album hardly loses appeal, but at the same time won't keep you standing out in the cold for too long either. So do not make the mistake of measuring the album by the single alone, because you might make a very big mistake!
Opener "This Will Never End" sets the marching direction: fast, catchy, with the BLIND GUARDIAN typical riffing and the just as typically big choirs, a lot less complex, that's what it has to sound like! And "Otherworld" and "Turn The Page" continue in this vein, very accessible and catchy, but without ever neglecting the technical aspect and the maturity of the song writers. They sound heavier and less symphonic than on "A Night At The Opera" and especially the latter has a very hymnic atmosphere, which reminds me a bit of "Somewhere Far Beyond"!
The follow the already known and more complex single "Fly" (which is a great song still and most probably is closest to the "A Night At The Opera" sound) and the great epic ballad "Carry The Blessed Home". "Another Stranger Me" then offers an almost rocking influence, implemented into the powerful Metal of the Krefeld-based band, pushing their stylistic boundaries a little further again.
"Straight Through The Mirror" once more shows the combination of old and new in the BLIND GUARDIAN sound and is a very good example for what the band sounds like in the year 2006. That they still have a soft spot for bardic sounds is proved by "Skalds & Shadows", which surely will be a fan favourite in the live setting. And "The New Order" begins pretty calm and a bit unusual, but then builds up into a truly worthy ending for "A Twist In The Myth"!
As is the case with basically every BLIND GUARDIAN album, you can't just listen to it once or twice in the background, for that they have always had too many layers for that, but "A Twist In The Myth" is one of those famed "step back forward", which quotes the past, but does not copy it, and with that the Germans have belted out a very hot contender for the title of "album of the year"! (Online August 22, 2006)