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Blind Guardian

The God Machine

Nuclear Blast Records - 2022

When I first saw the news that Blind Guardian was releasing a new album, I was really excited. The fact that the press release included the video for the song "Secrets of the American Gods" helped fuel the excitement because I think it is a fantastic song.

So why didn't I write a review of the album until now? Well, because for some reason, I just couldn't get into this album. There were two songs, including the one I just mentioned, that I liked right off but then the rest of the album just didn't click with me the least little bit.

I admit to being a bit embarrassed by this fact. Particularly since I had ordered a bunch of Blind Guardian albums during Black Friday sale from Nuclear Blast. Getting the older stuff because of the excitement for the new release and then having that new album hit with a thud? Am I losing my metal cred or something?

But here's a new twist in the myth (see what I did there, Blind Guardian fans?), I put the album in again as I started writing this review. And shockingly, something clicked.

The opening track, "Deliver Us from Evil" is explosively fast, but I originally thought nothing was to my liking other than the chorus and that Hansi's vocals seemed a bit muddled or buried in the mix. But this time, I heard something different. Suddenly, I liked the song and my misgivings disappeared. And while "Damnation" is another relentlessly paced track, the invigorating soundtrack was finally giving me something other than a "blah" feeling once the song was over.

I'm not saying that everything will be great to me now, but this newfound like for some of the songs on The God Machine is great.

One of the few tracks that I did like right off the bat, "Violent Shadows" was just incredible. I loved the intro for the song and then the rocket ride pacing of the music kept me pumped throughout the song. It was a killer tune at first and remains so on this latest spin of the CD.

While "Life Beyond the Spheres" is still more of an up-tempo style rocker, there's more of a measured delivery to most of the music rather than just full-on speedy aggressiveness. I'm developing a keen like of the song all of a sudden. Given how fast the band plays throughout most of The God Machine, the way this song is structured, it might be one of the mellow tracks Blind Guardian has on the disc.

Of course, by this point I'm starting to question my sanity a little because while I originally thought the kinetic burst of energy that is the song "Architects of Doom" had little going for it besides its fast pace, now I'm hearing all kinds of things that really catch my ear and make me wonder why I haven't been hearing it before now.

The far slower pace of "Let It Be No More" got more intense during the chorus but otherwise stayed the course throughout. It lets the vocal performance serve as the centerpiece of the track and Hansi doesn't disappoint. But I still kept finding myself wander in my mind a little bit as the song played. It doesn't totally capture your attention for some reason.

And then we come to "Blood of the Elves". From the title alone, you'd think this would be a song that would be of immediate appeal to me. But I just was disappointed by the song at first. Here's a song that is a fiery blitz of power metal and I couldn't figure out why I didn't really get into it. I still don't know what the issue was. But here I am listening to the song now and good gawd this is Blind Guardian just dropping a bomb of pure powerful metal in the midst of the album once more. NOW, I get it. And it is just pumping adrenaline through my body as I listen to it.

The album closes out with the song "Destiny". The song goes back and forth between a mid and up tempo pace. It's a decent enough song but in all honesty, it still doesn't really grab me that much.

But for an album that I would've ranked dead last in a full accounting of all the 2022 releases I bought during the year, I find myself having to re-evaluate The God Machine a lot after this latest listen. There's still a couple of issues for me, but for some reason or another, a lot of those individual songs that left me cold suddenly have become much "better" to my ears and I find that I am enjoying what Blind Guardian is offering here.

Now if I could just understand why it took so long for me to this point?

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