As you can see even the fact that we’re still celebrating Beyond The Red Mirror, I just can’t wait to have their 11th album in my hands – the precious and mighty – which is maybe the longest musical project ever (its very possible to be wrong here, but its one of the loooongest for sure…) – Blind Guardian’s Orchestral Project!
I decided to make a completely new topic for their upcoming album… and I’ll try to give my best to keep it always and absolutely updated !!! I’m feeling really happy to do that, as the fact that I really think that this would be the most defining and probably most significant album in their career, not for us – the people who already know BG – but for everyone out there (probably not even close to the metal scene) who had never heard them…
So, lets see what we’ve got till now – probably there has to be a lot more things written here as having the fact that we're talking about 21 years old “baby”…but the guys were really quiet all these years…
Lets start from here, cause there are a lot of people who had no idea if this is going to be an album with new songs or just an old ones featuring orchestra…
So, yes, it will be an absolutely new album - it will contain 12 songs (11 completely new compositions and an old 1 with a new set up…!!!)
As far as I remember the story starts with Nighfall In Middle Earth album and the period of creating the music for it. I read somewhere that during this session the guys have been composed some additional stuff that was firstly written for the album, but then they decided to keep it away, cause “they felt there was something special in it, that deserves different kind of treat…” Maybe at that time they really had no idea how to finish it, and they didn’t have the sources for a real orchestra, but that’s not so important…Anyway, I think it was Andre – or maybe Hansi – who once said that they came with 4 or 6 musical pieces at the begining, which means that the first songs for this project were started to be written in 1997.
The story continues in year 2000, when they decided to send those pieces to Peter Jackson and it’s Lord Of The Rings movie, where they we’re supposed to be included as soundtracks for it...Anyway, again the things remained unfinished cause if they wanted something like this to become true, they had to finnish them – something that was impossible to happen at that time because of many reasons… So once again…nothing…
I think that after that - in the next years - there was silence for this project and the band confirms my thoughts with a song called And Then There Was Silence(released in 2002)… :/ Just kidding But a very interesting fact is that ATTWS was also firstly written for the orchestral project(maybe it was one of those 4-6 songs, but at the end it just didn’t suited to the other ones..maybe beacuse it needs heavy instruments, as the orchestral album - doesn't…). After that, going back to the interviews in the net, I found that they started talking for it again in the period of releasing the A Twist In The Myth album, where Andre said somewhere that “the people will be surprised by Hansi’s singing in this album”(the orchestral one)…and they promised that this will be their next studio one…Of course, this didn’t come true, so we’re jumping to 2009-2010 when they started revealing more things!
Of course, “more things” is a little bit too much to be said, cause during the ATEOT album we just knew that they’re working hard on it finally..and they started to record some of the songs for it orchestral wise!!! I think that at that time they said that the album “will contain absolutely no metal elements” – just Hansi and the orchestra. And they were still wondering if this project will be released under the name “Blind Guardian”, but that’s something we still don’t know yet… What we know is that Hansi and Andre are the main “minds” in it Other thing revealed in 2010 was that the songs “will be at least as interesting and complex as Sacred Worlds and Wheel Of Time” – the 2 songs that were finally their step for something like this... Back then I remember a post in facebook in October 2010 where Kursch said that they’re once again in Prague for recording the orchestral stuff “and that we’ll have to wait just a little more to hear the final result” – something that sounds so funny now - 8 years later …
Oh, almost to forget – Wheel Of Time was also firstly composed for the orchestral project – but the song also never suited to the rest of the songs…
In 2011 it was officially confirmed that Marcus Heitz – a very famous german autor and novelist – will create the concept story for the project and Kursch words were “The journey has just begun…”
At that time again this was supposed to be their next album and finally there was a light in the dark…but in a very “raising hopes” interview at the beginning of 2012 Kursch just said – “the orchestral project might be released in the next 3-4 years”… So, once again, nothing…
In January 2013 Hansi wrote:
“Going to Prague to see how the orchestra songs come alive is a very special and intense moment for us. Thanks to “Sacred Worlds” and “Wheel of Time” I can say that we have learnt a lot about scoring, recording and mixing when it comes to such music. You will notice a great improvement when you listen to the final result of this adventurous trip we have started so long ago. Last week some of us went there again to record “The Ocean”(renamed to At The Edge Of Time(the song) later) , a pure orchestral song called “Misty Mountain” and some more stuff. We once again had to realize how ambitious this whole project is and how time demanding! Luckily, everyone who is involved has understood, that there will be no compromises. We would never accept “second best” or “we fix it in the mix” here. This means that even though we can see the end of the road here, it still is a long and winding one and will demand our full concentration for the next 12 to 18 months. Charlie (Bauerfiend) and I already did some demo recordings for four of the earlier recorded orchestra songs sometime last year. We all consider this session and its result a very promising experience. Now I am ready to start proper album recordings for this one. I will do my best to finish most of the vocals during the year. This seems a very ambitious goal but is not impossible. I say that in the first days of January… Apart from the music and the concept we will also work on some additional surprises. Keep yourself prepared. One thing is for sure there will be nothing comparable to this on the market. It’s not a typical soundtrack, a typical musical, nor it is a rock opera. It is typical Blind Guardian – more or less without band. At that point, I would say this is going to stay unique until we will release part 2…”
Once again there was silence in the next 2 years...
So – nowadays – we know 4 things:
- Andre Olbrich: “We're still working very hard on the orchestral album. The songwriting is allmost done and the orchestra recordings are on 70% already, but Hansi still needs to record most of his Vocals. Since we're touring now, we have to wait for the right time (when his voice is recovered from touring) to continue with the recordings. I don't think you have to wait another 4 years but since the touring will take 1 whole year, you should give us two years to finish this album in the best possible way! I'll promise you, that you will get one of the most beautiful BG albums ever for being patient with us! ” -2015
- Hansi Kursch:
"So far the songs for that one go into a more classical "Wheel of Time" meets "At the Edge of Time"(the song) direction."
This once again means that the songs will be more classical, theatrical, operatic and epic – and maybe especially the end of At The Edge Of Time(the song) is a great example for it…And that’s triumphal I have to say!!!
- The album will have a Nightfallish attitude…,
- And that it will be released in 2016 - 2017 most probably(which is at the same time is the 20th annversary for the orchestral project, I think, and also the 30th anniversary for BG as a group …, but this one – the release date fact – is relative, cause even Chuck Norris have no idea about the release date of this album…
So, hope my topic will be needful if there are still some people who are not familiar to the orchestral project…I know there is still a lot of time and the topic is still a baby…but one thing is for sure – there is probably something out there to be excited for…
P.S. one more interesting fact – there are 16 songs written for it till now(even the fact the album will contain 12) and that’s also what Hansi’s wrote in 2013:
“The good thing: we already have some material for it and another 15-17 years before it has to be released.”
But even as a big fan I would never comment this sentence, cause I don’t want to live my next 30 years in constantly expectaions...
"We needed the basic classical approach in the music. It was a very obvious solution for us in the beginning," explains Kürsch. He then adds, "It's a hint to the orchestral album we are working on, so that's one of the reasons we did that." (BTRM album)
Blind Guardian are no stranger to epic, classical integrations, but this new orchestral project comes as a surprise. "We started working on it 20 years ago. When we did the songwriting for [1998's] Nightfall in Middle-Earth, there were some songs that just contained orchestral portions and my singing, and we decided it doesn't make sense to have them on the Nightfall album," he explains.
"So we took these songs and put them aside, and ever since, we've been working on orchestral arrangements whenever we thought there was a need. And over the years we have gathered 12 or 13 songs of ours, and they are about to be accomplished. We did some of the recordings when we went to Prague and Budapest, so the classical part has been recorded already and it's more about me recording the vocals."
This new project should be done after the band's year of touring, which will see numerous North American dates in the fall.
"Probably during this year, if not this year, in the beginning of the next year, and this is going to be released," Kürsch confirms. "And this describes what we've been doing the last 20 years aside from these other albums. I would say the writing is typical Blind Guardian, but with an even stronger classical approach. It will surprise people, because even the overtly classical 'Wheel of Time' on At the Edge of Time doesn't even touch what you are supposed to find on this album!"
He also says - but that's from another interview - that the orchestral project may even end as the soundtrack for "Silmarilion" movie (if one day this comes true), but this just doesn't depends on them, even that it would be a very good one.
2017 - June 2018
There will be 11 songs on the album in total + preludes(changed to 12 + preludes, later)
At the time the album will be released(2019 most probably), there will also be a novel by Marcus Heitz. The album will be based on that novel.
"A story between fantasy, history(17th century) and science fiction"
The biggest surprise in the album might be Hansi's singing because there are a lot of bizzare creatures and many different characters this time...
The music will be totally soundtrack like...(with many classical, baroque and oriental melodies)
RELEASE DATE - November 1, 2019.
"BARDS WE ARE! BARDS WE WILL BE!"