Gloryhammer have the task of warming us up first before the main event. The Swiss-Anglo 5 piece “hail from outer space and sing songs about hammers”. They are definitely excited about their gig and the fans are equally excited, judging by their behaviour and eager participation in the revelry dictated from the stage. Relatively lesser known on these shores, their songs definitely get the blood pumping. “Astral hammer” and “Hail to Crail” have the floor packed and it’s only 7.15pm.
Singer Thomas Winkler/ Angus McFife (Heir to the Kingdom of Fife), has a fiercely powerful vocal range and can definitely hold a note on par with the legends of old. I’m talking Nitro, Iron Maiden, even ZP Theart (formerly of DragonForce, and not a legend, but that dude can wail), and he keeps this up all night. Their first album Tales from the Kingdome of Fife, was released 3 years ago and they have been setting the universe on fire since the release of their second album Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards release. They really believe in what they’re doing and they get the whole venue really pumped, and in all the gigs I’ve been at here, I’ve never seen a support band rile the audience up that much. Very impressive 4/5
Slinking onstage like a snake to the orchestral intro of ‘Ninth Wave’, Blind Guardian set sail in the Academy amidst a sea of devil horns raised fists. Frontman Hansi Kürsch says hello to Ireland after 10 long years, regrettable that it has taken so long to return. And thus he commences to hammer home mostly classic Blind Guardian tunes like ‘Tanelorn’ and ‘Last Candle’.
time after time with the assistance of lead shredmen André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen, and drum monster Frederik Ehmke. In between songs, I’d rather Kürsch didn’t talk for so long between every song but since I’ve never seen them before I have nothing to compare them to performance-wise. It slows down the tempo of the night and kinda kills the mood a bit. Kürsch does however, organise many a sing-along from the audience, the music orchestrated by Ehmke on his own. The outtro of ‘Candle’ goes on for a really long time and we hear just how loud Dublin can get. As the night progresses, so does the intensity, as the band play crowd favourites from their 30+ year career and their extensive catalogue of albums. Their latest release Beyond the Red Mirror was released on January 30th last year, and it has quite the upbeat tone like a few of their earlier albums like Tales From A Twilight World, equally immense.
There are a few tunes from that album naturally, and the band being us back to the basics with ‘Bright Eyes’ and ‘Journey Through the Dark’. As they crusade through their set, the band makes sure they let people know how happy the band is to be back. What was new (at least to me), was that their set-list only seemed to consist of 11 songs, and then they left as they said their night was over. But out they came out and played 3 encores, all old-school Blind Guardian, but then they said goodnight AGAIN, left the stage and returned to play 3 more. Although diehard BG fans were probably leaping for joy at the sight of that, I found it dragged out the evening by breaking the momentum gained by stellar music.
Six encores is great, but divided into 2 separate sections numbed the atmosphere that was working so well. Their second last song (The Bard’s Song), also brought down the tone, whereas other bands would be putting the audience’s heads through the wall before their final song. They’re a great band live, but the same set list needs re-arranging to get the best out of it. But definitely a band I enjoyed watching, and I’ll be at their next Irish date for sure, 3.5/5
1 Ninth wave
2 Time stands still (at the Iron Hill)
5 Tanelorn (into the Void)
7 Last candle
8 Lord of the rings
9 Bright Eyes
10 Journey Through the Dark
11 Imaginations From the Other Side
Wheel of time
Photography – Down The Barrel Photography
© OVERDRIVE 2016
PHOTO GALLERY – BLIND GUARDIAN / GLORYHAMMER, THE ACADEMY, DUBLIN 19/05/16