Just to give you an idea how complex the Blind Guardian recording process is think of it in terms of years instead of days or weeks. ‘At the Edge of the World’ was recorded over the course of two and a half years between Germany and Czech Republic. Not only did longtime producer Charlie Bauerfeind do the traditional mixing, mastering and production, but the band incorporates an entire orchestra that’s recording in a different location. This process requires orchestra conductors, additional engineers, and management to supervise. It’s like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. At what point does the band simply become another accessory? Regardless, this record welcomes back a more metallic emphasis on songs and finesse, an aspect that’s gone astray over the last few years. It’s a warm return that’s paid dividends according to press and fans. The album has garnered heaps of praise thus far and builds momentum for the Germans as they head into global touring. Songs like “Tanelorn” (Into the Void)” were sorely lacking in prior efforts and recalls the early days of the band's faster rhythm, harsher guitar tone, and epic chorus'. Lead-off single, “A Voice in the Dark”, is crunchy break-neck thrash with wicked hooks that crash into the familiar harmonized vocals that makes for their endearing signature. I’d like to see less symphony and some shorter tracks but I’ll take this heavy-minded attempt to recapture a portion of the original Blind Guardian sound.