BLIND GUARDIAN At the Edge of Tanelorn

Hansi Kürsch & co. have come to Belgrade (Serbia) with aim to film yet another video clip for the upcoming single ”A Voice in the Dark” so I’ve used this chance and make some interviews with the members of the band. In this particular interview, Hansi and me are discussing mainly the new single and forthcoming record ”At the Edge of Time” and also we are chatting about some things that are more focused on lyrical background of the Blind Guardian’s songs, as well as some things about him personally. So, take your final steps at the edge of time and enjoy in the interview!

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Hello Hansi, you’re here in Belgrade for the 2nd time to film yet another video clip for Blind Guardian. The first one was ”Another Stranger Me” but a new one, “A Voice in the Dark”, has a completely different story-line.
It is completely different! This one is more Thrash Metal oriented song with some epic elements so we decided to film one more fantasy inspirited video while “Another Stranger Me” was more psycho kind of stuff. And I think that “A Voice in the Dark” pretty much hits the taste of all Blind Guardian fans, not only musically but also with the video, because it transfers fantasy story, which is related with the lyrics, but does not necessary follow the script. So it’s an open story with a lot of interpretation and great images which is the most important thing for the video.

Why did you choose this particular track “A Voice in the Dark” for the single track?
It’s very fast, it’s very Blind Guardian, and I think that it is very thrashy, it has a very catchy chorus and due to that it has a sort of mainstream feeling. But, I do not believe that the bigger TV stations will play the video but it has the potential to become very popular amongst many heavy metal fans because it suppose to attract thrash, death, epic and goth metal fans and of course Blind Guardian fans.

What could you tell us about the lyrics written for “A Voice in the Dark”?
The song is inspired by George Raymond Richard Martin and “A Song of Ice and Fire”. And this one is just a short introduction in the story. It’s about the boy falling from a higher attitude and the song documents what is happening during the downfall and it shows the visions that this boy has and its sort of heralding the things to come. And that’s what I tried to deliver in this song as well as I tried to deliver general message that you had to wake up at the certain point and you have to face consequences.

Ok, let’s focus now on a upcoming album “A the Edge of Time”. Could you compare new album with previous records of Blind Guardian?
Yes, you could, but it’s not so necessary to do so. I think that a new one has something from each album in every quality which has been delivered by Blind Guardian in the past as well as there are new elements and in the ranking for myself it will be in the same label as “Nightfall in Middle-earth’ which I consider to be the best Blind Guardian album so far. It is very epic and very orchestral album in general but it does have a sort of very thrashy edge as you can listen in a tracks: “A Voice in the Dark”, “Tanelorn”, “Into the Void” or even “Ride into Obsession” which has a very Power Metalish attitude. So, there’s little bit of everything and I think that’s the strength of the album. You can define it, but you don’t need necessary to do so.

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And when we speak about the lyrics written for “At the Edge of Time” it seems that they’re going to be fantasy-based this time.
Yes, it’s true. It’s very fantasy based and we have stuff inspirited by Michael Moorcock, George Raymond Richard Martin, Peter S. Beagle and we do relate to stories of the Adder again. And there is also some historical stuff that I relate to John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674; was an English poet, author, polemicist, Puritan and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England. He is best known for his epic poem” Paradise Lost”) and his political sort of speech called “The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates”-that will be the track “Curse my Name”. And I did another one inspired by Milton and that will be “Control the Divine”. That one is about Paradise Lost and it’s telling something about the downfall of Lucifer and the way he tries to motivate the other angels to follow him and the way he justifying his deeds and ideas. He is standings for his motives and there’s a certain logic of what he is doing and I just tried to feature that little stronger. And, there’s a stuff inspired by Robert Jordan “Wheel of Time”, it a big issue, and I dedicated two songs to this epic story. There’s “Ride into Obsession” which can be seen as an introduction to the main characters will be the Dragon Reborn and the Dark Lord Ba’alzamon. It’s gigantic story and once you get in it’s a very impressive tale. And the characters are really strong: the Dragon Reborn and the Dark Lord – they’re not rip-offs. They’re really true characters and I enjoy that while I reading that. “Wheel of Time” which is my favorite track from the album does have a very oriental feeling. We have for the first time recorded with the orchestra. This one is about “Wheel of Time” but mainly about the true source of power which controls all male who have that power so there’s no chance for a male to become the master of this true source.

…And obviously you are inspirited by Michael Moorcook in this particular track “Tanelorn”. So, once again you are going on the quest to find Tanelorn:)
Oh, it’s behind Elric already and as far as I remember the entrance is denied anyway to him. And, he is still crying for it so there’s going to be the essential sentence in the song. He sings “I cry for Tanelorn” but he is more crying for the whole universe and we meet him at the very last steps just before he sacrifice himself to Stormbringer.

So, there’s a kind of reference to the title of entire album “At the Edge of Time”.
It might be related. It has reference and there’s no doubt about that but we felt that the album title itself is connected to the whole album and not only to “Tanelorn”.

Also, do you like some other fantasy authors as well, as Robin Hobb or Steven Erickson, just for example?
To be honest, I am into everything, I cannot even tell you the last story that I have even read. I like to read different types of stuff and that does not have to be so fantasy related. But, if it comes to lyrics, and if it comes to music, I always feel more comfortable to deal with these issues because they somehow feat to the music better. And that’s finally how I make my decisions. You know, we do have the songs, and I do my vocal performances and create my vocal lines without knowing what the lyrical issue would be about, and just sudden, during the writing the pictures sudden fell on my mind, and I know that I will be going in this or that direction and so on. And on the new album, this was mostly fantasy stuff, but in general I’m digging into everything, but it doesn’t matter in which direction it will be going. I like Stephen King a lot, all the old stuff but also some new stuff, as well, I explored things and tried them out but I could not say that I like every fantasy writer. It’s very difficult – and I have discussion with one German journalist during last week and he’s pretty much into this stuff as well and he also told me that its hard for him to get throughout all this stuff because this is his job. And I attended to use Michael Moorcock because I like his general attitude of writing and I like the vision about the time and I like his characters. And he does have his own style. Even in the explaining of things and writing in general and I really appreciate that.

And the final question is about this particular doom-like atmosphere in the songs of Blind Guardian. Definitely, there’s a kind of doom vibe in some tracks – like a curse.
Yes, I know what you are thinking. There is a fatality in the most of the songs and I agree with that. And that is done on purpose and that’s strikes me in the most of the stories and that’s easiest thing for me to deliver in the storytelling. So, it comes out very natural and it’s something that I really do not thing about. It’s something there in the lyrics because it’s in the music. I like happy endings, but it rarely ever happened that they’re featured in our songs so I will leave them open or there will be certain tragedy in the song, as well. And that’s the way it is. I do not really think about it and indeed there is that doom-like attitude, there’s no doubt about that. And I also think, that’s the strange thing, that many times, when I’m in the good mood, it’s easier to me to transfer something doomy or negative, but if I am in the bad mood, it’s the opposite. You know, I really belong to the persons which like to stay on the sunny side, always. And I am very positive thinker and its easy for me to enjoy in life.

  • Answers by Hansi Kürsch
    Interview was done by Marko Miranović
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