An eight-minute preview of "A Traveler's Guide To Space And Time", a strictly limited-edition BLIND GUARDIAN box set with 15 CDs in 13 high-quality digipacks and only 8000 copies worldwide, can be seen below. The set will be released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on February 1 and the rest of the world on February 4.
Looking back over BLIND GUARDIAN's career from the here and now in 2013, you see a success story gone global, the likes of which very few other German metal bands have ever experienced. This band from Krefeld has been just about everywhere, conquering the North American market in the same way as they stormed the charts in Asia or packed concert venues in South America and even South Africa. From their (at that point purely) German beginnings with debut album, "Battalions Of Fear" (1988), followed by their first international recognition with the second album, "Follow The Blind" (1989) and the euphoria which went round the world when "Tales From The Twilight World" (1990) and "Somewhere Far Beyond" (1992) came out, right through to their masterpiece of composition in "A Night At The Opera" (2002), the name of the band developed to become an unmistakable world brand. There are lots of reasons for this, but no doubt much of it is down to the extraordinary skill of everyone involved, their virtuoso dexterity and that gift for bringing mystical themes in tune with unusually complex metal directives. Something else which really makes BLIND GUARDIAN stand out is the way they have always kept so close to their fans. Even more proof of their unconditional commitment to the huge fan-base is being released now; "A Traveler's Guide To Space And Time", a strictly limited edition deluxe box set with a total of 15 CDs in 13 high-quality digipacks, which the musicians and the record company have been working on together for almost a year. A particularly long time to create a compilation you may think, but a glance at just how much this box set encompasses explains why their conscientious and time-consuming preparation took so long.
"A Traveler's Guide To Space And Time" not only includes all the albums released during the so-called Virgin years (the record company brought out all the bands' records between 1988 and 2004) but also all their previously unreleased demo recordings, rare bonus tracks and alternative versions of famous pieces from this era, and all of them have been remastered and some even remixed. To be precise; it includes the seven studio albums "Battalions Of Fear", "Follow The Blind", "Tales From The Twilight World", "Somewhere Far Beyond", "Imaginations From The Other Side", "Nightfall In Middle-Earth" and "A Night At The Opera", and on top of all that you get the live albums "Tokyo Tales" and "Live" as well as "The Forgotten Tales" compilation, all of them now with 2012 mastering and some of them with new mixes. Above and beyond that, BLIND GUARDIAN have dug deep into their archives and come up with some real treats: in "Imaginations Through The Looking Glass" for the very first time the phenomenal concert they put on in Coburg, Germany in June 2003 appears in audio format on two CDs. And another first, in a special edition of "Nightfall In Middle-Earth", the musicians also present the legendary 1998 studio album without any breaks (including a new mix of "Blood Tears"). This precious box is rounded off with "An Extraordinary Tale", which includes so-far-unreleased demo versions of the pieces "Welcome To Dying", "Lord Of The Rings", "The Bard's Song (In The Forest)", "The Bard's Song (The Hobbit)", "Theatre Of Pain", "Trial By Fire" and "I'm Alive" and the never-before-released, around-90-seconds-longer version of the song "The Quest For Tanelorn" as well as the comparatively rare number "Harvest Of Sorrow".
So, there is so much to find, enjoy and rediscover in this outright opulent deluxe box which is accompanied by a 20-page glossy booklet (size: 27cm x 27cm) containing comments from the members of the band and more than 100 rare and mainly unpublished photos belonging to the musicians. A limited-edition and numbered BLIND GUARDIAN art print on special paper (sized 27cm by 27cm) and a guitar plectrum engraved with the band's logo have also been added to the box.
"With 'A Traveler's Guide To Space And Time', we document how much has BLIND GUARDIAN developed between 1988 and 2004 in, as I see it, a particularly impressive and vivid way," explains singer/bassist Hansi Kürsch who, together with original members André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen, still controls the destiny of this amazing group. Kürsch adds: "The brand new mastering also makes sure that all 15 CDs are on the same level as far as the dynamics are concerned so theoretically you can listen to the whole box at one go, without having to adjust the volume level at all."
Of course this jam-packed compilation also includes all the compositional climaxes and milestones along BLIND GUARDIAN's career path; "Majesty" from their debut album "Battalions Of Fear" was the first time the band presented their unusual song writing combined with the boundless energy which still makes BLIND GUARDIAN stand out so much today. "Traveler In Time" from "Tales From The Twilight World" then puts the band's epic approach into focus. "The Bard's Song" has developed into a real classic, creating that perfect symbiosis between band and audience at concert after concert and reinforcing the folklore element within the typical BLIND GUARDIAN sound.
Of course, in this box, BLIND GUARDIAN also present the sublime title track from the album "Imaginations From The Other Side" with its capable mixture of anthemic power metal and progressive directives, as well as the downright cinematic number "Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)" from the album "Nightfall In Middle-Earth". The experts reckon the fantastic "And Then There Was Silence" from "A Night At The Opera" was the icing on the cake of those Virgin years and you can hear it in all its glory on "A Traveler's Guide To Space And Time".
With "A Traveler's Guide To Space And Time", BLIND GUARDIAN stay true to their reputation of not doing anything only halfway. As always with this band you get the full-on thing, on both the composition and technical production sides. This box is also full of rare photos from the musicians' private collections as well as previously unreleased demo recordings, once again documenting how far this group will go to give their fans the best possible product. And as Hansi Kürsch put it: "We poured our heart and soul into 'A Traveler's Guide To Space And Time', making it a well worthwhile box for our fans which fully meets the demands we make of ourselves as well as those of our fans. And that is exactly what we were aiming for."
For the complete track listing, visit Blind-Guardian.com.