German power metal veterans Blind Guardian have never shied away from the grandiose and the epic. Whether that’s the mammoth operatic and orchestral journey that is 2019’s Legacy of the Dark Lands or the stunning aggression of their formative years, the Bards know how to make a monumental impact.

The God Machine” is the band’s 12th studio album and sees the return to their more direct and focused style in all it’s theatrically heavy glory. Vocalist Hansi Kürsch says: “After ‘Beyond The Red Mirror’ and ‘Legacy Of The Dark Lands’, we knew we couldn’t push the orchestral side of Blind Guardian any further. The new directive while creating “The God Machine” was fairly straight-forward but ever so welcome: “Less orchestration, more punch.”

Don’t let that fool you however; the opulence and extravagance is still very much present. Kürsch goes on to say: “We didn’t want to rehash our qualities from 1995, but didn’t want to continue down this complex path forever either. ‘The God Machine’ is a new beginning for us. We’ve set a new course and gone back to certain things that we’ve neglected a bit on the last few albums.”

Deliver Us From Evil‘ explodes with fierce aggression and a rousing, heroic atmosphere overflowing with epic riffage and a battering barrage of ferocious drumming. ‘Damnation‘ continues the onslaught with a more ominous tone compared to its uplifting predecessor. Kürsch‘s vocals are stellar and the solos are firing out left, right and centre. ‘Secrets Of The American Gods’ brings back more of that orchestral extravagance accompanied by intricate guitarwork and evocative melodies. Alternating between a slower tempo and momentum-building moments, this track is nothing short of epic.

Violent Shadows‘ picks up the pace again with a no-nonsense riff and a charging velocity emanating pure rage and aggression whereas ‘Life Beyond The Spheres‘ has a softer yet foreboding approach. With it’s stomping march, soaring riffs and baleful choirs, this track breathes a new lease of life in to the record at its half-way point. ‘Architects Of Doom‘ continues in a similar vein utilising orchestral choirs and thunderous drumming before cascading in to a fast-pace storm of relentless epicness.

As the record begins to travel towards its conclusion, ‘Let It Be No More‘ is a melancholy and morose ballad which soars with evocative power and flying solos. The penultimate track ‘Blood Of The Elves‘ picks up the pace once more; it’s thunderous, ferocious and operatically grand in every aspect. From the insane blast-beats and massive choruses, this track gives way to one final push as it charges towards ‘Destiny.’ As a Blind Guardian closer, it’s expected to be dramatic but this track completely obliterates that concept. An opus in itself, this track takes every element of the entire record and sums it up in a cinematic performance of epic proportions.

Taking inspiration from the likes of fantasy works by Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson and The Witcher, Blind Guardian have produced yet another remarkable record to follow an already impressive discography. It’s catchy, rousing, addictive and uplifting; “The God Machine” has collected past endeavours and present styles to forge a future that epitomises the power metal style in all its grandeur.

Rating: 8.5/10

Released By: Nuclear Blast

Release Date: 2nd September 2022

For Fans Of: Iron Maiden, Battle Beast, Sabaton

Favourite Track(s): Deliver Us From Evil, Damnation, Violent Shadows, Blood of the Elves, Destiny