For over 20 years the phantom of Blind Guardian's orchestral album has been haunting the metal scene. Announced again and again, postponed again and again, "Legacy Of The Dark Lands" is now not only the most ambitious composition project ever undertaken by metal musicians in Germany, but also the (temporary) logical endpoint of a development already hinted at on an early album like "Somewhere Far Beyond" (1992). We spoke with the two makers Hansi Kürsch and André Olbrich.
eclipsed: Were there moments in the last 20 years when you lost interest in this mammoth company or ran out of patience?
Hansi Kürsch: (laughs) I've never lost my lust, but I've partly lost my patience. We even announced the album three or four times over the years and had to postpone it anyway, so that at some point we had the feeling that we would never really finish it. And even the mix turned out to be much more difficult in the end than we thought it would be.
eclipsed: What were the biggest pitfalls?
Kürsch: It was all about the interplay between singing and orchestra. The 90-strong Prague Filmharmonic Orchestra was completely recorded in the Rudolfinum there with the appropriate spatial sound. Seen in this light, an orchestra is a living being with its own dynamics. But my vocals and the "heavy metal choirs" were again produced under completely different conditions. It was an extreme development process to get a really harmonious melange in the end.
eclipsed: Was there ever a discussion about using samples instead of a real orchestra?
Kürsch: It would have had its advantages, because first of all, the sounds today are quite close to the original, and secondly, we could have determined the surround sound ourselves. I don't find anything reprehensible about it, but for us that was never an option, it had been clear in principle since 1996/97. Over all these years we've been doing some test balloons with different orchestras, but in the end we didn't like them. 2008/09 we made the first recordings in Prague.