The second disc comprises the album itself, in its 2012 remixed and remastered form. Turbo-nerds will doubtless pore over the details and, in many cases, declare the original to be superior, but frankly the latter version sounds utterly incredible and noticeably more vital and vivid than that first draft. And of course, as many artists have pointed out over the years, the original version does still exist. You can have both. It’s cool.
BLIND GUARDIAN are plainly catering for the true devotees here, however, because this lavish set’s third disc is a definite obsessives-only affair. With instrumental versions of the whole album and a smattering of demos, it’s aimed squarely at the BG completist. Weirdly, a terrific orchestral version of “A Past and Future Secret” is chucked in at the very end, seemingly as an afterthought. Meanwhile, the very notion of listening to a Kürsch-free BLIND GUARDIAN may seem preposterous, but if you have an ear for finer details, instrumental versions of “I’m Alive”, “Mordred’s Song” and the rest are subtly revealing and further evidence of this band’s inherent classiness. But if it’s primal heavy metal thrills you crave, a Blu-Ray boasting a film of the entire “Live in Oberhausen” set completes the picture, with the undeniably exhilarating sight of masters at work, in front of a psychotically enthusiastic crowd.
Not every re-packaged classic gets the treatment it deserves, but this is about as comprehensive and megafan-friendly as it gets. A lovingly crafted piece of highbrow heavy metal art, “Imaginations From The Other Side” hasn’t aged a bit.