The album is based upon J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion, a book of tales from the First Age of Middle-earth, recounting the War of the Jewels. The album contains not only songs but also spoken parts narrating parts of the story.
The music is much more "melodic" on this album, compared to previous works such as Somewhere Far Beyond, and the songs have much more fluency, without losing any of the traditional speed or guitar solos and leads. It is also the first album with Oliver Holzwarth, as guest musician. This is also the last album Hansi wrote bass for.
Nightfall in Middle-Earth was the first album by Blind Guardian to be released in the U.S. The sales encouraged Century Media to release their entire back catalog in the U.S. In 2007, it was remastered and re-released, with one bonus track.
Track listing Edit
- "War of Wrath" – 1:50
- "Into the Storm" – 4:24
- "Lammoth" – 0:28
- "Nightfall" – 5:34
- "The Minstrel" – 0:32
- "The Curse of Fëanor" – 5:41
- "Captured" – 0:26
- "Blood Tears" – 5:23
- "Mirror Mirror" – 5:07
- "Face the Truth" – 0:24
- "Noldor (Dead Winter Reigns)" – 6:51
- "Battle of Sudden Flame" – 0:44
- "Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)" – 4:53
- "The Dark Elf" – 0:23
- "Thorn" – 6:18
- "The Eldar" – 3:39
- "Nom the Wise" – 0:33
- "When Sorrow Sang" – 4:25
- "Out on the Water" – 0:44
- "The Steadfast" – 0:21
- "A Dark Passage" – 6:01
- "Final Chapter (Thus Ends...)" – 0:48
- Japanese Bonus Tracks
- "Nightfall" (Orchestral Version) – 5:38
- "A Dark Passage" (Instrumental Version) – 6:05
- 2007 Re-release Bonus Track
- "Harvest of Sorrow" – 3.39
- Hansi Kürsch – lead and backing vocals
- André Olbrich – lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars
- Marcus Siepen – rhythm guitars
- Thomas "Thomen" Stauch – drums & percussion
- Oliver Holzwarth – bass guitar & fretless bass
- Mathias Weisner – keyboards & orchestral effects
- Michael Schüren – grand piano
- Max Zelzner – flutes & alto-flute
- Norman Eshley, Douglas Fielding – narration
- Billy King, Rolf Köhler, Olaf Senkbeil, Thomas Hackmann – the choir company
- Produced by Blind Guardian
- Flemming Rasmussen – mixing
- Charlie Bauerfeind – mixing of interludes
- Flemming Rasmussen, Charlie Bauerfeind and Piet Sielck – mixing engineers
- Charlie Bauerfeind – recording and engineering of drums, percussion, lead and backing vocals, bass guitars, piano and interludes
- Piet Sielck – recording and engineering of lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, keyboards and orchestral effects
- Flemming Rasmussen – recording and engineering of vocals
- Cuny – recording and engineering of flutes, alto-flutes and vocals
- Andreas Marshall – cover and story paintings
- Thorsten Eichhorst – photos
Thematic references Edit
The album retells the events in The Silmarillion, beginning at the end:
- In "War of Wrath", Sauron advises his master Morgoth to flee the triumphant Vala in the War of Wrath. Morgoth sends him away and reflects on the events leading up to his defeat.
- In "Into The Storm", Morgoth and Ungoliant, fleeing from Valinor after having destroyed the Two Trees, struggle for the possession of the Silmarils.
- "Lammoth" is the scream of Morgoth with which he fights off Ungoliant.
- In "Nightfall", Fëanor and his seven sons mourn the destruction wrought by Morgoth and swear to get revenge on him, in spite to the Valar.
- "The Minstrel" most likely its about Maglor, son of Fëanor, who composed the song "The Fall of the Noldor" based on the Kinslaying.
- In "The Curse of Fëanor", Fëanor expresses his wrath and anger and relates the misdeeds he commits, especially the Kinslaying, in pursuit of Morgoth.
- In "Captured", Morgoth addresses the captive Maedhros, Fëanor's son, and chains him to the Thangorodrim mountains.
- In "Blood Tears", Maedhros relates the horrors of his captivity and his deliverance by Fingon. A line "Welcome to where time stand still / No one leaves and no one (ever) will." is a quote from Metallica's song "Welcome Home (Sanitarium) ".
- "Mirror Mirror" recounts how Turgon, in view of inevitable defeat, builds the city of Gondolin, aided by Ulmo ("The Lord of Water").
- In "Face The Truth", Fingolfin reflects about the destiny of the Noldor.
- In "Noldor (Dead Winter Reign)", Fingolfin recounts his Noldor army's passage from the icy waste of Helcaraxë, the prophecy by Mandos about the Noldor's fate and he reflects on his own and his people's guilt and foreshadows their ultimate defeat.
- "The Battle of Sudden Flame" talks about the battle in which Morgoth breaks the Siege of Angband using his Balrogs and dragons.
- "Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)" is about Fingolfin riding to the gates of Angband to challenge Morgoth to a duel. Fingolfin wounds Morgoth seven times but is eventually killed.
- "The Dark Elf" refers to Eöl who seduced Turgon's sister and fathered Maeglin, who would eventually betray Gondolin.
- In "Thorn", Maeglin reflects on his situation and decides to betray Gondolin to Morgoth.
- "The Eldar" is Elven king Finrod's farewell to his people, dying from wounds received in saving his human friend Beren from a werewolf.
- In "Nom the Wise", Beren mourns his friend Finrod. Nóm means "wise" and was the name given to him by Beren's forefather Bëor.
- In "When Sorrow Sang", Beren sings about his love to the Elven princess Lúthien and his death at the teeth of Morgoth's wolf Carcharoth.
- "Out on the Water" refers to the last dwelling-place of Beren and Lúthien.
- In "The Steadfast", Morgoth curses his captive Húrin who steadfastly refused to reveal the secret of Gondolin.
- In "A Dark Passage", Morgoth ponders his triumph in the fifth battle. The song also relates the origins of the kindred of men and Morgoth's curse on Húrin to be witness to his children's tragic fate.
- "Final Chapter (Thus ends ...)" concludes the album, speaking of Morgoth's victory by the "treachery of man" but also of the hope for a new day.
- "Harvest Of Sorrow" is the bonustrack on the remastered version of the album. Túrin mourns the loss of his sister Nienor.
The cover art for the album features Lúthien dancing before Morgoth, from The Tale of Beren and Lúthien.