I know I have touched on the subject of the art works of one Andreas Marschall more than once in the past but great artists deserve more than an honorable mention so here we go again.
This German-born illustrator got his start in the comic book industry but is now renowned for his realizations of heavy metal alum covers and the occasional film poster. Marschall has contributed to far to many covers for me to go over here but for a complete list you can visit this unofficial fan site. You can see many artists have turned to him as their go-to artist for multiple recordings, notably Grave Digger, Hammerfall, and Immolation among others.
Marschall is also clearly favored a great deal by Blind Guardian as he has been selected to work on a total of eight of their studio albums not to mention various works for merchandise and promotional materials. The picture above is taken from the cover of BG’s 1993 album Somewhere Far Beyond. This album was largely responsible for slingshotting Blind Guardian into the international spotlight and paved the way to their first tour outside of their home country of Germany and to the far east. As you can see by our recent poll, Somewhere Far Beyond is a fan favorite, landing (for now at least) in second place of “Best Blind Guardian Album” falling just a few votes shy of the top spot behind Nightfall In Middle-Earth.
On the cover is a band of ragged, traveling bards engaged is some sort of magical act. Given the nature of the cover and the acclaimed track The Bards Song featured within, Blind Guardian have long since used this term to describe themselves, their fans, and even in naming the now defunct fan club, Circle Of Bards.