If you read some of my earlier reviews you noticed that I sometimes refer to the eye-level cooperation between singer and guitarist, being a decisive factor for an album becoming just good or even great. Demons & Wizards build exactly on this collaboration. Blind Guardian frontman Hansi Kürsch and Iced Earth mainman Jon Schaffer are the driving forces behind Demons & Wizards, a project that has its roots back in the late ‘90s.
‘My Last Sunrise’ was the first song the two iconic musicians wrote and recorded together, leading to the debut album that has been released in 2000. The album was a big success with entering the German longplayer charts. Due to busy schedules work for the sophomore album ‘Touched by the Crimson King’ took 5 years. After that radio-silence took over, although there were some statements in interviews and social media about ideas when it comes to a third Demons & Wizards album.
The revitalization of the project got a bit more shape and form last summer, when the band played some festivals and also started their first North America tour. Finally, sharp before Christmas last year a next album was announced and here it is – ‘III’.
After fifteen without a new longplayer the newest delivery represents a 100% of Demons & Wizards. Heavy Metal and Power Metal are still the base for each of the songs and what can be recognized right away as well is that the involved protagonists grew over time and so did the music. ‘III’ offers more musical facets and opens up for other musical influences. Classic Rock and more progressive structures found their way into songs like the calmer ‘Timeless Spirit’ and anthemic ‘Final Warning’ . Furthermore it’s the PA’dam chamber choir adding a symphonic aspect to Demons & Wizards music. ‘Dark Side of the Majesty’ and ‘Diabolic’ definitely gains depth by using the sound of a choir, an extra layer that amplifies the density of the album.
Furthermore there is the massive ‘Wolves in Winter’ and an “AC/DC homage” called ‘Midas Disease’, a smashing track spiced up with some early W.A.S.P. too.
Last but not least there is the 10 minutes epos ‘Children of Cain’, bringing the album to the finish line. An acoustic guitar and Kürsch’s great voice are the starting point of a musical journey that’s jaw-dropping. It’s not the loud tones that dominate. Instead there’s an interplay of acoustic and heavier outbursts, being the overarching suspense pattern of the song. It’s a ‘wow’-moment.
Expectations on ‘III’ have been high and the long wait might have even increased them. After having listened to Demons & Wizards newest album I can tell that all the expectations are met. Like mentioned in the beginning of this article, it’s the magic between singer and guitarist that makes ‘III’ to great Metal record that should part of any Metal collection.
03. Wolves In Winter
04. Final Warning
05. Timeless Spirit
06. Dark Side Of Her Majesty
07. Midas Disease
08. New Dawn
09. Universal Truth
11. Children Of Cain
Label: Century Media
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date EU: February 21st, 2020