Album Reviews

Demons & Wizards – III Review

Released by: Century Media

Out Now

Heavy Metal

 

Line-up:

Hansi Kürsch – Lead & Backing Vocals
Jon Schaffer – Rhythm and Lead Guitars, Bass Guitar, 6 and 12
string Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Guest Musicians on “III”:
Brent Smedley – Drums
Jim Morris – Additional Guitars, Backing Vocals
Jake Dreyer – Additional Guitars
Ruben Drake – Bass
Thomas Hackman, Olaf Senkbeil, John Jaycee Cuipers, Zakery
Alexander, Jeff Brant, Todd Plant, Jerome Mazza – Backing
vocals
PA’dam chamber choir – Classical Choir

 

Tracklist:

01. Diabolic (8:01)
02. Invincible (4:34)
03. Wolves In Winter (4:18)
04. Final Warning (3:46)
05. Timeless Spirit (9:16)
06. Dark Side Of Her Majesty (4:38)
07. Midas Disease (4:36)
08. New Dawn (4:22)
09. Universal Truth (5:05)
10. Split (6:02)
11. Children Of Cain (10:07)

 

Twenty years ago, a collaboration occurred that set the Metal world ablaze. More collaboration than supergroup, Demons & Wizards featured the vocals of Blind Guardian singer Hansi Kursh and the guitar of Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer. Trying to imagine the combination of two disparate musicians as this led the mind to wild places. Upon hearing their first s/t album it went beyond all expectations. It became an instant favorite of mine, and one of the top albums of that year. Five years later they followed it up with the equally incredible Touched By the Crimson King. Despite such strong releases, with both BG and IE keeping the two men quite busy, it was a forgone conclusion that Demons & Wizards was just a side project and likely would never surface again. Imagine my surprise, standing within Center Stage in Atlanta, Ga for ProgPower, when it was announced that the headlining band of the final night was none other than Demons & Wizards, followed soon by the news that the duo was fast at work on a new album. Sadly, I didn’t get to witness them live, but now that the album is out, I can offer my take on it.

Entitled III, Kursh and Shaffer have done it again. The new album is a fantastic combination of pieces of Guardian and Earth, probably a bit more so than the prior two albums. Hansi still has one of the best, most unique voices in metal, and still at the top of his game. Jon proves again that he is a brilliant guitarist and songwriter. While III follows in line with their previous output, I’m afraid it doesn’t set itself out much from the other two. It feels more like a continuation, which may have been their intention and that’s fine. I just feel like more was needed to kick it above the standard they already set. Maybe I expected too much with a fifteen-year hiatus than I should have? More so than ever III feels like a great Metal album, but not setting itself apart from the other countless albums of this same style. Demons & Wizards made a pretty substantial impact on the Metal world in the early 2000’s, but there is a dearth of bands doing roughly the same type of music now, so I would’ve expected the progenitors of this sound to take it even further. It basically sounds like “the guy from Blind Guardian” singing songs written by “the guy who writes for Iced Earth.”

Please understand, I enjoyed this album, but it’s kind of left me feeling sort of “meh” about it. Demons & Wizards and Touched By the Crimson King were such stellar albums I expected a bit more. I know there will be a wealth of people who will feel otherwise about this album, but for me it was great, but I expected it to be greater.

 

Written by: Chris Martin

Ratings: 7/10

 

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