Bear with me, this is my first review of all time, sorry if things are a little rusty.
Demons and Wizards is:
Hansi Kursch - Vocals
Jon Schaffer - Rythm, Bass, Lead & Acoustic Guitars
Bobby Jarzombek - Drums and Precussion
Jim Morris - Guitar solos and Backing vocals
Rubin Drake - Bass & Fretless Bass Guitar
Howard Helm - Piano and Backing vocals
Kathy Helm - Backing vocals
Tori Fuson - Backing vocals
Jesse Morris - Backing vocals
Krystyna Kolaczynski - Cello
Demons and Wizards is a side project that was started by Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer and Blind Guardian's Hansi Kursch in 1997, when the two bands were touring together. The name is a perfect depiction of D&W's style: an element of darkness and an element of magic. The name has been said to describe the two main memberís attributes in music, Schaffer being the Demon with his heavy, thrash sounding riffs, and Kursch being the Wizard with his light hearted vocals. As you may be thinking (as I was when I first heard of this band) those 2 styles would not complement each other at all, but in fact they fit perfectly together to create a wonderful sound that is rarely heard in metal.
This album is based on Stephen King's "Dark Tower" book series, consisting of seven books. I have read this series and that is mainly what drew me to this album. Although not every song on this album ties directly to DT, the ideas of all the songs come out of Dark Tower. However, certain parts of this album will not make sense unless you have read the series, and so it is very difficult to listen to if you are not familiar with the series.
1. Crimson King - This is the song, and the character in DT, I based my username on, if you haven't caught on by now. This was the song that introduced me to D&W, and it is very well done. It starts off the album with some beautiful guitar work by Schaffer, under laid with "Gregorian Chant", a common thing used in Iced Earth songs. It then all melds together and leads to the chorus, which includes the line that is the album is named after: Touched by the Crimson King. Over all, this is an awesome opening track and is one of my favourite songs on the album. 5/5
2. Beneath These Waves - This song is based on Ahab's quest to kill Moby Dick, thus the under laying feeling in this song is that of revenge. This is a great song, but is lacking in delivery. It is rather slow paced and there aren't any memorable parts in it. 3.5/5
3. Terror Train - A song only readers of Dark Tower books 3 and 4 will understand; this is a song about Blaine the Mono. Right from the first second, you are overwhelmed with wicked guitar thrashes and crazy doubled bass drums. The song remains this way for the entire tune and results in a fast, hard-hitting tune that is very fun to listen to. 5/5
4. Seize the Day - My personal least favourite song on the album. This song is a ballad of sorts with acoustic sounding guitars and soft vocals. The only heavy thing about this song is the chorus, which is the best part of this song. 2.5/5
5. The Gunslinger - My personal favourite song off this album. Again, this is one of the songs that only fans of the Dark Tower series will understand, using terminology such as "Commala" and "Ka" which will confuse you if you have not read the series. This song starts of very slowly and, at first, it seems like a very dull track. Then, out of no where, the songs speeds up massively and this songs true colors are shown. The best thing about this song is the memorable chorus, which is very patriotic sounding and great sounding. 5/5
6. Love's Tragedy Asunder - This song is loosely based on book 4 of Dark Tower, which is more or less the love story in the series. This piece is very emotional at the beginning and has a very catchy chorus that seems to grow on you. This song is very well done and is one of the best pieces on the album. 4.5/5
7. Wicked Witch - This song is based on The Wizard of Oz (the Wicked Witch of the West in particular) which plays a big part in book 4 of DT. This is a very short song that is acoustic all the way through. It has nothing to spectacular about it, but is a very emotional piece nonetheless. 3.5/5
8. Dorian - This song is based around Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Grey". This song has a solid intro but that is quickly shot down by a slow part. Closer to the end, the song picks up tempo again and has a decent enough finale. The main problem with this song is that it is the longest on the album, clocking in at 6:36, and so this song feels like an eternity due to the slowness that makes up the vast majority of the song. 3/5
9. Down Where I Am - This is a very well written piece with plenty of acoustic work and beautifully pitched vocals. This song serves no massive connection to DT, but it does very loosely describe a character that comes into DT as an antagonist in book 7. 3.5/5
10. Immigrant Song - A great cover of Led Zeppelin's infamous song. Most covers done by either IE or BG are very well done, and this is no exception. This song is the shortest on the album at a time of 2:28. This song is very enjoyable if youíre a fan of Led Zeppelin. 4.5/5
This last bit is only available on the special version of this album.
11. Lunar Lament - This song starts off with solid drumming followed by heavily effected guitars. Kursch's vocals are what really make up this song, because the guitar does nothing special through out. 4/5
12. Wicked Witch (Slow Version) - This version is not very different from the original except for the fact that (as the name implies) it is slower. The pitch of the song has also dropped a note or two making it sound much deeper and darker. 3/5
13. Spatial Architects - This song starts off with a minor sounding guitar piece that sets the song off very well. There are no random tempo changes or fancy guitar tricks in this one, just straight up distortion, heavy bass and drums, and vocals that suit the mood very well. 4/5
14. Beneath These Waves (Edit) - This version is exactly the same as the original except for one key change: the slow part at the end is cut out. This is the version they use on radios. My rating for this song still stands. 3.5/5
In conclusion, this is a great album, and I strongly recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of Iced Earth or Blind Guardian. I also recommend that if you pick this album up, you should look into the Dark Tower series. Likewise, if you are reading the Dark Tower series, you should listen to this album because it will make a lot more sense to you then any one else.