|Demons And Wizards - Demons And Wizards
01. Rites Of Passage
02. Heaven Denies
03. Poor Man's Crusade
04. Fiddler On The Green
05. Blood On My Hands
06. Path Of Glory
07. Winter Of Souls
08. The Whistler
09. Tear Down The Wall
10. Gallows Pole
11. My Last Sunrise
13. White Room [Cream cover][Japanese bonus]
14. The Whistler [Alternate version][Japanese bonus]
In any mythology, when two Gods gather it always ends in a terrible battle [even in a raging war most of the time]. In the world of power metal, it ends in a tremendous piece of music. Old friends Jon Schaffer [Iced Earth] and Hansi Kursch [Blind Guardian] finally worked together in 1999 and released their first side-project's opus entitled Demons & Wizards [under the same band name]. Apart from Hansi Kursch on vocals, Jon Schaffer on guitars and bass guitar, the lineup consisted of Mark Prator [ex-Iced Earth] on drums and Jim Morris [producer of Iced Earth, from the Morrisound Studios in Florida] on lead guitar.
From the first to the last sound, each song is perfect: the vocals intro 'Rites OF Passage' and outro 'Chant', the solid heavy songs such as 'Heaven Denies' and 'Blood On My Hands', the mid pace compositions such as 'The Whistler' and 'Path Of Glory', the outstanding ballad 'Fiddler On The Green' [the best metal ballad ever?],... All these songs reach perfection!
About the production of the album, the sound is very clean, Jim Morris didn't hesitate to lower the drums to get more importance to the voices and the acoustic guitars. As a result, some songs could have sound more powerful. But hey, I think that was a deliberate choice and the final result is that even the production of Demons & Wizards shows the ability of the band to control the music perfectly.
As we talk about perfection, let's talk about the artwork. Here, there's no question about it: the cover is a real masterwork and the booklet illustrations are splendid. But for those we have the chance to buy the limited digipack edition, the best part of the artwork is the dead fiddler jumping out into your face as you open the left part of the inside cover [pretty funny isn't it?]!
The main advantage of having this lineup is that D&W can rely on both Schaffer and Kursch as compositors. And obviously, the recipe worked perfectly! You can enjoy this album for many reasons: the rage of 'Heaven Denies', the lyricism of 'Fiddler On The Green', the beauty of the vocals,... It's pretty much an endless list! Demons & Wizards includes the best vocals ever recorded by master Kursch [and it's hard to believe regarding his performances with Blind Guardian] and each song is an authentic diamond. It's one of the best metal albums around dudes! Check it out!