DEMONS & WIZARDS - S/T (2000, SPV)
Demons and Wizards is a project featuring Jon
Schaffer of Iced Earth and Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian. We see lots of
project bands in Heavy Metal scene, but D&W is a little bit different from
the others: Iced Earth's depressive, Thrash Metal-influenced dark sound and
riffs versus Blind Guardian's fantasy based melodic, progressive-power style. It
may not sound too possible to combine these two different styles. But what we
hear shows us it IS possible! These two different tastes generated a unique and
very different style.
The recording sessions of the album were finished on August 1999, but the album was released in Europe on January 2000. During the recording sessions the participants were; Jon Schaffer (Guitars and basses), Hansi Kürsch (Vocals), Jim Morris (lead guitar), Mark Prator (Drums). Jon and Hansi have been friends for about ten years. First musical interaction between the two was in 1997, at Hansi's place.The first thing they recorded was "Last Sunrise". An interesting detail is that pre-recording process was heavily based on mailing and phone calls.
The style of the album is "epic power metal" as Jon and Hansi mentioned in an interview. Despite the fact that the album's atmosphere is different from BG and IE, it can be easily expressed that BG has much more influence on the music than IE.
When the album was released, very positive reactions were given and all the critics praised the album. From the first track to the last one, the vocals, guitars, drums are all in a harmony. Riffs remind IE but vocals by Hansi remind BG (for sure!). That's why this album is very succesful. Two tastes have generated another one (which bears the definite features of BG and IE). The songs are heavy, riffs are hard, but there are also melodic songs. There is an intro (Rites of Passage) and outro (Chant). All the songs surely kick ass but my favourite song is "Blood On My Hands". The riffs of Jon, the perfect vocal of Hansi and double bass drums with dark-depressive melodies have generated a perfect song! Other important tracks of the album are"Fiddler On Green", "Tear Down The Wall", "Heaven Denies" (the fast and the hard one) and "Poor Man's Crusade" (some may remember these songs, except "Poor Man's Crusade", from the offical website of DW (see links). There are sound samples of these songs on the site.) Lyrics are based on the tales which were written by Hansi, which are about God, angels, religion.(Look at the BG album, Nightfall In Middle Earth's inlay card, many short tales are waiting to be read)
The name of band come from Hansi and Jon's admiration Uriah Heep. The cover of the cd is also impressive. It reflects the atmosphere of the album very well. I always feel sympathy for project bands (of course in Heavy Metal style!). Now I have a favorite project band which is "DW"!
The Dark Lord - firstname.lastname@example.org