Demons And Wizards - Touched By The Crimson King

posted by Greg, Tuesday August 30, 2005 @ 01:13:57 PM

This review comes courtesy of Steven Cannon from Vibrations of Doom Magazine

DEMONS & WIZARDS "Touched By The Crimson King" (2005 Steamhammer)

Tracklisting: 01. Crimson King, 02. Beneath These Waves, 03. Terror Train, 04. Seize The Day, 05. The Gunslinger, 06. Love's Tragedy Asunder, 07. Wicked Witch, 08. Dorian, 09. Down Where I Am, 10. Immigrant Song

It's interesting to note that the import version has different, albeit better, artwork than the U.S. version. That being said, this is a surprise to me but one I had been hoping for. Their last self titled release had slight hints at potential, but I thought the heavier parts of the songs were a bit too overbearing and not thought out well. It was the more melodic songs, the near ballads if you will, that I thought were Demons & Wizards' biggest strengths. Now I see with this record that the heavier parts are written a LOT better.

Right off the bat, though, I must say 'Crimson King,' for all it's heaviness, does not start off the CD in fine fashion. (The song title, that is). 'Beneath These Waves' improves things dramatically. Choruses here are especially catchy and quite powerful, which isn't surprising considering Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian is doing a superb job with vocals. (Jon Schaffer from Iced Earth comprises the other half of the writing). 'Terror Train' is blisteringly heavy, and a truly remarkable track for one so heavy. The emotional vocal work pokes through even at the heavy and aggressive sung vocals of Hansi. 'Seize The Day' is ALMOST ballad like but with such soaring vocal work it really crushes in a more emotional sort of way. 'The Gunslinger' I could have done without the seemingly endless almost spoken vocals, and this track is a little long, but still a damn good one once it kicks in. The choruses here are a tad weak but not too weak to turn you off. Acoustic 'Wicked Witch' is a kick ass reminder that D&W's greatest strength is in their emotional and soaring vocal work, and this is extremely evident here, especially with the dual vocal work making this track just take off and stick in your head, short though it is. "Dorian' continues the heaviness unabated, complete with crushing vocal melodies, and finally 'Down Where I Am' is a sort of ballad (I'd much rather say deep, emotional acoustic piece, since lyrically this no more resembles a "ballad" than, say, Marduk's classic anti christianity songs) that sheds light on WHY this album is so powerful. I know, I'm repeating myself once again, but you MUST get the point. Finally, they do a pretty potent cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song,' and the vocals take on a life of their own. This CD will be reviewed in the next issue of Vibrations Of Doom Magazine, where, if you've been a good little metalhead, I'll allow you to listen to 4 or 5 songs (in shortened RealAudio format, of course) from this amazing album.

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