Who would you say are the male vocalists with the most distinctive voices you can think of? I've been thinking about that and I've come up with three vocalists who not only are easily recognizable but also add so much to their music, you just know it would even be close to the same with somebody else.
First there is Type O Negative's, Peter Steel. Then we have the Scorpion's fabulous lead singer, Klaus Meine. Last but not least, and you may not have heard of him, is Hansi Kursch of the German symphonic power metal band Blind Guardian and Hansi can belt out those amazing vocals with the best of them. Hansi is a singer, that to the unsuspecting ear may mistake him for that other great unmistakable vocalist, the late Freddie Mercury.
Demons and Wizards is a collaboration between two superlative heavy metal band's leaders, Blind Guardian and Iced Earth and this album, Touched by the Crimson King, is the second album born of this prolific union. Each band can and does stand strongly on it's own but as a unit there strengths seem to be magnified and as I started to say Blind Guardian's main strength is their incomparable singer Kursch. The singing of Kursch just lights up the music like a billboard. Even Steel and Meine cannot, in my opinion, do what Hansi does.
Touched by the Crimson King
The brand new Demons and Wizards album picks up where the self titled debut album left off. Touched by the Crimson King is sixty-six minutes of musical variety ranging from slow melodic ballads to super hard driving blockbusters. Borrowing from Jon Schaffer's Iced Earth style, we have speedy heavy percussion and guitar riffs galore, merging with the strengths of Blind Guardian, symphonic style, melodious backing vocals, lush layering of music so deep you can get lost in it, topped off by the indescribable vocals of Hansi Kursch, like a cherry on a hot fudge sundae.
Demons and Wizards is:
Hansi Kürsch - Vocals
Jon Schaffer - Rhythm, Bass, Lead and Acoustic Guitars
Jim Morris - Guitar Solos and Backing Vocals
Bobby Jarzombek - Drums
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
For those who haven't picked up on it, this is a concept album, based upon the famous (or infamous, depending of your point of view) Gunslinger series of Stephen King.
I have read where at least one reviewer said he didn't like this as well as the original D&W release because it wasn't as homogenous as the first one. This is precisely why I like this one. I love the variety and the strong melodies that permeate this wonderful recording.
Just like a Blind Guardian album, there is too much too absorb here in one setting, This album gets better and better the more you hear it. I was going to give it a high three stars or a low four stars at first, forgetting my own admonitions from reviews past but no this is a great, great album. High five stars. If you like Iced Earth or Blind Guardian, don't ask questions, just buy it. If you like Heavy or Symphonic Metal, listen to samples if you must, then buy it and if you don't like it at first, give it at least four or five spins. If you still don't like it, you don't really like Heavy Metal.