Demons & Wizards

Touched by the Crimson King

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In the early '80s, a style of heavy metal was fast rising, in which groups sang about (and even to a point, dressed like) characters from an era long ago, in which gentlemen dressed in armor, and saved damsels in distress in tall castles. While some of these groups built a long-term career (Dio, Iron Maiden, etc.), many fell by the wayside as the style faded away, and was replaced by thrash and glam metal acts. By the early '90s, some of the music from these earlier bands could be detected in such new acts as Dream Theater and Iced Earth, who also pushed the 'technicality' of their music up a notch. Fast-forward another ten years to the early 2000s, and there is a new crop of bands that combine both of these metal eras together, especially by the prog metal "supergroup" Demons & Wizards. Comprised of Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer and Blind Guardian's Hansi K├╝rsch, the duo issued their second album in 2005, Touched by the Crimson King. Picture a modern metal soundtrack accompanying a triumphant ride through a forest on horseback, and you have an idea of what such songs as "Crimson King" and "Terror Train" sound like, as well as the album-closing cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." But not all of Crimson King is riff-based, as evidenced by the tranquil ending of "Beneath These Waves" and the beginning of "The Gunslinger." But by and large, Touched by the Crimson King is a modern-day prog metal fan's dream.

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