Ι guess that whoever reads these lines is fully aware of the name Demons & Wizards and knows exactly that this is their comeback album after a 15-year hiatus! In addition, the metal community has embraced their debut album back in 1999 although we cannot say the same for their mediocre sophomore effort. So, here comes the third recording opus by Schaffer & Kursch under the not so inspired “III” title. The question is: “are we talking about an album worthy of the fame and talent of the band’s members? And most importantly is a worthy addition to the band’s catalogue”? Let’s find out…
The first taste of the new album came a while ago with the first (and quite impressive, I must add) video of “Diabolic”; a representative track of “III” as it fully portrays the dark, heavy and sinister atmosphere of the whole record. As a matter of fact, if it was 2-3 minutes shorter in duration then we would definitely say that it is a highlight of “III”. But this honor goes to the songs “Invincible (with its anthemic chorus) and “Timeless Spirit” (probably, the best cut on the album). As for the rest, I’d say that the overall result is good (not great) while Schaffer is repetitive at moments and loses the momentum with some lengthy musical paths here and there. Someone would ask if it is reminiscent of Blind Guardian or/and Iced Earth? Naturally when you hear the unmistakable voice of Hansi then you instantly think of Guardian. But the truth is that “III” has its own musical, dark identity.
In answering the question of the first paragraph, “III” is a good record; better than its predecessor but not superior to the debut one. Did we expect something more…? Probably.
Highlight: Hansi stated that the new record is the peak of their career. A respected but highly questionable opinion.