It was a night filled with demons, wizards, three-faced singers, blood laden people, and some Viking folklore all wrapped up in the spectacle that is heavy metal.
Vocalist Hansi Kürsch (also of Blind Guardian) and power guitarist Jon Schaffer (also of Iced Earth) brought their project, Demons & Wizards, to the Skyway Theater on the band’s first U.S tour. Along for the journey is master of disguise Lizzy Borden and Faroese metal band Týr, which created a web of three different styles of Heavy Metal in one unforgettable evening.
Starting the night was Týr, who has put the Faroe Islands on the metal map with their Viking style chants, punching guitars and a chest-rattling bass sound. They immediately won over the audience over with Viking Folklore songs as “Hold the Heathen Hammer High,” “Blood of Heroes,” and the mosh motivating “By The Sword of My Hand.”
Metal’s “master of disguise,” Lizzy Borden, was up next, showcasing multi-personalities all illuminated by the band’s melodic, hard-hitting metal. His persistent voice, which at times is so high it seemed only bats could hear as it, pierced the audience. Lizzy Borden is a band that is hard to figure out until you ask Lizzy himself how he takes on different characters. Before the show, I asked him about his writing process, and he stated that he becomes a character which seems to possess him through the writing process.
“For the last album Appointment with Death, I became Death, as for this album (Midnight Things) I became Evil.”Lizzy Borden
The mask and characters are certainly part of the show. But they do not overshadow the genuine musicianship — consisting of hard-hitting bass, dueling guitars, and a masterful percussionist, Joey Scott. Scott is a drummer whose style has the tremendous power of A.J. Pero (Twisted Sister) and the speed of Scott Travis (Judas Priest) during his Painkiller days meshing together into a murderous electrical circus which steadily changes throughout the set.
Demons & Wizards
When asked how Demons & Wizards came about, guitarist Jon Shaffer and vocalist Hansi Kürsch explained to Music In Minnesota that after developing a friendship over the years, they wanted a creative outlet from their current bands. While Shaffer’s heavier and angrier Iced Earth seems to contrast to Hansi’s mystical storytelling Blind Guardian, the two put out a collabortive effort of two albums which would garner the duo a heavy metal cult-like following. Both 2000’s Demons & Wizards and 2005’s Touched by the Crimson King are remastered (2019) while we wait for a spring 2020 release of their third yet-to-be-named album
At 9:35, Demons & Wizards took over the stage of the Skyway to an ecstatic audience who have waited years to see the two metal legends together on stage. Shaffer’s blistering guitars immediately kicked into gear as Kürschs’ powerful operatic voice motivated the audience to pump their fists while singing along.
Delivering a set of songs from their previous albums, alongside a few from the mother-ship bands, awed those in attendance, and the stalwart music shook the earplugs from my ears as I stood in the pit.
Between songs, German-born Kürsch stated he thought Minneapolis was the coolest name for a city. Those in attendance were then treated to a jaw-dropping musical experience, witnessing a masterpiece of musicianship as Demons & Wizards delivered to the anticipated expectations to their American fan base.