Demons & Wizards, the power metal group formed in 1997 between Iced Eath guitarist Jon Schaffer and Blind Guardian singer Hansi Kürsch, haven't released a new album in 15 years. That all changes on Feb. 21 when they drop III, their latest record and third overall.

Unlike III's predecessor, 2005's Touched by the Crimson King, this full length doesn't have an overarching theme. The previous album was based around author Stephen King's The Dark Tower series and, since Loudwire didn't even exist when that came out, we couldn't resist the opportunity to geek out over some literature.

Kürsch's interests are steeped further into fantasy than his counterpart, who prefers real world horrors and history when it's time to pick up a book. Still, the two share a mutual appreciation for King. Schaffer's first King book was Carrie and the darkness of it brought the same appeal that Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper offered during his youth.

Demons & Wizards, "Wolves in Winter" Music Video

King, who is notorious for his excruciating detail and side plots, became too much for Schaffer later on, however, as he prefers to get straight to the point when immersing himself in someone else's work. Kürsch, however, is game for it all and loves getting lose in those little details.

It's for that reason why the singer adores J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings saga and its companion, The Silmarillion, which elaborates on the mythical universe the author set the tale in. "The Lord of the Rings is more prominent and has been abused more times in metal than maybe any other fiction or fantasy story,"

"When starting to listen to heavy metal, for me, every song was about fantasy. I didn't pay too much attention to the words but because of the album covers [such as] Before the Storm by Samson it was all about fantasy and in most other cases it wasn't — it was established by bands like Blind Guardian and Iced Earth."

Samson, Before the Storm

Polydor

In the past, Schaffer has indulged in the area of fiction with Iced Earth, notably on 1996's The Dark Saga, which was based off the Spawn comics, which merged the fascination with real-world horrors and fantasy. "This guy gets betrayed by the government, assassinated, sells his soul to be with his wife but comes back [and] she's married to his best friend [and] has a kid. He's this demon that's supposed to serve Hell," he explained of the Spawn backstory. Yup — certifiably metal.

Iced Earth, "The Hunter"

With Schaffer's interests steering away from fiction, we thought we found the perfect balance — Orson Scott Card's The Tales of Alvin Maker series, which kicks off with the book Seventh Son. The alternate history fiction tale is said to have influenced Iron Maiden's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album and, seeing as Schaffer is a huge Maiden fan, we thought we nailed it.

Unfortunately, he wasn't familiar with the series, meaning his reading list just got a little longer, just like yours did after you watch the complete interview at the top of the page.

III, the new record from Demons & Wizards, drops Feb. 21 on Century Media. Get your copy here.

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