Although I am actually maybe the biggest Blind Guardian Fan on the whole planet, and also enjoyed both Iced Earth and the debut of Demons & Wizards, i didn't hurry getting this new output of the Kürsch / Schaffer combination. This was caused by the weird sounding sample of "The Gunslinger" which couldn't really convince me.
However, a few days / weeks ago, my girlfriend ordered something from Amazon and asked me whether i needed a CD. So I bought "Touched By The Crimson King" and a couple of days later I was totally blown away.
The disadvantages appeared on the debut were fixed and all what is left is pure enjoyable and innovative music containing the incredible vocals of Hansi Kürsch and a powerful and finally a fanciful Jon Schaffer doing interesting rhythms (beginning of Dorian - or the amazing opener "Crimson King"), emotional ballads (Down Where I Am - unbelievable) and heroic refrains. The "weakest" songs "Terror Train" and the cover of Led Zeppelins "Immigrants Song" are approximately on the same level as the best songs from "D&W". The other numbers are way up high in terms of riffing and filled with catchy melodies and vocals...
All in all "Touched By The Crimson King" is a jewel and one of the best straight Power-Metal albums published for a long long time. Absolutely recommendable!!!