Before I get on with my review, I would like to mention that this band was a favourite of the late TMR Reviewer, Peter Willoughby, fondly remembered as the “WhiteMetalMan”, and in his honour I take it upon myself to hear this album through his ears and review it as he would have. So here it is.
Demon Hunter, an American Christian Metalcore band formed by the two Clark brothers, emerged the scene in 2000, and are out with their eighth studio album “Outlive” which was released by Solid State Records on March 31, 2017. Ryan and Don played together previously in Coalesce and Neurosis. Ryan had previously played guitar in hardcore band Focal Point, and released an album on Tooth & Nail/Solid State when he was still in his teens. Don left the band to pursue a career in Graphic design and family obligations.
As a headlining act, Demon Hunter helped introduce audiences to bands like August Burns Red. They’ve co-headlined with Red and toured as direct support for both In Flames and As I Lay Dying in the United States and parts of Canada. They’ve travelled to South America, Europe, and Australia, headlining major festivals and club shows alike.
So as I queued in the album, I was amazed with humble drum opening to “Trying times”, which evolved bar by bar to what becomes a precarious introduction to the rest of the album, comprising of and not limited to, crisp guitar tones, plenty of soundscapes, rugged basslines, and thrashing drum beats. “Jesus wept” picks up pace and pushes us to an uncharted territory. The song is packed with punching riffs and blitzing guitar solo raising the bar higher for the songs yet to come.
With “Cold Winter Sun” the Metalcore elements finally surfaces and dominates throughout. The juggle between the melodic and growling vocals is engaging and narrates of a post-apocalyptic world. The song progresses showcasing innovative guitar solos and riffs; effortlessly moving on to “Died in my Sleep”. The rhythm is gripping and as the melody catches up, an epiphany transcends and transports us.
“Half as Dead” retains the punch in its sound and melody, while offering a little mellowed out riff and placing more emphasis on vocals, a Wah-Wah on the solo fits in perfectly in the song. A jaw crushing riff packed with repetitive punches on “Cold Blood” emanates raw energy while fulfilling its melodic duties to the dot. The heavy interlude on the song paves in way for a terrific pentatonic guitar solo. “One step Behind” is the ballad track on the album, the guitar bits are outstanding as they take you for a trip outside your comfort zone and expresses deep sorrows.
“Raining Down” pours in with all heaviness and leaves no stone unturned and finds a perfect harmony with a pretty intense riff. As we progress through this album, “The End” retains the heaviness and has a pretty catchy chorus. “One less” has a nu-metal written all over it as it starts, but with the eventual death metal growls it adds a distinct flavour to the album.
Be it for its intro or for its song arrangement or for its sweep picking guitar solo, “Patience” truly feels Metalcore and showcases that the band saved the best for the last. The album ends with “Slight the odds” with the viola and cello driving the introduction and eventually pushing the song to the realms of Metalcore.
Production : The production on this album is mature, the rhythm and song writing powerful, and they live up to their brand. Be it the juggling of clean vocals and screams or a variety of instruments being added on a minuscule basis, this album is produced, mixed and sounds awesome.
Conclusion : This album is full of surprises and knee jerk hooks, thrashes and melodies that catch you off guard but are surely in your interest. For god sake!! Don’t miss this album!!
Written by: Ankit Sood
1. Trying Times
2. Jesus Wept
3. Cold Winter Sun
4. Died in My Sleep
5. Half as Dead
6. Cold Blood
7. One Step Behind
8. Raining Down
9. The End
10. One Less
12. Slight the Odds
Ryan Clark – Vocals
Patrick Judge – Lead Guitar
Jeremiah Scott – Rhythm Guitar
Jonathan Dunn – Bass
Yogi Watts – Drums
“Demon Hunter” (2002)
“Summer of Darkness” (2004)
“The Triptych” (2005)
“The Triptych Deluxe Edition CD/DVD (2006)
“Storm The Gates of Hell: Fan Edition (2007)
“Storm The Gates of Hell: Special Edition CD/DVD (2007)
“Storm The Gates of Hell (2007)
“45 Days CD/DVD (2008) [review]
“Live In Nashville” (2009)
“The World Is A Thorn”: Deluxe Edition CD/DVD (2010)
“The World Is A Thorn” (2010) [review]
“Death, A Destination” [3 album set] (2011)
“The World Is A Thorn”: Deluxe Edition (Digital) (2011)
“True Defiance” (2012) [review]
“Extremist” (2014) [review]
Record Label: Solid State Records, March 2017
Video for: ‘Died In My Sleep’
Video for: ‘Jesus Wept’
Video for: ‘Cold Winter Sun’