Demon Hunter – “Extremist”


Extremist DHDemon Hunter is a rare Christian metalcore band from Seattle Washington, USA that has succeeded in almost every way, whether or not people enjoy it. Examples include clean production, solidarity in their sound, and also appealing to mainstream audiences.

“Extremist” is their seventh studio album. The album title is a philosophical one, not a musical one. While there are plenty of intense and aggressive parts, it’s probably their most melodic effort to-date. Vocalist Ryan Clark described the inspiration behind the title this way: “Extremist has to do with where we stand as a band in light of the direction the Western world seems to be moving towards. Our worldview looks to be a more scarce point of view these days. You could say a lot of the ideals we uphold are extreme in that they tend to lie at the polarized end of self-exaltation, moral relativism, and existential subjectivity.”

“Death” opens the album with a Latin chant as the drums and guitars build. As the chant reaches its pinnacle, a bell rings out followed by Ryan Clark’s signature scream. Demon Hunter has a knack for opening albums with blistering paced metal jams, but this time opt for a much slower, but just as heavy, metal number. “Artificial Light,” a song that has already been released, follows and is closer in sound to their typical opener. “What I’m Not” is third on the track list and feels more like straightforward melodic rock. The most enjoyable part of the song has to be the guitar solo found within; there are juicy solos to be found all over this album. “The Last One Alive” comes in with the first of the expected slower, cleanly sung, songs. “I Will Fail You” follows suit as Ryan sings about the predictability of human failure. Clark sings honestly, “I will fail You to the core.” The guys pump the energy back up a little with “One Last Song,” but it still doesn’t reach the intensity fans have come to expect in recent years. Next “Cross to bear” is probably the best song of the album. As you start to get caught up in the head banging, you suddenly hear Ryan scream, “Not one of you bastards has a cross to bear!” Though some are sure to rush to judgment, the term, often used in a profane way, is actually used within context. In the lyrics, Clark voices his anger over the flippant use of an adage so often recited in today’s society: “That’s my cross to bear.” In an explanation of the lyrics, Ryan clarifies that the sacrifice Jesus gave on the cross is sacred and to trivialize the cross with everyday hardships belittles what Jesus actually did for humanity. The word “bastard” is used to show that people who use these words so brazenly have no relation or knowledge of their Heavenly Father.

“Hell Don’t Need Me” is the next slow song. It sounds eerily similar to the other slow tracks on the album, as well as those from Demon Hunter’s past, and gets lost in the mix a bit. “In Time” gets things moving again with screams and high-speed guitar and drums. As you begin to get into the sound, the music falls off for the chorus, but does feature a pretty nice transition back to the faster verse. “Beyond Me” has a darker tone in the verses, but opens to a brighter, and softer, sound for the chorus yet again. It would have been interesting to hear a song like this retain that darker feel throughout. Another album favorite is “Gasoline.” As the song starts off, it is reminiscent of something like “Heartstrings” or “Carry Me Down.” In the chorus, however, it does the opposite of the previous two tracks. As the guitar builds during the pre-chorus, Ryan sings, “We can smother out the flames,” and follows it by a screamed, “with gasoline!” The chorus has a heavy grooving guitar and a really nice sound. “The Heart of a Graveyard” closes the album out. The melodic chorus is actually closer to pop-rock than the signature Demon Hunter metal sound.

“Extremist”, is bound to surprise the real Demon Hunter fans. The album contains less processed metal and more melodic hard rock. The technical proficiency on this album is leaps and bounds beyond Demon Hunter’s past releases, featuring more raw production and several blistering guitar solos.

Rating: 8/10

Written by “Stingray”

01 Death
02 Artificial Light
03 What I’m Not
04 The Last One Alive
05 I Will Fail You
06 One Last Song
07 Cross to Bear
08 Hell Don’t Need Me
09 In Time
10 Beyond Me
11 Gasoline
12 The Heart of a Graveyard

Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:
13 Waste Me
14 Helpless Hope

Band members:
Ryan Clark – vocals
Patrick Judge – lead guitar
Jeremiah Scott – rhythm guitar
Jonathan Dunn – bass
Tim “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)

Weblinks: Website / Twitter / Facebook

Record Label: Solid State Records, March 2014

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm

Lyric video below for ‘Artificial Light’

Lyric video below for ‘The Last One Alive’


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