@planetmosh reviews Extremist by .@demonhunterband out on .@solidstate
Two years since their last release Seattle 5 piece Demon Hunter have released ‘Extremist’, the well-publicized follow-on to 2012’s ‘True Defiance’. Not as well known of this side of the Atlantic as they probably should be for a band with sales in excess of a half million copies. For more than 10 years Demon Hunter have been producing consistently high quality metal records as well as touring with the likes of Zao, In Flames, As I lay Dying, Cancer Bats and the awesome Battlecross.
Having heard and seen the teaser lyric videos for the tracks ‘Artificial Light’, ‘The Last one Alive’, and ‘I Will Fail You’, in my mind the jury was still out as to how this album would stack up against the other records in the DH back catalogue.
The later of those tracks has a slower tempo but is by no means a schmaltzy ballad, and features some wonderfully bleak sounding guitar in the intro. ‘Artificial Light’ is another matter however, as it features the dreaded auto-tune on Ryan Clarke’s clean vocals during the chorus. This adds absolutely nothing to the dynamic of the song, but rather has the opposite effect and even though it is used sparingly it still detracts from what would otherwise be a decent metal tune. Quite why anyone would use this horrible feature on a metal record is beyond this reviewer.
Thankfully though on first proper listen any fears were put aside, the album opens with the fantastic ‘Death’, which almost sounds like a follow-on from 2010 single ‘Lifewar’.
With each new release Clark’s vocals seem to come on leaps and bounds, especially on the melodies and choruses, quite how he switches between melodic and growling/screaming vocals with such frequency is impressive by any standard.
The twin guitar attack of Patrick Judge and Jeremiah Scott also seems to be maturing well, with Judge’s soloing far more expressive and evident here than on ‘True Defiance’. Of course none of the fancy guitar or vocal stuff would make any kind of sense if you didn’t have the ever present rhythm section of Jonathan Dunn (bass) & Yogi Watts (drums) pounding along & keeping things steady at the back.
‘Extremist’ seems to have a good balance of tracks, one or two of them being more radio friendly than the likes of ‘Beyond Me’ and ‘Cross to Bear’ which is probably the heaviest track on offer; but on the whole it’s a strong offering and I would definitely rate it as one of their strongest, possibly since ‘The Triptych’.
With each and every Demon Hunter release there just seems to be something that resonates with me, it could be the thoughtfulness in the lyrics, a catchy hook, or some outstanding guitar playing, What ever it is, Extremist is no exception, and is certainly a record all involved should be proud of.
3.What I’m Not
4.The Last One Alive
5.I Will Fail You
6.One Last Song
7.Cross To Bear
8.Hell Don’t Need Me
12.The Heart Of a Graveyard
Ryan Clark – Vocals
Patrick Judge- Lead Guitar
Jeremiah Scott – Rhythm Guitar
Jonathan Dunn – Bass
Yogi Watts – Drums