The very first time I heard this band was through their video for “Infected” on TVU the Christian rock 24 hour music video channel. I had heard other “screamo” bands before but Demon Hunter was different. Their genre of music is actually called Metalcore which is a hybrid of Metal and Hardcore or Screamo. At first glance Demon Hunter sound like other Metalcore bands with the harsh screaming vocals, thrashing guitars, and heavy pounding drums. But Demon Hunter created has created a mix of melodic choruses with almost ballad like song structure and hardcore guttural scream vocals. Demon Hunter is designated as a Christian Heavy Metal band, but unlike Petra and Stryper of old, some would say this band is scarier. With their symbolic demon skull with bullet hole album covers, to their hardcore metal sound and gutteral screams they have staved off the mainstream metal label. The band was formed by brothers Don and Ryan Clark in Seattle, Washington and release their first album “Demon Hunter” in October of 2002. The current lineup is Ryan Clark on vocals, Don Clark on rhythm guitar, Jon Dunn on bass guitar, Timothy “Yodi” Watts on drums, and Ethan Luck on lead guitar, and backing vocals. Luck is a very busy musician because he is also currently playing drums for the Christian rock band Relient K. Luck was also a member of the ska band The O.C. Supertones.
The newest release from Demon Hunter is their fourth album, and it is called “Storm the Gates of Hell“. The album was released by Solid State Records on November 6th, 2007. This album has the most aggressive, eye bulging, jaw dropping, head banging material to date. You see, I know because I have all of their previous releases. Their sound appeals to the young of age and it is to their culture they write their songs. This album addresses such topics as suicide and cutting, depression, feeling outcast, and feeling alone in your beliefs, and principles. “Storm the Gates of Hell” roars out with the album title as the first track, and storm it does. The song contains almost all screaming vocals with some really aggressive guitars and drums. The second track called “Lead Us Home” jettisons rapid fire drums and a chaotic rhythm guitar churning away in your ears. The churning fades to a palm-muted guitar droning that starts your head a’bangin’. The chorus is the patented DH melodic vocals that ease your ears from the ever present growling. The song is mentioned as Ryan Clark’s favorite in a JesusFreakHideout.com interview that you can read here. “Sixteen” is the third track on the album and it refers to the very next minute after your first 15 minutes of fame and takes aim at the hypocritical Christians involved in the music industry. The chorus begs:
The same cycle ever-turning you is calling
The scene is begging for a grave tonight
It always, it always will
The fourth song called “Fading Away” was the first single and video release from this album. The song is catchy with great riffs, sound, and lyrical hooks. The song is about waiting on the Lord and acting in faith.
Album highlights are “Lead Us Home”, “Fading Away”, “Carry Me Down” is the newest single released for this album and reminds me of the excellent song from the album “Summer of Darkness” called “My Heartstrings Come Undone”, other highlights include “Incision” with it’s diverse song content and head-bangingness (word I just made up) that I had to mention it as well, and “Thorns” which is a song about teen suicide and the culture of cutting oneself in an effort to deal with pain. There is a Savior to be found who can give you strength to deal with the pain of life.
You’ll find it in the veil of night where solitude is born
In the emptiness of broken flesh, at the mercy of the thorns
The final powerful lyric is:
Sister, don’t you sleep through your own eulogy
Don’t sever what you are for what you couldn’t be
This album is as good as “Summer of Darkness” which is my favorite Demon Hunter album. The more I listen to it the more the subtleties of the album are brought to the surface. These guys know how to create a head banging record and they are at the top of their Metalcore game with this new release. I give it four flying V’s out a possible five. I’m an old school rocker so some of the screamo stuff wears on me after awhile.
Please check out the video for the new single “Carry Me Down”.