DEMON HUNTER is just the type of band that is going to gather a loyal following and a rather large group of haters in the Metal genre. This isn’t an exaggeration. With their debut album, a self titled romp, they were walking a fine line that was going to raise some horns for the mainstreamers and raise some angry comments from the more elitist of the fans. This isn’t hard to see and when this review is done with “Demon Hunter” then it will be easy for you to see that too.
This self titled album was released in 2002 when there was a large transition happening amongst the mainstream genres of Heavy Metal. Nu Metal was on its way out and Metalcore was just getting started. This is quite obvious when listening to this album as its odd combination of the two genres. It contains a lot of details and elements from both genres and combines them in a way that actually quite catchy and fun.
Unfortunately, “Demon Hunter” also comes off as rather mediocre in writing and simplistic compared to even some of the rising stars of the Metalcore genre. The band tends to focus intensely on the down tuned riffs and pushing the duel vocals (Hardcore barking with Nu Metal-esque singing for the choruses and the few ballads). Although this lends the album to be rather catchy and fun in its simplicity and also makes the album a rather less intense listen as everything is front and center with the writing. The use of samples and effects on the instruments and intense layering of the vocals (they obviously didn’t trust that he could neither sing nor growl in the studio) are enough to make most Metalheads right them off initially too. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but something that is controversial in its use for the genre to begin with.
On top of their Nu Metal/Metalcore mix of music, the band is also very devotedly Christian, this, as I said earlier, is going to make very loyal fans of some and bring criticism from others. It does. Even though the band cleverly hides their message in their lyrical content by not being ‘specific’ in their religious take on Heavy Metal, many will write them off or praise them instantly for it when neither should happen that way. In my opinion, the clever take of the wording of the lyrical content is solid and can be taken in many ways whether you be Christian or not. “Infected” can easily be about love lost and found again from a significant other rather than a religious meaning.
“Demon Hunter” is not a great album but it does have some aspiring qualities to it. The simplistic mix of Nu and Metalcore inspires some simplistic fun and heavy songs but none of them are all that intense or impressive for either genre. They do have some catchy gems on the album like the single “Infected” or “Through The Black” and some rather competent ballads too. Its just the overall experience of this debut is rather lackluster and many songs remain unmemorable. It’s great for a few tracks but the album on the whole just doesn’t cut it.
Songs to check out: “Infected”, “Through The Black”, “My Throat Is An Open Grave”.
(Online July 2, 2010)