DEMON HUNTER garnered quite the attention with their debut album and gathered a healthy legion of followers despite their controversial tact of style and lyrical content. Thusly it wasn’t long before their awaited second album came into this world. Even though “Summer Of Darkness” does show growth in the band, overall this sophomore effort makes some unnatural sounds steps in further the band’s sound and suffers from a band dealing with an identity crisis.
“Summer Of Darkness” must firstly be explained as DEMON HUNTER starting to shed their Nu Metal elements and firmly placing their feet into Metalcore territory. This move is somewhat of an obvious path for the band to follow, although the band does suffer more for it. The simplicity of their debut was what made it catchy and memorable in parts, but the band sacrifices a majority of that to increase the complexity of their music to follow suit with the Metalcore ideology. “Summer Of Darkness” comes across as both forced in its writing and rather lackluster at the same time. It’s a feat of impressive girth, which makes this album far weaker than their debut even. It’s not quite as memorable or catchy as the band has been known to be, even though the opener was quite the single for them.
To run along with this new added forced complexity to their writing comes the ever growing burden that this album just runs on for far too long. Songs seem to be far too long for their writing and the album seems to last forever as the listener slowly waits for it to finish. With the rather standardized take of Metalcore that the album strives for, “Summer Of Darkness” just drags on and on and on. Just one more reason this is a misstep for DEMON HUNTER.
So besides the obvious downfalls of “Summer Of Darkness” there are a few good things that have improved for the band. The overall more cohesive and confident vocals from Clark are one of those for example. They aren’t layered to the point of sounding too fake (although they still like to layer his singing to give him more power) and his Hardcore bark has become far stronger. Add to this some impressive guest appearances from some big name vocalists in the Metalcore genre like Howard Jones (KILLSWITCH ENGAGE), Brock Lindow (36 CRAZYFISTS), and a stellar almost Black Metal like hiss from Mike Williams of THE AGONY SCENE on "Beheaded". Also the band does seem to add cohesiveness to their list of talents. Although it does lead to repetitiveness and an overall bland taste for the album its still positive movement.
“Summer Of Darkness” is one of those releases that is respectable for the steps that DEMON HUNTER have taken, but it just falls flat for most of its run time. With exception of the opening song which is a fairly solid track, this album just runs the usual for a Metalcore release and never seems to rise above. This album is definitely the worst from a band with potential.
Songs to check out: “Not Ready To Die”, “My Heartstrings Come Undone”, “I Play Dead”.
(Online July 19, 2010)