Music Review: DEMON HUNTER – Live In Nashville

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music-review_-demon-hunter-live-in-nashvilleDEMON HUNTER
Live In Nashville
Solid State Records
2009

After four studio albums, Demon Hunter went on a headlining tour with the likes of Living Sacrifice, and recorded the show stop in Nashville for both a live DVD and CD. Since, I’m told, the show on the DVD is identical to the CD, I of course decided to get the CD download from Amazon. I like to let my head imagine what the show was like, and all. And yes, I realize there’s a documentary DVD included in the 45 Days release, but maybe later. Right now, it’s about the METAL.

One question I’ve always had about Demon Hunter was, how well could they pull off their songs in a live setting? Particularly, the vocals, as you know are rather intricately layered between the harsh and the clean singing. After listening to this, the answer would be, pretty good. Ryan Clark seems to know his limitations in the live setting, but comes close to replicating things.

As a live album, Live In Nashville manages to captures the energy of the show, both from the band and the audience going ballistic. After an introductory bit featuring a clip from the movie 300, the band rips right into “Storm The Gates Of Hell”, kicking things off rather well. From there, they play some choice cuts from Demon Hunter (“Infected”), Summer Of Darkness (“My Heartstrings Come Undone”, “Not Ready To Die”), The Triptych (“Ribcage”, “The Soldier’s Song”, “Undying”, “The Flame That Guides Us Home/Not I”), and of course Storm The Gates Of Hell (“Lead Us Home”, “I Am You”, “Carry Me Down”, “Fading Away”, “Sixteen”). Of course, they would lean heavier on the cuts from Storm The Gates Of Hell, as they were touring in support of it at the time.

The sound quality is great, you really get a feel of what the band is like in a live setting, and the crowd participation with singing along at certain points along with the banter is what having a live album is all about. Overall, I’ve never had the chance to see Demon Hunter live (as of yet); listening to Live In Nashville is at least a great substitute for that bit of oversight. Recommended.

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Music Review: DEMON HUNTER – Extremist

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music-review_-demon-hunter-extremistDEMON HUNTER
Extremist
Solid State Records
2014

Extremist is Demon Hunter’s most melodic and–dare I even say it–commercial sounding release since The World Is A Thorn. I don’t mean that as a slam, either. Because, even though it does lack a significant portion of that ferocious heavy METAL I prefer, I still find myself popping this one on more often than not. I don’t know why, really. Because, while I can take or leave The World Is A Thorn, Extremist is pretty much in the same vein, but I listen to it much more often than I should.

It could very well be that, when this came out, it was at a very dark and turbulent time of my life, and the video pre-release they put on YouTube for “I Will Fail You” struck such a nerve that I imprinted on it, maybe? I’m reaching, I know.

Getting on with the music, the album starts off very strong with the song “Death”, which is a plodding, heavy-as-stink death metal bit that lulls the listener into a false sense of security before the more commercial sounding “Artificial Light” follows. Really, the jarring shift can give you whiplash. The next four after that one follow along with in the hard modern rock vein with “What I’m Not”, “The Last One Alive”, the aforementioned “I Will Fail You” and “One Last Song”, before getting a bit more of their old selves on “Cross To Bear”. “Hell Don’t Need Me” goes back to the heavy, melodic style, while “In Time” gets heavier, with a good opening riff and guitar solo. “Gasoline” is a curious one, as it’s technically a ballad, all melancholy and such, but then the chorus itself kicks into a mosh riff. It makes me want to not like it, but then hits with an awesome bit that…I’m torn. Really. Good job, guys. The album closer, “The Heart Of A Graveyard”, is probably their most commercial radio-friendly on the collection, with a straight-forward guitar riff and melodic structure. Decent song, yes, but doesn’t seem to fit in the band’s playlist.

Overall, while the music on Extremist once again leans more towards the melodic commercial side of the metals, I have to admit that this is the kind of modern melodic metal that I rather dig. Again, I don’t know why, as I’m a dyed-in-the-steel fan of the blast your face off style of death metal that Demon Hunter does so very well. If, however, there must be melodic commercial sounding metal to be had, at least this is done right. Not exactly heavy entirely, but pretty good. Recommended.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – January 7, 2017

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JANUARY 7, 2017

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Music Review: DEMON HUNTER – True Defiance

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music-review_-demon-hunter-true-defianceDEMON HUNTER
True Defiance
Solid State Records
2012

As it turns out, I actually heard True Defiance before having listened to the previous release, The World Is A Thorn. Which, as it turns out, was fortuitous, as I have a feeling if I did, I wouldn’t have been so quick to listen to anything they put out afterwards. As it stands, since True Defiance was the follow-up to The World Is A Thorn, it proves that Demon Hunter still has the heavy inside them. Or, maybe it’s a case of finding that balance between the heavy and the melodic, without sounding like they’re pandering.

The album opens up with the face-smasher “Crucifix”, then segues into the mid-paced yet heavy “God Forsaken”, which has a rather good metal riff at the end. For the most part, Demon Hunter really hits them out of the park, with cuts “My Destiny”, “Wake”, “Someone To Hate” and “This I Know”, mixing the abrasive heavy with the darker melodic tones. “Means To An End” is an acoustic instrumental that keeps the whole melancholy vibe; “We Don’t Care” leans more towards nu metal and metalcore, but has a fantastic guitar solo in there. The album closer, “Dead Flowers”, is a ballad. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Overall, as a follow-up to The World Is A Thorn, True Defiance seems to be a step in the right direction with the further evolution of Demon Hunter’s sound. It’s a fairly solid and heavy release, with a couple of ballads spaced in pretty evenly, but mostly keeping to the heavier side of things. Really, they seem to be going more for a HIM kind of vibe the further they progress. Good album, when all is said and done.

Music Review: DEMON HUNTER – The World Is A Thorn

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music-review_-demon-hunter-the-world-is-a-thornDEMON HUNTER
The World Is A Thorn
Solid State Records
2010

Back in 2010, when buzz was building about the new Demon Hunter album that was to be released, the words “Heaviest one yet!” and “Most melodic to date!” were pretty much interchangeable, depending on which periodical or blog site you were seeing this at. Also bandied about was that The World Is A Thorn was set to be the bestest release for the band evah! Like, for realsies, and stuff.

Please don’t mistake my sarcasm for hatred or bile. It’s due to mild disappointment, really. Because, while Demon Hunter have traversed down that road before, here the melodic elements seem to be more of the focus. Because, while the songs on The World Is A Thorn do get heavy, it’s more of the kind that you would find on most modern metal radio formats. That’s neither good nor bad, just…different than what was expected with Demon Hunter.

The opening cut, “Descending Upon Us”, has a majestic sounding opening, then settles into a heavy and solid cut with a melodic chorus. Then next cut, “LifeWar” is a simple, straight-ahead plod-along that does get a bit monotonous. Not bad, but a bit more Nu Metal than expected. “Collapsing” start off with an electronic keyboard riff, then veers once again into Modern Heavy Rock/Nu Metal territory. It’s catchy and melodic, yes; like I said earlier, it sounds like something that can be heard on the radio, easily. This same kind of pattern can be heard on cuts like “This Is The Line”, “Shallow Water” and “Feel As Though You Could”, while there are a couple of ballads with “Diving Nails” and the album closer “Blood In The Tears”.

Before you think that there’s really nothing remarkable about The World Is A Thorn, there are three standout gems in this: the title track, which is thrash metal in execution, which makes me wonder why they didn’t just stay with that. It’s awesome. “Tie This Around Your Neck” is nice and heavy, and “Just Breathe” is another example of the band utilizing electronics, but here it’s lending a darker hue to something already heavy and anthemic.

Overall, with only three cuts that I found to be worth repeating, buried in a bunch of more formulaic fare (I shuddered writing that), I’m going to have to say that The World Is A Thorn was more than a bit disappointing. It’s far from terrible; it’s just something of a departure of what I dig about Demon Hunter.

Uncle NecRo’s TOP 100 CHRISTIAN ALBUMS FROM THE 1990s, Part 3: 60-41

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Part Three of this list of Top 100 Christian Albums Released In The 90s. Continuing on, then:

deliverance-river-disturbance60 – River Disturbance (Deliverance)
…in an interview with Deliverance main man Jimmy P. Brown on a podcast, he mentioned that, after he recorded this particular album, producer/artist extraordinaire Terry Taylor told him he just recorded his Rubber Soul. Sure, why not.

saviour-machine-saviour-machine-ii59 – Saviour Machine II (Saviour Machine)
…basically a continuation of the first album, only more orchestral and grander in scope. Eric Clayton sounding as pretentious as ever.

bride-scarecrow-messiah58 – Scarecrow Messiah (Bride)
…I remember this being some great hard rock. Others remember this as the album where Dale Thompson cut his hair. Good grief, people.

disciple-this-might-sting-a-little57 – This Might Sting A Little (Disciple)
…before they transformed into another modern rock band indistinguishable from the others, Disciple played hard and heavy southern fried rock and metal, and this one here was the best of the bunch.

dead-artist-syndrome-prints-of-darkness56 – Prints Of Darkness (Dead Artist Syndrome)
…my favorite of all the DAS releases, as it’s also the darkest one going. Helped me through some really dark times. On my Existential Meltdown playlist.

detritus-if-but-for-one55 – If But For One (Detritus)
…second and last release by the U. K. heavy metal group. Even in the early 1990s, you had to import the good stuff.

mortification-1995-primitive-rhythm-machine54 – Primitive Rythm Machine (Mortification)
…essentially “Steve Rowe & Friends”, this one was tuned to a brighter Standard E, but still retained the heavy.

saviour-machine-saviour-machine53 – Saviour Machine (Saviour Machine)
…not the first Gothic rock album in the Christian market, but definitely the first time I was amused by the CCM industry lose their collective do-do over this oddball group. The album is pretty good, too.

ethereal-scourge-judgement-and-restoration52 – Judgment & Restoration (Ethereal Scourge)
…this could very well be the first death metal praise & worship album I’ve come across. Pity there was only this one full-length release.

deliverance-camelot-in-smithereens51 – Camelot-In-Smithereens (Deliverance)
…bit more metal than the previous release, a lot more somber, and the last Deliverance album we got until the new Millennium.

minier50 – Minier (Greg Minier)
…great crossover thrash from the guitarist for The Crucified.

detritus-perpetual-defiance49 – Perpetual Defiance (Detritus)
…a woefully underrated thrashy metal album from the U. K. Also, the production doesn’t do this justice.

circle-of-dust-circle-of-dust48 – Circle Of Dust (Circle Of Dust)
…the first release by the second industrial band I discovered. This was remixed and re-released in 1995. Either way, it was groundbreaking for its time.

mortification-1994-blood-world47 – Blood World (Mortification)
…even when toning down the death metal influence and adopting more of a groove and less growled vocals, this was still heavier than anything else that was being released then.

strongarm-atonement46 – Atonement (Strongarm)
…really good hardcore album.

zao-where-blood-and-fire-bring-rest45 – Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest (Zao)
…at a time when actual good metal was sparse, we had to make due with the metalcore that was beginning to come out. This was one of the least painful.

deracination-times-of-atrocity44 – Times Of Atrocity (Deracination)
…why these guys didn’t get as big as fellow Aussies Mortification is beyond me. The “Atrocity” referenced in the title has to be the really low production, otherwise this would have been a rafters-shaking classic death metal release.

metanoia-in-darkness-or-in-light43 – In Darkness Or In Light (Metanoia)
…some some really good death metal from the Land of Down Under that isn’t named Mortification.

zao-liberate-te-ex-inferis42 – Liberate Te Ex Inferis (Zao)
…one of the more tolerable of the early metalcore releases in my collection. Also, Event Horizon reference.

strongarm-the-advent-of-a-miracle41 – Advent Of A Miracle (Strongarm)
…pretty decent hardcore album. Again, it’s what we had to subside on until the bookstores and record shops started carrying metal again.

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NECRO SHOCK RADIO – Session 3.15

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It’s time once again for some more of the patent-pending Brutal Music Therapy you all crave (I know you do, don’t try and deny it)! This time featuring cuts from:


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