Extremist review by Demon Hunter

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  • Released: Mar 18, 2014
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 7.2 (22 votes)
Demon Hunter: Extremist

Sound — 8
While the Seattle-based Christian Metal band Demon Hunter had essentially been influenced by Christianity (as many metal bands are) from their inception 14 years ago, they weren't brazen about it until a few albums in, and are now one of the brand names in the Christian Metal genre. With six albums under their belt, their last album, "True Defiance," accomplished two things: being the heaviest album they've ever made, and being the most dominantly Christian-themed album they've ever made - which properly displayed that the band was in no way "past their prime," and that their later albums would be just as worth it as their earlier ones.

With their new album, "Extremist," they've dialed down both the heaviness and the Christian overtones in comparison to its predecessor, but they prove that you don't need to keep raising the bar of energy in order to make a substantial album, and instead of trying to outdo the heaviness found in "True Defiance," they instead focus on covering all areas on the metal spectrum. Songs like "Artificial Light," "One Last Song," "What I'm Not," "In Time" and "Beyond Me" bring a balance of strong chugging riffs and harsh vocals in the verses and slower, melodic riffs and clean vocals in the choruses. Songs like "The Last One Alive," "I Will Fail You," "Hell Don't Need Me" and "The Heart of a Graveyard" are low-gear metal songs, with clean guitars, no harsh vocals and easy drum-lines, and do a good job bringing a forlorn element to the album - though "Hell Don't Need Me" sounds more tired than emotive, and comes off as the weak link of the album. "Cross to Bear" is a top-gear metalcore song with fleeting instruments and no clean vocals at all. "Death" also tries to be another metal song on the heavier side of the spectrum, but comes off as bland. And while the verses in "Gasoline" come off slow and clean, the choruses drop into high-energy metal with a meaty guitar riff, and also provide one of the only breakdowns on the album. Though "True Defiance" had arguably the best guitar-work in all of Demon Hunter's discography, you'll still find some awesome guitar solos in "Artificial Light," "The Last One Alive," "I Will Fail You," "In Time" and "Beyond Me."

Lyrics — 6
As stated before, the Christian overtones in "Extremist" aren't as extreme (ironic, huh) as they were in Demon Hunter's previous album, "True Defiance," but it's not hard to find Christian themes in several of the songs, like "The Last One Alive," "I Will Fail You," "Cross to Bear," "Hell Don't Need Me" and "Beyond Me." Though the lyrical content isn't highly diverse, the lyrics are fairly solid. "The Heart of a Graveyard," "Beyond Me," "I Will Fail You" and "The Last One Alive" have significant and catchy choruses, while angry lines like "Sing to me your plight unjust/define it for the rest of us/no river of your tears, no sympathy will find you here" in "Cross to Bear," and "you sell a fix for our defect/and all we find, artificial light" in "Artificial Light" stand out remarkably in the album. But just like in the sound aspect, the lyrics in "Death" and "Hell Don't Need Me" are weak and underwhelming points in the album.

Overall Impression — 7
"Extremist" is another strong album by Demon Hunter, and it's a good display of how the band isn't "phoning it in" even at the seventh release. Though the album in total runs kind of long (50 minutes) and a couple of songs feel disposable, it flows pretty steady and is certainly worth checking out as a whole. The best characteristic of it is the range of metal versatility: it shows that Demon Hunter can go from metal ballads to mosh-worthy thrash metal to radio-friendly & accessible metal and keep you interested. And the fact that they decided to be switching gears throughout the album - rather than going the "balls-to-the-wall energy" route like in "True Defiance" - makes this more distinguishable in the discography, which isn't easy to do for the seventh album.

25 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Besides he fact that they have their own sound, the lyrics are what really make this band stand out for me. It doesn't feel like Ryan Clark just randomly throws words together that rhyme. Every song has a specific feel to it, not from just the music but from the lyrics as well, which is rare in today's metal scene. (They also sound great live)
    I would hardly call the guitar work in "True Defiance" their best...That album was as bland as it gets, every solo was flooded with so much wah you'd think they'd hired Kirk Hammett to play leads for them. "The World is a Thorn" had the best overall guitar work. Haven't yet listened to "Extremist" outside the songs they previewed leading up to release. Looking forward to finally getting to hear how it turned out.
    Majin Gaara
    What about the GOOD songs on True Defiance: God Forsaken, Resistance, Wake, We Dont Care, & Means To An End? World Is A Thorn just didn't have that many memorable songs that stick out. They had some strong points on that record, but True Defiance seems like a step above in terms of Demon Hunter's Next sound. Extremist, however has taken them two steps ahead with their songwriting
    If you think True Defiance is the heaviest album they've ever made, you obviously haven't heard Summer Of Darkness. I haven't listened to all of Extremist yet, but what I've heard, I've liked. DH has been a favorite of mine since JR High, its nice to see them still making great music.
    I think that the heavy songs in Extremist are heavier than the heavy songs on SoD, because you just gotta hear Cross to Bear and Death thats why.
    Such a good band. Now, if The Showdown would get back together...
    God The Showdown is so amazing. Had the pleasure of seeing them a few times, easily one of the best metal bands out there.
    plis.thathrove · Mar 31, 2014 12:10 PM
    Dang...I remember buying their 1st album when it came out, and it was "ok"...didn't get into them when they went more "9-inch nails-ish" later on. But after not hearing anything from them in like 10 years...this is very good. They got a lot better.
    I have loved every Demon Hunter album. This is no exception. It definitely is not their strongest release. I would say either Storm the Gates of Hell or Summer of Darkness are the best of the bunch but a midst all of the other shitty music coming out these days Demon Hunter are a breath of fresh air.
    I have yet to find myself at a live show with Demon Hunter, but I personally think, and I honestly can't see how no one else sees it this way, that this album has an emphasis on certain metal points, but because of it, they created a sound that looks like it's going farther from metal and more to that terrible modern rock garbage that requires no skill. By this I mean: "The Heart of a Graveyard". "Hell Don't Need Me", "I Will Fail You", "The Last One Alive", and even "Gasoline" all have little or no melodic screaming unlike Demon Hunter's older albums. Those which did resemble metal had less technicality than I expected... Although I think they nailed the song well. By the points emphasized, I mean... I think I've never heard this many awesomely amazing solos in one album. Most of the songs on the album had a very delicious solo. The Last One Alive probs being my favorite. ... Also, I just realized I hadn't read the review yet, so I hope I didn't just repeat anything...
    This is personally my favorite album by them. The heavy songs are brutal and the soft songs are beautiful and the inbetween songs (What I'm Not, One Last Song) get me pumped the **** up and it's also the most breakdowns on any Demon Hunter album, which i loooove.
    Actually not too bad. I don't really like this sound normally, but this is very decent.
    I am a huge Demon Hunter fan, love every album, including this one. I realize most people probably won't share this opinion with me, but this MAY be my favorite DH album yet. But then, Demon Hunter has always been one of those bands for me where I could never really attempt doing a "Top Five" sort of deal. I mean, it's usually hard picking my favorites from an artist, but most I could probably sit down and formulate some sort of list if I thought a bit (THOUGH, I don't waste my time doing that!). However, with DH, every single album has something different, sound completely different, and it really kinda just depends on what I want to listen to at the moment. Anyway, awesome release! My least favorite tracks are probably Hell Don't Need Me (Still pretty sweet for being my least favorite, doesn't build-up much though musically) and Gasoline.
    'Death' 2/5 'Artificial Light' 5/5 'What I'm Not' 4/5 'The Last One Alive' 5/5 'I Will Fail You' 4/5 'One Last Song' 5/5 'Cross to Bear' 2/5 'Hell Don't Need Me' 2/5 'In Time' 3/5 'Beyond Me' 2/5 'Gasoline' 3/5 'The Heart of a Graveyard' 4/5 Total average 3,4/5 (6,8/10)
    Ack, Christian rubbish.
    so many good metal bands are christians, some you probably listen to. i don't know that many christians would write off non-christian bands just cause they weren't christian, don't know why an atheist would write off a christian band just cause they're christian...