Sound — 8
Demon Hunter seems to be more and more productive every year in their career. Even though it's been only a year after the third full-length The Triptych, they are in the spotlight again with a new album -- Storm The Gates Of Hell. This is the album of contrasts -- it is harder and more melodic than the band's previous releases. The rhythm-section does a really good job here. The songs are so drums-driven, it gives a totally different feeling. The guys try to vary the songs with different sounds and instruments -- like there are some strings in the beginning of galloping Sixteen and bells in Incision. This variation usually takes a small part of the song and doesn't differ it dramatically. Like in all metal records, here are a few very fast guitar solos -- for example in Fiction Kingdom. They are not something original though. Most of the album is very dynamic, but there is also a place for mid-tempo tracks. Thorn slows things down a bit, keeping the emotions at the high level and Carry Me Down is a powerful ballad reminiscent to the band's previous works. As I've mentioned above, there are two sides of the CD -- melodic and metal heavy. The band is definitely very good when it comes to aggressive vibes, tons of bass and pounding drums, but unfortunately the softer part is not the same. The CD suffers from boring and predictable melodies. Incision is probably the best song when it comes to interesting tunes. The chorus is delicate (due to it's beautiful melody) and heavy (thanx to powerful bass guitar and drums) at the same time.
Lyrics — 7
Demon Hunter has always been known for expressing their faith though their songs. This album is no exception -- Ryan Clark sings about things that bother him and that he's dealing with in his every-day life. His subjects are whores, heartache, freedom. All of that of course through the prism of Christian religion. Apart from just complaining on a shitty world we're living in, Demon Hunter also call for riot with words Wake the lifeless, die to fight this, stand beside me, Storm the gates of Hell in the title song. There's enough emotions and anger in Ryan Clark's voice when it comes to deeper tones and pure core, but when it comes to singing and higher parts, I wish for somebody with more powerful voice. Clark quite often produces a pitiful crooning which doesn't fit the intense of the music.
Overall Impression — 8
Even though the tracks are not long in general -- from 3 to 5 minutes, some of them seem to last too long. Which is quite surprising as the guys got help from such dark lords of metal as producer Aaron Sprinkle (The Almost, Emery) and Machine (Lamb Of God, White Zombie). There are little things about this band that differ it from the majority of other metal acts. Something that is not evident from the first listen, but makes the record much more enjoyable. Like the fact that you don't need to look inside the CD booklet to find out what that screamo part was about -- Clark is singing everything really clear without mumbling. And it seems like it all pays back -- AOL Music named the band one of ten "Artists to Watch!"