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April 20, 2024

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Demon Hunter
Demon Hunter (Solid State Records)

By: Vinnie Apicella

Demon Hunter, as the name suggests, seeks and finds solace in spirituality while musically exorcising the beast within. The cover booklet is cleverly designed in "testament" like layout and table of contents as if for a not so subtle reminder that we are onto a new "contractual" obligation with a higher power that's stepping in to finally deliver us from the evils of industry baseness-- they might've suspected but could they really have known? Much like many on the SS roster, Demon Hunter's not an easy listen at first. They become refreshingly listenable without irritating repetition and blindsiding song constructs that have worn the beaten path into our pan-fried brains for far too long now with regard to anything termed "new". Demon Hunter's debut record's received an early share of positive press and began a ripple effect with listeners ready to embrace a new breed of Metal practitioners capable of balancing old and new without breaking tradition. "Screams Of The Undead," "I Have Seen Where It Grows," and "Infected" are early indications of modern aggression with technical fortitude, where menacing chops plod step for step with low E primacy and Grind-Core, Death screams, and "Nu" run roughshod over stimulating monologues of a soul seeking refuge. Demon Hunter's mastered the art of bridging the once great breed of bands from back when Fear Factory, Deftones, and Machine Head reigned over a purposeful revolution that gave rise to another level of power and drama before snuffing itself in a sea of sellout. Some will point to today's standard Slipknot, some could pull something like Soulfly or Sepultura from here, and Demon Hunter's an offshoot of either or all, without question. Regardless, listeners will realize a quick jump in playability happening, where blastbeats rise and fall with chronologic imprecision; harmonic fills and pedal effects invade dense riffs; vocals rage and roar before an intrusive chorus beckons a gentler discourse; Such are utilized to full impact, and with many structural components based on some of SS's own domestic specialists like Living Sacrifice's or Zao's style of aggressive intrigue and pitchshifting attributes. "My Throat Is An Open Grave" is a disquieting step beyond the power ballad path amidst a hollow ringing of bow strings and mournful vocals; "Through The Black" and "Turn Your Back And Run" up the potency factor while following a tortured soul at the crossroads; "The Gauntlet" makes a powerful statement in dead silence by comparison at the end, where again lies the "Open Grave" characterization of earlier and the acceptance of a decided fate as the hour draws near. Deeper, darker, and with greater depth than many, Demon Hunter yields a new dynamic to the stodgy rip-offs currently marketed as Metal.
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