Some bands have adopted mascots into their album artwork. Iron Maiden has Eddie and Megadeth
has Vic. All eight of Demon Hunter
's album covers exhibit the same basic design of what appears to be a demons head, which were obviously converted from a template of a steer skull image. What an ironic motif for a coherent Christian core band to continually use. Their 2010 release, The World Is a Thorn
, debuted at #39 on The Billboard Top 200 chart. It was probably their most consistent album of hard driving energy, featuring some headbanging thrash styled songs. Then their 2012
release, True Defiance
, reached #36 on The Billboard Top 200. That
album displayed some cutting edge nu metal textures, which rocked out pretty good. This new release, boldly entitled Extremist
, debuted at the #16 spot on The Billboard Top 200. So will Extremist
demonstrate an extremely high level of headbanging?
The album begins with Death, utilizing a hardcore presentation, with a Mideastern style like Melechesh
. "I am death", the lyrics declare that he is death, and then arrogantly dictates what death is not. Ryan Clark is still the lead vocalist, with Patrick Judge
on backup vocals. Alternating an angry grim yelling voice, with top 40 pop styled clean vocals. The cheesy choruses don't always sound very masculine, as though a female voice might be chiming in as a disguised angel. Artificial Light is an energetic song with melodic grinding and pretty chorus parts. Then it occasionally jumps into some faster grinding. The lyrics seem to be about praying, as though people are supposed to already know the solutions to their problems. Two
guitarists are featured, but they usually aren't as noticeable as they could be. When they're not grinding and hitting the power chords, they go with subtle atmospheric guitar wailing, that hides behind the bass and drums. There are more than a few dull ballads with uninspired guitar picking.
exhibits some explosive grinding with discordant hooks and some doomy bass lines. The grim yelling vocals are present and the pretty choruses are absent. The drummer is a seasoned professional and adds some flair to the music. He beats the drums hard, hitting different schemes of melodic patterns. He doesn't play any extravagant rhythms on the cymbals, but he still does make use of them. Beyond
Me features some fast intricate drum flurries. The grim yelling voice is accompanied by heavy bass and guitar riffs. Then it breaks out with the usual clean vocals and choruses, sounding a lot like recycled rhythms from deep within their catalog. The song goes back and forth between heavy and grim, and light and bright. The bass playing adds some punch to the musical rhythms, but it does become much softer during the ballad songs. No credit is given for any synthesizer music in the CD booklet, but it does appear from time to time. The Heart
of a Graveyard
starts slow like a grunge intro. Then it gets heavy and slow with a gothic rock texture. Glittery synthesizer music merges with a heavy choppy glam sound.
So if The World Is a Thorn
took on a thrash personality and True Defiance
displayed some innovative nu metal textures. Then what direction does Extremist
go towards? Evidently Extremist
exhibits the band experimenting with grindcore textures. Unfortunately the songs get too caught up with boring ballads. This album is not very consistent with the headbanging music, despite the presence of two guitarists. With all of the cheesy and cornball drama, there isn't anything too extreme here, and they don't rock out like they used to.