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Monday, April 2, 2012

Demon Hunter - True Defiance review

Year : 2012
Genre : Alternative Metal with Metalcore and Groove elements
Label : Solid State Records
Origin : United States
Rating : 9.0 / 10

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The new Demon Hunter LP arrives with an elegant trick, and that is to consort orthodox metalcore rhetorics with a much more ripe take on alternative metal incorporated into the fabrics than the variant of said element obtainable in the works of the stock-metalcore act. The top-form alternative fascinations of this disc are reeking top-form Stone Sour, and this influence is showing through the deeply melodic choruses. Segments that feature a strong mid-range vocal presence which exhibits only very mild interest in conforming to the OH!, so usual emo variant of the metalcore-chorus. After all, the chorus in emo metalcore "usually is" just a radio friendly example of alternative metal plus suckdom lyrics, share your opinion in the comment section if you think I'm deeply mistaken about this. (Too?) In the meantime though, read on to find out more about this ripped, curvatious sonic delivery.

The character similarities of this album with the Stone Sour alternative metal are so profound in my opinion, that I do not mind reiterating the notion. The "it" factor that makes this music work, always resides in the clever harmonic structure that invites the lead vocal to a happy collision that surely is a sight to see with the ears. Demon Hunter, according to my percepts, shows a pretty freely positioned propensity to submit more to a hefty variant of alternative metal than to the emo-ass crybaby teenager wankery, while, on occasion, they deliver their very own variant on the radio friendly Corey Taylor song, as well : yes, "Tomorrow Never Comes" is a Corey Taylor song at heart. And - LOOK! The next one, "Someone To Hate" starts out like "Mission Statement" from the latest Stone Sour LP. Oh well.

The disc is a pretty consistent and diligently focused contribution, even better/worse : I kind of am able to tolerate the emo hooks sometimes - really just sometimes - it seeks to appeal with. The reason behind this development is a disciplined approach towards super-orthodox emo metalcore traditions, in which the last remaining bit of metalcore's raw charisma is demanded and harvested by the Demon Hunter, no prob'. The song I have just been telling you about, "Someone To Hate", is a superb example of a metalcore track that is very hard to dismiss as uninspired, despite being metalcore to the - sorry about that - core. The chorus of this song is a thesis of metalcore.

After this fucking song, there is no further need to metalcore, in a sense.

On occasion, the emo factor is just a little bit more pronounced than the "ideal" for my personal tastes, - though I find the term "taste" disturbingly egotistical, and me, and myself agree - yet, luckily they most often are assuaged by a muscular groove. The melodic emo chorus hook of "This I Know" is an example of what you can chase me to hell and back with, but I can live happily with the grooving gargantuan rhythm guitars during the verse and the intermission.

With the BONUS! track, "I Am Stone", Demon Hunter not only acknowledges its rampant/recent Stone Sour influence in accordance with the Sigmund Freud ethos, - yeah, I know they have been around well before Stone Sour, which does not prevent this particular release to be a Stone Sour quasi-tribute when scrutinized from the angle of alternative metal - but it also seeks to exploit the timeless charisma of the "Therapy?" song "Diane". Watch out, gimps, I linked the uncensored version of the clip. "I Am Stone" is a shameless clone of the track in question, but I don't at all mind, because this Demon Hunter BONUS! song is a pretty elegant and powerful clone piece. Nicely realized, too. But listen to "Therapy?"'s "Diane" and tell me I'm wrong when I say Demon Hunter stole it with their "I Am Stone" delivery. The deal is straightforward, and realized in intact fashion: a brisk mini-orchestra and almost-top of the heat clean singing. My only caveat is that the singer thinks that he "needs" to micro-overemote in the chorus lines. WHY.

On multiple listens, the album eventually weighs in as a declaration that has capacity to deliver valiantly and legitimately towards quite a few forms of persistent expectations. It is full value-, minimal-emo-antics metalcore, legitimate and melodically elegant alternative metal, hell, even weighty melodic rock, - the track called "Dead Flowers" - while the little nuances here and there are doing a good job at flattering some rawmeat groove-, and some vile thrash methodologies.

I like this release greatly, because it is an easy AND serious recommendation for all aficionados of the mentioned subgenres of metal, and it is safe to say that even your mother and your evil neighbor will find at least something - if not ALL - to like steadily herein. You'd need to be a supremely bitter and deaf person to dismiss this as anything less than full value novelty music. Recommended.

!!EXTRA!! Which song of this album features a solo very similar to that of Metallica's One? !!EXTRA!!

First person not being able to answer the question gets a One ring tone. Excited?

Rating : 9.0 / 10

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  1. This I Know does XD As well as We don't care has a little bit of that influence seemingly.

  2. Nice "ONE"!!1 blllleeeeeeeegggghhh

  3. Actually... "I Am a Stone" has almost the exact same notes/progression as the bridge section to Coldplay's song "Fix You"... the only major differences being the key and the time in which the notes are held. Then again, the reason that I'm a fan of the lyrics in the song and not the music is because it has "that" sound... the sound that EVERYONE has these days... those simple 3 or 4 note progressions that can be heard in countless pop songs across the globe. I would have hoped that Demon Hunter would have said "hey you know what... the lyrics are good, but this music is way too generic, let's write something big for this"... but they didn't. I still love the band though, they are one of hard rock's finest. I just hope that in the future they stay away from "catchphrase" music, so that they don't fall into the same pit that other genres have been stuck in for years.... how many blues bands use the same music and blues scales... and just add different lyrics? Think about it...

  4. Nice pointer for the Coldplay song similarity, thank you for adding it. I feel you and am with you on the standardized radio friendly sound-, and production ethos issue, too.

    "Sometimes" it's totally enough to hear some seconds or even a rhyme-line from/in a track to know it is for the RV family radio market. As far as Blues, the idea behind Blues IS to be stuck IN IT, isn't it? :D

    Thank you for your nice comment, and, if you want to hear music that deliberately fails to give a shit towards all while sounding superb and relevant, technical death metal might work for you. Blotted Science's The Animation of Entomology is my recommendation.

    n1 nickname!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. and I'm assuming the "One-like" solo is from the song "We Don't Care" haha. I actually have some of Blotted's stuff saved in my youtube account... I found them while randomly surfing around one night (as I usually do). They kind of remind me of a less "corporate" sounding Dream Theater mixed with newer Extol. I actually love all kinds of metal and other forms of music as long as it's decent. One thing for me that is make or break are the vocals. There are tons of great musicians out there and I can't stand to listen to their singers, lol... Lamb of God is one example... as is Dimmu... the whole "insect" thing isn't my cup of tea... I also don't worship the goat lord, so... you know, ; ). Which is one of the reasons I do love both Demon Hunter and Soilwork, very powerful heavy vocals, but with clarity and musical value. If I just want to hear balls out death then I usually put on some Corpse... \m/

  7. @chris jessee : Good comment, Sir! Funny and pretty timeless that you subconsciously "diss" insects in the comment, as the Blotted Science EP is a sonic interpretation of the dynamics of an insect-habitat, as far as I know.

    I see what your point is regarding vocals. If heavy vocals are concerned, I totally love the pissed off biocyborg style of Jens Kidman, and the Lamb of God lead singer paints a yawn on my face the harder he tries to convince me of the immensity of his Phil Anselmo fanboyism. (I'm an Anselmo fanboy myself, so what is the point anyway.)

    If you like cleans, give a chance to Anubis Gate's self titled album. It's a Danish squad with a superb-, ripe spiritual calibration and their singer/former bassist Frank Hevre > James LaBrie anytime anywhere. I know I know, it is not an mma fight, but catatonic nervous breakdown and Dream Theater's James LaBrie are synonyms in my mind. Only James Labrie's sigingin is more horrifying.

  8. I'll definitely have to check out Anubis Gate... never heard of them before. Jens used to be one of my favorite singers up until the "Nothing" album was released... seems like he lost that "raw" and "raspy" tone that he had on their earlier albums... Contradictions Collapse being one of my all-time thrash favorites, ; ). His vocals now remind me of teenagers desperately trying to do the whole "in-hale" growl on youtube, lol. Then again, Hetfield isn't the only singer to blow out his vocal chords, so maybe Jens lost his power at some point and has to stick to close mic falsettos. I'm a fan of Anselmo as well... and agree with the comparison. Well cool... I'll definitely check out that band!

  9. I did not yet check out those earlier Meshuggah records, but I'm very curious of them. To tell all comment readers and you something I do not at all mind confessing, I personally love everything Kidman is doing on the Koloss album, but I'm a Meshuggah nuthugger.

    I don't know much about recent day Metallica and I like it that way, because I'm all good without spazzes at mouth corners. Metallica. WOW. Their music is so "known" to me to its core that listening to it is about as exciting as caressing myself. There is only one sentence that reads more embarrassing to me than saying "I'm a Metallica fan", and that is to say "I'm a live fantasy fan". Nah, coming to think of it, saying "I'm a Metallica fan" is more embarrassing.

    I'm a better drummer than Lars Ulbrecht is, anyway.

    1. I can respect that, everyone has likes and dislikes... and apparently a lot of people love Jens new vocal style since they have gotten more popular than they've been over the past 20 years... so people are seriously starting to take notice, I'm just not as much a fan of the whole "djent" thing, as much as I'm a fan of "off-time" thrash, ; ). Metallica, haha... I have to give them at least some credit, without them a lot of the bands we love would never have formed, but I haven't THOROUGHLY enjoyed a Metallica album since In Justice... and while I can give them some props for *trying with their latest album, I just think they've run out of juice and the production on that album was truly pathetic in every way... IMO Rubin's team needs to go back to production school... because the album ended up sounding like somebody took a healthy dump on a box of once tasty leftover pizza... it could have have good, but it was too old and sounded like crap, ; ).

    2. One of my favorite old Meshuggah songs... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WadSeYkMvxA&feature=related

    3. Ooops, looks like it has become kind of a lengthy reply, a "- - - - -" marks the respective segments of it.

      - - - - - (see????)

      Regarding the djent thing, I have a suspicion what you are unhappy with. Isn't it the quasi-folkish clean singing that topples the rumbling guitars?
      For example, I find myself interested in Periphery's / Ceterum's instrumental content, yet the style of singing they bring to the table - these folkish high "looooook what you've donetomeeeeeee I have no baaaaa-aaa-aaaaals" whines - exhibits its limitations very swiftly, in my opinion. After 3 minutes, I suffer legendarily when listening to this singing strategy, while I smile-, even laugh out loudly while spilling a tear in joy when I hear Kidman delivering a hilarious/hysteric cybernetic rant of relentless pandorum-psychosis. After THIS, you want to impress me with your folk singing? Oh my fucking G. What is up with these ball-lacking emotional whiny folk singing in


      This singing ethos makes the legit drum/guitar/bass work look bad, in my opinion. It sounds like it does not even matter what melodic phrases these lead singers are singing as long as it is high as Mt Everest and the notes are long like a tour in hell for a pedophile pope is. Like I said, I still find the instrumental component of these bands - Perhipehry, Ceterum, whatnot - acceptable, even great at times, - but the Ultimate Shape of Music they make - which should be labeled as "TEENPOP DJENT" - is indeed sounds like Meshuggah for teenagers to me, courtesy of the frankly, whiny folk and/or pop singing. The institute of the "powerless sigh" - as in : "yoouuuuuuuuuaaah...." at the ends a la James LabRie are particularly disturbing, and is rampant in teenpop djent. I totally am OK of course if someone loves these horrid affectations, but I think that the strategy behind the implementation of this style of singing is to make the heavy music more "family friendly" and "accessible" to gain grandma's approval, which should not be the fucking point at all at the first place. Imagine how "much" the Meshuggah dudes were concerning themselves with this. That would be the epitome of Sub-Zero.

      In my world, there is a variant for "djent" which is "just" djent and not "teenager pop djent", - like the teenpop djent of premiere teenpop djent band Periphery - and that is the original form of (just) djent that the Meshuggah members have created. Tomas Haake tells pretty much all about it, when he speaks about what the guitar is for him, though he does not play it. For him, the guitar pretty much is a percussive instrument, and indeed this is what the soul of the original djent sounds to rely on, in my opinion.

      Meshuggah = djent.
      majority of the djent bands = teenpop djent.

      So, you are not unhappy with djent, chris jessee, you are unhappy with teenpop djent, and I too, share your sentiments on the matter.

      - - - - -

      <- comment continues ->

    4. I should have been more politically correct regarding Metallica, indeed. The significance of their earlier output is not something a pricklord can dismiss and keep a reputation. I, too, know the early Metallica songs by heart.

      - - - - -

      Interesting thoughts about music production. Very few people produce music with the intention to make it sound like crap, and I think this is a very organic and interesting subject matter. Here is what I mean : to me, the intent, the transmission itself is primary, and only THEN I'm interested in the quality of the production. Grandiosely realized terrible music is a possibility. If I'd want to come up with examples of superb music that has pretty modest production values, the early Edge of Sanity albums come to mind, or even Death's Human, a record of historic musical significance. That particular album never had the intention to blow the then-current production standards away, it were "just" the intents of the music that did, because they were crystal clear, nevertheless, and so they remain. If you listen to the original 1991 version, it sounds super-organic and reigns free of the the desire to flatter the bombastic production ethos like, say, the new Lamb of God seeks to achieve.

      Everyone has a highly valid and competent opinion of the production, and fewer have the propensity to go for the meaning of the music, and you can't (always) blame them, except when you can. Like - I read a review of Meshuggah's Koloss some days ago, and a commenter dudette states that the snare drums sound soooooooooo terrible on the album that it is just ridiculous. Wow. What an idiotic thing to say. Still, I believe that his delusion is honest and the snare drums on Koloss sound terrible to HIM.
      What a sad thing. Isn't it mysteriously staggering that five of the most relevant contemporary musicians and a top of the heat local producer failed to pick up on the Evidently Shitty Sounding Snaredrums which is - luckily! - soooooo obvious to this man? And what can you do about it? Laugh, of course.

      I thought you are a little bit too rigorous with your opinion regarding the production values of the Death Magnetic Metallica album. As I recall, the album had/has genuine and ballsy intent for a change, - kind of the legit howl of an old werewolf - and contained the image of a Metallica worth taking serious. THEN comes Lou Reed armed with my 2342342342342nd nervous breakdown.

      < - comment concludes - >

      You > Awesome, by the way.

    5. I agree with you completely, on many levels, on many different matters that you discussed. Then again, I also tend to be a bit vague with my writing/rantings at times, so I end up giving impressions that I don't always mean to, ; ). I'm still laughing about the comment that was made about the snare drum sound on Koloss, haha, and you're right... everyone has the right to "personally" feel a certain way about something... but as you hinted... if you are the ONLY one that feels that way... it could be an indicator of a more serious issue, ; ) (in the same vein as a person who thinks they are the greatest singer on Earth, when they can't hold a single note in any sort of recognizable key). I also feel the same way about many forms of music, that you spoke of in regards to the vocal stylings of many "Djent" bands. I've always thought it would be amazing to have instrumental versions of Corpse albums (among many bands), so that I could listen to the amazing musicianship minus the sometimes irritating vocal work.... at least as an option since I sometimes DO want to hear the vocals.. depends on my mood I suppose. The Death Magnetic production issue for me wasn't so much the desire to change their sound (and fall back to an older sound), as much as it was the engineer's desire to take a stand in the "loudness war". The final mix was way too loud, to the point where pretty much every track was distorted and a bit painful to listen to if you like clarity. Ride the Lightening, for instance, had a great sound... wasn't over produced, was very clear, and while it may be missing the "bells and whistles" of modern recording techniques, really stands the test of time (for me). Magnetic's sound quality was so bad (to so many) that there is actually a "Guitar Hero 3" version floating around that includes "re-recorded" instrument tracks for the game that sounded better than the album version. I really enjoyed the music, the quality just digs at me a bit.. and wow.. the Lou Reed debacle was atrocious, haha.


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