DEMON HUNTER - War
War In Every Breath – Where Is The Enemy?
War is to peace as black is to white. That seems to be the theme this time around as this veteran metal outfit has managed to defy the criticism (yet again) with their double CD release of War and Peace (simultaneously, thankfully). Over the span of the past two decades they’ve done just about everything else – so wasn’t it about time? Where 2017’s Outlive was just a bit too close to contemporary metal for most fans, this album is absolutely rooted in the DH genesis story – those amazing tunes from the first few releases with the harsh/melodic juxtaposed in perfect unison. So here you have the black (War) represented by blistering metal mayhem, no less rife with melody, yet much faster and more aggressive than anything from Outlive (sans “Jesus Wept” which was an absolutely obliterating song). And these tunes are fast. Yogi Watts has upped his game, driving these songs (with hands and feet) at a dizzying pace. I don’t know who is playing what in the guitar realm, but these songs feature some absolutely killer riffs, reminiscent of the kind of aggression and groove found on albums such as Summer Of Darkness, The Tryptich and Storm The Gates of Hell.
There are too many highlights here to focus on any one song but suffice it to say that fans of the older DH will be pleased by this return to the formula that was and is so unique and passionate. “Cut to Fit,” “On My Side” and “Grey Matter” have that classic DH vibe, while a song like “Ash” re-fortifies this band’s commitment to metal as it pays homage to thrash big time. Likewise, “Close Enough” is a somewhat atypical DH tune. That guitar intro made me think twice that I might be listening to The Showdown, but then the rhythmic gut wrench mid song brought it all home. Still, that guitar solo is sweet. These heavier songs are classic DH – the perfect balance of harsh and melodic vocals. The more recent DH makes its appearance on “Leave Me Alone,” which musically is probably the weakest song here, but I love the words, so its all good.
“That’s my only guess/Break the flesh till nothings left to atone/But I wanna know/When the grave will need me/Or just leave me alone.”
The closing track “Lesser Gods” shows that this band is far from done. They push the dynamic contrast between the calm and the aggression to all-time limits, reminding me at times of the might Extol. Demon Hunter remains, for me, one of the most significant metal bands of the past 20 years. Their lyrics are second to none, and they have managed to keep their music uncompromisingly compelling and innovative, yet spiritually challenging and uplifting.
Release Date = 3/1/2019
1. Cut To Fit (4:41)
2. On My Side (4:04)
3. Close Enough (4:08)
4. Unbound (3:15)
5. Grey Matter (4:19)
6. The Negative (4:41)
7. Ash (2:59)
8. No Place For You Here (3:31)
9. Leave Me Alone (5:51)
10. Lesser Gods (5:16)