Review Summary: they finally get it right
It's the moment Ryan Clark let's his voice go when the bridge hits in "Tomorrow Never Comes". It's the dark alleys hidden in each song sparking a truly hollow feeling. And it's that question that creeps in and you wonder, "Are Demon Hunter, finally, worth taking seriously?" There are a lot of things worth criticizing about True Defiances'
creators, as always, but at this point, six albums in, come to find it's pointless to continue the tirades against the now Christian Metalcore staple. So the positives, and trust me, there are plenty, are definitely what gives this album a fucking pulse
. Songs dive into deep, murky regions that are surprising (for Demon Hunter). Solos abound and drumming that is worthy of some respectable notification; the answer to The Triptych, and then some, is here.
Stronghold opener Crucifix is the best thing the band has ever done - period. It's an excellent pacesetter; annihilating drum fills and Mr. Clark pouring out his best vocal performance in years; it casually banishes the last two wretched albums Demon Hunter dared release - yes, one song defeats a five year slump for the band. And it continues. "God Forsaken" is a lovely piece made menacing thanks to another stable drum performance and Clark singing his heart out. It's a welcome reprieve to the awful hooks the band has been swinging with for quite some time. New addition Jeremiah Scott brings new breath to the near stumbling band, shooting a smooth rhythm section below (lots) of chugging as well as smoother transitions in songs, "God Forsaken", "This I Know" and "Dead Flowers".
I was once willing to declare Ryan Clark the reason Demon Hunter would never evolve beyond their clumsy use of melody and faux metal. I've not been happier to eat words this year. To avoid the rabid fanboy line one only needs to hear the blatant "shutthefu
ckup" of "My Destiny" and then proceed from there. As always his cleans are sly and nearly nonchalant about their usefulness. But it's the bands', and clearly his, intent to prove a heaviness factor this time around. Several tracks are bold and not simply, "wow that's loud", but almost abrasive way. The hook that appears in "Wake" after a crippling introduction is a blindside if not an all out attack.
It's actually in an excellent place to discuss what Demon Hunter finally get right. The choruses are back to being worth stuck in your head, cool, but it's the instances where they take tracks in a total 359 that sets True Defiance
above what they've accomplished. There's one ballad, misleading to those who'd call this a ballad band, but it's understandable when you realize that this isn't even a top heavy album everything past "Tomorrow Never Comes" (arguably the one ballad, not considering the outrageous bridge) is damn good. Not unusual, we have several songs whose meanings are near meaningless but each evolution within covers up the cheek well.
There's not a lot I can condemn on True Defiance
. The worst excuse possible to use in a review is telling
you you'll already know if you'd enjoy an album or not. But seriously, Ke$ha fans aren't typing Demon Hunter into their Bing search bars any time soon, and fans already were probably lined up outside their nearest ChristianBook store a week before this was released so I feel weak in compelling souls to give True Defiance
a try. For those who've ignored Demon Hunter since they started playing jokes on the musical world 5 years ago I can only say they've strengthened their punch(lines).