Demon Hunter
Extremist


4.5
superb

Review

by JDOG USER (1 Reviews)
March 21st, 2014 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Demon Hunter release a career defining album and one of the best metalcore releases of 2014.

This is it. This is the one we've been waiting for. Two years ago, this band released True Defiance, which defied (awful pun) fans expectations after two lacklustre albums, and showed that Demon Hunter still had what it took to produce an alternately brutal, catchy, and melodically beautiful album. That record mixed the band’s typically crushing alternative metal/metalcore hybrid songs with speed metal, groove metal, and melodic death metal, resulting in an album that appealed to more than just the regular fan base, and expanded Demon Hunter’s reach beyond the Christian metal scene once again. There was also a heightened sense of melody on True Defiance, with Ryan Clark giving what was easily his best, but overall cleanest vocal performance to date, and Patrick Judge bringing the guitar into a primary lead role in Demon Hunter's music for the first time. The latest work to come from the Seattle quintet, the so called Extremist, starts where the last record left off: getting heavier but more melodic, and exploring new styles and atmospheres within the heavy metal lexicon.

The most noticeable thing upon first listen to this album is the multiple musical styles that Demon Hunter are flirting with this time around. The doom-metal inspired opener, “Death”, is probably the heaviest and most effective intro the band has laid down. It starts with the sounds of paper tearing (according to Clark, the Satanic Bible being ripped apart), as a Latin-worded chant slowly breaks into the fold. This is followed closely by the verse breakdown, which features Clark doing some wicked low vocal work. The song ends as heavy as it started, and a fade in effectively starts off the solid one-two punch of “Artificial Light” and “What I’m Not”, which, if the listener is familiar with Demon Hunter’s back catalogue, will be like soaking in a warm bath. However, even the more traditional Demon Hunter songs on this album are outfitted with relatively new tricks: extended instrumental jams, odd time signature changes, harmonized lead guitars, moody transitions, and electronic effects all play a role in making these songs stronger than previous material. The two songs that follow, “The Last One Alive”, and “I Will Fail You”, start to hammer in the point that this album is focused on something aside from just the typical sing/scream component that is so prevalent on the mainstream side of metal these days. The first is a gorgeous, radio-ready alt-metal song, with an anthemic chorus and a beautiful guitar solo, and the latter is a slow-burn lament that is so gut-wrenchingly mournful that the whole album centres around it. This is what I mean by 'atmosphere'. Having reinstated themselves with True Defiance, Demon Hunter has now decided to craft songs which don’t always depend on a catchy chorus or a brutal breakdown to succeed. This rings true for second half of the record as well, as “Hell Don’t Need Me”, “In Time”, and “Gasoline” all have a lasting effect beyond the heavy guitars and screaming. Of course, the bottom end of Extremist is in no dire need of harder tunes either, with “One Last Song” being a positive breath of Swedish guitarmony after the slow dirge which precedes it, and the endless volley of breakdowns in “A Cross to Bear” bringing the heaviness factor back up to 11. The only song which doesn't work here is the closing track, "The Heart of a Graveyard", and it's a shame, because it's a good song. Ending off a metal album this successful with a pop-rock song was an ambitious move, but unfortunately one that didn't work for Demon Hunter this time around.

In summary, Extremist will stand out from the rest of the metalcore muck this year due to a willingness to experiment with atmosphere and textures instead of always hammering the listener over the head, and a refined mix between melody and brutality. Although the death metal "purists" will always complain that there is too much melody, and the fans who prefer Demon Hunter’s softer side will lament the likes of “Death” and “A Cross to Bear”, the band has really struck gold here. With Clark and his cohorts properly back in business, the Christian metal world can take a breath of fresh air.


user ratings (276)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • LIONFURY (4.5)
    Demon Hunter finally embracing their strengths.......

    Elhanan (4)
    Extremist proves to be an incredible return to form for Demon Hunter....

    Toondude (4.5)
    Extremist is a phenomenal asset to Demon Hunter's discography as a whole and is well worth...

    Lakes. (3.5)
    The Switchfoot of Christian metalcore....

  • GrimReaper (2.5)
    After releasing their two heaviest (and greatest) albums back-to-back, a more experimental...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Toondude10
March 21st 2014


15186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dude, cut that second paragraph down by A LOT! You don't need to talk about EVERY song.



The only song which doesn't work here is the closing track, "The Heart of a Graveyard", and it's a shame, because it's a good song.




You kinda contradict yourself here, fix it. It sounds like you're saying that it isn't a godd song then you say that it is. Try and reword that.



Indicate albums with italics, use this [ i ] no spaces in between the brackets [ /i ]



and the endless volley of breakdowns in “A Cross to Bear” bringing the heaviness factor back up to 11.




Dafuq are you saying here? It doesn't make sense.



Not going to pos, but it is well written, I'll give you that, so I'm not going to neg.

BeneaththeDarkOcean
March 21st 2014


687 Comments


"Was this comment really necessary? He was giving critique, no need to cut him down."

But he said "no offense"

Pheromone
March 21st 2014


21421 Comments


no he didn't

Duckman118
March 21st 2014


388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not trying to cut him down, I just find it hypocritical for someone to critique someone else's work when their own work is on par or slightly below. Again, I'm not trying to cut him down, I thought toondudes review was great and he clearly knows exactly what he's talking about, just his review wasn't exactly as great as others reviews in certain areas, and in those areas his review lacked, he criticized this review for. That is wrong IMO.

Gyromania
March 21st 2014


37134 Comments


going to have to disagree with you, duck. oft times i've found it easier to critique than write reviews. it's easier to pick out flaws in other people's writing as opposed to our own because we know exactly what we're trying to say. it's maddeningly frustrating that i can see these things in other reviewers but rarely my own work.

Duckman118
March 21st 2014


388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not trying to say he doesn't have the right to critique someone, everyone does. Toondude just came off as a know it all ass in his response to this. Although the advice he offered was great, it just came off wrong, especially considering his own review wasn't perfect either. But whatever, it's not like I hate the guy, he enjoys this album and I enjoy this album, that's all I need for me to like him.

Gyromania
March 21st 2014


37134 Comments


fair enough. no need to make a big thing of it obviously. i haven't read his review, i was just going off of the feedback he gave.

Underflow
March 21st 2014


5297 Comments


Regardless, I think you could either trim down or break up your second paragraph. Your review would be easier to read if you did! That said, you did a good job overall, and I enjoyed the read. Have a pos.

titanslayer
March 21st 2014


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

"Toondude just came off as a know it all ass in his response to this."

No he didn't

Duckman118
March 21st 2014


388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wouldn't expect another ass to understand anyway.

Toondude10
March 21st 2014


15186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Duckman118



This is coming from a guy who doesn't have a single review on this website. This is what is known as hypocrisy everyone.



Now you listen here smart ass, not only did you mock me, and my writing, but you just put out a response in which you basically said that I'm have no right to say ANYTHING at all in this review, and therefore not having any right to help ANYBODY to improve their writing. I'm sorry, but everything you just said you have backwards.



You did cut me down, you're the one that acts like a know it all ass, and what YOU said came off as wrong. With that being said, I appreciate you not liking my review as much as the others, but here's something that you should learn that I don't think you knew from the beginning:



He did not say the same exact words that I said. This guy wrote all of the words himself, his review is structured differently than mine is and what he has to say is different than what I have to say.



Therefore, YOU have no right nor any obligation to compare my review to this one and criticize me at the same time because of it. You don't know me, and therefore you shouldn't criticize me the way you are.



I really apologize for sounding like an absolute asshole but your ignorance and stupidity of what you just said drove me to that point. Now you can either leave this argument and let it be, or you can just embarrass yourself even further by trying to point out every single flaw in my personality and what I believe, in which if you do this to other people as well, you will be harassed, ridiculed, and verbally assaulted for the rest of your life for it.



Toondude just came off as a know it all ass in his response to this.




And as for that comment, I'm not a know it all, nor did mean to come off as one, and if I did, the again, I apologize. The things I criticized on this review was the stuff that wasn't needed in the review in the first place.

Toondude10
March 21st 2014


15186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I would've gone a LOT further than that, but I'm pretty sure that would've gotten me suspended from here.

Gyromania
March 21st 2014


37134 Comments


lol wow..

Toondude10
March 21st 2014


15186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah, this isn't the first time someone has harassed me like that



and no I'm not going into detail about that.

KILL
March 22nd 2014


81580 Comments


can a non 14 year old review this plz

Killerhit
March 22nd 2014


6016 Comments


SHREDDED TO BITS

Damn duckman step the fuck up kid no offense but you were being an asshat

deserved everything said to you

Toondude10
March 22nd 2014


15186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@KILL I'm 18 dude

titanslayer
March 23rd 2014


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I'm debating if I should check this out or not

Toondude10
March 23rd 2014


15186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what are you talking about Snide, this is his favorite XD

TzarChasm
March 24th 2014


279 Comments


I really do not understand the apparent popularity of this album. While it starts off sounding like "Death" is going to usher in their hardest sound ever, most of this disc rapidly digresses into straightforward radio rock. There are a few killer tracks and a handful of catchy riffs but this has nothing on their self-titled album, Summer of Darkness, or even True Defiance.

That's the last time I buy an album based solely on Sputnik reviews/feedback without actually sampling it on Youtube or Pandora first.



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