Review Summary: Hear the initial roar.
This is were it all began for Demon Hunter, on their eponymous debut album. Here they would set a standard for their music and establish many of the traits that they have become famous for today.
Aggressive delivery, mixing hash vocals and clean vocals, dark lyrics and religious undertones. All present and accounted for here. Of all those traits, it is probably the religious undertones that they are most known for. Surprisingly, religiosity is quite subdued here. Sure, you could find a spiritual message here if you listen hard, but compared to most christian Rock bands their is almost no proselytizing to be found here. This could be because DH wanted to attract a wide fan-base, but honestly the reasoning hardly matters.
What does matter is that this is and incredibly raw and aggressive album, even compared to their later work. Here there is a palpable viscerality and intense sense of hatred mixed in. It certainly makes for a good first impression, especially for those drawn to heavier, more intense music.
The first track, Screams of the Undead is a perfect opener. Brutally aggressive and intensely powerful, it sets the pace for the rest of the album and it rarely deviates. Turn Your Back and Run is another standout track thanks mostly to its focused rage and hatred. That's not to say the rest of the album is weak on this subject, far from it. But Turn Your Back is just a more concentrated dose.
The one who exception to all this rage and intensity is the final track, The Gantlet. It's slower, more methodical and emotional than the rest of the tracks. And after all the rage and hatred, it's actually a very beautiful way to end the album.
This does lead me to mention the one major flaw of the album, and the is lack of variety. With the exception of the final track and a random,albeit very brief, sound effects only track, DH has mostly the same sound throughout with few exceptions to the established template. Granted, it sustains a high level of intensity and aggressive power throughout, but comes off as a bit unbalanced with relatively few surprises.
But all things considered this is a very good album. It knows what it wants to accomplish, and that is hit you in your eardrums with a power packed dose of raw aggression and rage. Mission accomplished Demon Hunter.