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‘Extremist’ is an impressive offering of musical prowess. Big riffs, soaring melodies, tasty solos and catchy vocal hooks come in numerous supply, all tied together with excellent production value. Demon Hunter continue to stick to what they’re good at, but this time around things have been dialed back a little, with more slow, softer material than any other record they’ve released so far.
Opening up with ‘Death’, things get off to a heavy start with down-tempo, crushing guitars and frontman Ryan Clark‘s monstrous vocals, before moving on to ‘Artificial Light’. A more standard Demon Hunter song, it picks up the pace with driving, melodic riffs and a blistering solo. But from here on is where the band begins to show their soft side.
Once you get a couple of tracks into the album, acoustic guitars start to get added to the fray and Demon Hunter begin to gradually expose their gooey centre. The tempo drops to a nice, relaxed pace and rich melodies abound as the next few songs delve into ballad territory. Cue ‘I Will Fail You’, arguably the mushiest song on the album. Clark makes extensive use of his lower register here, accompanied by clean guitar sounds and some nice, easy drum beats. There’s even a snazzy little solo thrown in for good measure. But just when things start to drag a little, the band amps the energy back up again.
‘One Last Song’ and ‘Cross to Bear’ are two of the heavier tracks on the full-length, exhibiting the guitarists’ technical proficiency and giving Clark a chance to let loose with his harsh vocals. The latter half of the record contains more hard rock-oriented material and standout track ‘Gasoline’, followed by the lackluster closing number, ‘The Heart of a Graveyard’, a relatively bland song with some slightly out of place synths.
Demon Hunter‘s decision to follow up their heaviest album to date with their softest one is an interesting one, and overall it pays off. Being their seventh studio album, the band’s been around the block a few times now and cemented themselves into the scene. But now Demon Hunter are showing that they’re more than a one-trick pony.
Perhaps a less than fitting title considering the material, ‘Extremist’ is a very solid and diverse album with something for everyone. Whether you’re a hardcore Demon Hunter fan or a total newcomer anyone can find something to like here, whether it’s the infectious choruses, the bitchin’ solos or the sombre ballads. At times the songs feel like they start to drag a little, but there’s almost always a complete shift in dynamic just around the corner to keep the momentum going.
2. Artifical Light
3. What I’m Not
4. The Last One Alive
5. I Will Fail You
6. One Last Song
7. Cross to Bear
8. Hell Don’t Need Me
9. In Time
10. Beyond Me
12. The Heart of a Graveyard