An album review on Outlive, the eighth full album from Demon Hunter.
Christina bands in mainstream rock and metal are hard to come by in 2017. So years back when Demon Hunter claimed they stopped wanting to “ride the fence” between being a Christian and Non-Christian band, it did not slow down the bands progress or standing as Demon Hunter has been a consistent mainstay for well over a decade. Coming three years after Extremist, being their fastest selling album that charted at #16 on the Billboard 200, Demon Hunter bring in heavy riffs and connecting melodies in Outlive, the band’s eighth studio album. This new album being supported through PledgeMusic also supports the fact that the Demon Hunter’s fans have no problem with the band sharing their religious beliefs so long as the music keeps coming.
Outlive comes after a time of change for the band as personal experiences have truly worn on the men and most of the band members have their own children now. They aren’t the same Demon Hunter that released a self-titled debut back in 2002. But as for most bands that are capable of pushing forward and making music over the years, change and growth are inevitable. As the members of Demon Hunter may have grown, one thing that has stayed consistent in a good way is the band’s delivery of melody and heavy themes in their music. And where Extremist definitely had a lot of melody in their composure, Outlive carries that but also turns up the volume and gets MUCH heavier. This 2017 album feels more on the metal side than their 2014 success. Outlive has already released several songs to the public including “Cold Winter Sun”, “Died In My Sleep” and “Half As Dead”, which are all grouped together in the album track listing. It’s these three songs that connect with each other that also represent the style of the album. “Cold Winter Sun” especially starts out the album early as a baseline for what to expect on Outlive.
“Cold Winter Sun” feels like a bigger step up in lyric content for Demon Hunter than I have heard in quite a while. There are some great lines in this song that not only are good to sing along with but are well connected and hits deep. Ryan Clark and company really took some time and made some well thought material to go along with the rhythm here and it shows in the work.
Speaking of Ryan Clark, his vocal delivery in “Cold Winter Sun” has a clean sound and isn’t over the top. The guitar riffs stroll along at a good speed and the rhythm from the percussion drives this song all while Clark is able to give a clear delivery. That description of the vocal work on the music can be said for much of this album as well, not just the three previously released songs. There are definitely tracks to hook listeners and get attention to the album on radio play but the hidden gems on this album may be what satisfy long time Demon Hunter fans the most. Tracks like “Jesus Wept” and “One Less” are where Demon Hunter get a bit angrier in their delivery and it works well to offer more variety with the melodies along with the hard rock radio singles.
“One Less” has that growl in Clark’s voice and the guitar slide and bend really adds a flare. The bass and symbols hit hard and that all adds to the intensity. Everything sounds tight and synchronized from everyone in the group. I know it’s all up for personal choice but Demon Hunter is a band that can be seen as having a lot of golden material that isn’t heard by mainstream fans, and songs on Outlive add to that argument. The highlights of this album bookend in the sense that you’ll be listening to the opening and closing few tracks the most. Along with the slower brooding track “Patience” and barn burner “Slight The Odds” which incorporates a string section leading to heavy style changes from verse to chorus, it’s safe to say that the majority of this album’s playtime will be skipping some of the center and heading over the edges.
Keeping your fans happy while living your own personal life is something many bands have to come to terms with or else they fade away. Demon Hunter not only succeeded in getting through rough times and raising families but also delivering to their fans consistently. Regardless of how heavy you prefer their style; they still find a way make something solid. Overall, Outlive excels at having both radio material and hard hitting tracks for every type of hard rock and metal fan. Longtime fans of Demon Hunter will be satisfied, newcomers will have something to check out, and we are given more proof that there are bands that can outlive the hard times and still continue to rock.