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Music / Demon Hunter

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A Heavy Metal band formed in the early 2000s, Demon Hunter is one of the most popular Christian heavy metal bands outside of the genre's own community. The band has their own nickname for their fan base, calling their fans members of "The Blessed Resistance", as seen on their website.

Their music is classified by many as a unique cross between Metalcore, Groove Metal, and Alternative Metal, with a little bit of Nu Metal as well, particularly in their first two albums. Despite critical acclaim and the many aforementioned fans outside of Christian groups, the band has found little mainstream success as of yet, though they have had some of their videos played on MTV's Headbangers' Ball.

They are also known for their iconic mascot, the symbol of a bull-like demon with a bullet hole in its head, which has appeared on stickers, t-shirts, hoodies, and every single one of their album covers.

Current Members:

  • Ryan Clark: lead vocalist
  • Jon Dunn: bass guitar player
  • Timothy Watts: drummer
  • Patrick Judge: standard guitarist and backing vocalist
  • Jeremiah Scott: rhythm guitarist

Main Discography:

  • Demon Hunter (2002)
  • Summer of Darkness (2004)
  • The Triptych (2005)
  • Storm the Gates of Hell (2007)
  • The World Is a Thorn (2010)
  • True Defiance (2012)
  • Extremist (2014)
  • Outlive (2017)
  • War (2019)
  • Peace (2019)
  • Exile (2022)

Miscellaneous Discography

  • 45 Days (2008) - soundtrack album to the documentary on the band of the same name
  • Live in Nashville (2009) - an audio-only release of the live concert recorded in "45 Days"
  • Death, a Destination (2011) - a compilation of their first three albums, the title coming from a line in "I Have Seen Where It Grows"
  • Songs of Death and Resurrection (2021) - collection of acoustic re-recordings of their most popular ballads, along with one original song titled "Praise the Void"

Guest Musicians:

  • Mike Williams (The Agony Scene) - harsh vocals on "Beheaded" (Summer of Darkness)
  • Howard Jones (ex-Killswitch Engage) - harsh and clean vocals on "Our Faces Fall Apart" (Summer of Darkness)
  • Brock Lindow (36 Crazyfists) - harsh and clean vocals on "Beauty Through the Eyes of a Predator" (Summer of Darkness)
  • Trevor McNevan (Thousand Foot Krutch) - vocals on "Coffin Builder" (Summer of Darkness)
  • Bruce Fitzhugh (Living Sacrifice) - vocals on "Sixteen" (Storm the Gates of Hell)
  • Bjorn "Speed" Strid (Soilwork) - clean vocals on "Collapsing" (The World Is a Thorn)
  • Christian Alvestam (Miseration, ex-Scar Symmetry) - harsh and clean vocals on "Just Breathe" (The World Is a Thorn)
  • Dave Peters (Throwdown) - vocals on "Feel As Though You Could" (The World Is a Thorn)
  • Max Cavalera (Soulfly, ex-Sepultura) - vocals on "Defense Mechanism" (Exile)
  • Tom S. Englund (Evergrey) - vocals on "Silence the World" (Exile)
  • Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest) - guitar on "Godless" (Exile)

Demon Hunter provides examples of:

  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: They have used the phrase "reap what you've sown" more than a couple times.
  • Christian Rock: They said so themselves that they are. It's actually really hard to tell, though, even if you listen to their lyrics, as they never openly use the words "God" or "Jesus" in any form of praise - when they do, it's usually in a different context.
  • Concept Album: Exile is a story about the collapse of civilization, told through the eyes of continuing to hope for an untethered life. The story is accompanied by a comic series written by Ryan himself.
  • Cover Version: The band covered Prong's "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck".
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Their music is perceived as being very dark, despite the fact that they are a Christian band and are in reality anything but.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Their first album is recorded in Drop C (the rest of their albums are recorded in Drop B), has more overt Nu Metal elements, and Ryan Clark uses a higher-pitched screaming style than what he would become known for.
    • Summer of Darkness and The Triptych also fit this trope somewhat, given that they were still shedding the Nu Metal influences of their first record, especially to those who were introduced to the band through their later material.
  • Epic Rocking: "The Gauntlet" clocks in at just under 7 minutes.
    • "Silence the World" surpasses 7 minutes in length, unsurprising given that it is a duet between Ryan and Tom S. Englund of prog-metal band Evergrey.
    • "Along the Way" is the band's longest song yet, running just over eight minutes.
  • Fading into the Next Song: In True Defiance, "Means to an End" → "We Don't Care". This is an interesting example in that "Means to an End" was made with this intention, and was going to segue into whichever song fit the key it was in. "We Don't Care" was the only song they had in the key of E.
    • In Outlive, "Trying Times" fades into "Jesus Wept".
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Deteriorate" sounds like it's finished around 3/4 of the way through, then the riff comes back out of nowhere and the chorus plays a few times.
  • Groove Metal: The Triptych onward.
  • "I Am" Song: "I Am You", "I Am a Stone", and "Death".
  • Lighter and Softer: Extremist is considered by some to be softer than their previous albums. Ironic, considering its title.
    • Peace is this in comparison to their prior releases, being a straight-up Alternative Metal album that was intentionally made to showcase their softer side.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Ryan almost always wears either a beanie and a coat or a vest.
  • Love Nostalgia Song: "One Thousand Apologies".
  • Metalcore: Arguably the biggest component of their sound, though they do have other influences.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "LifeWar" from The World Is a Thorn clocks in at just under 2 minutes.
  • New Sound Album: Plenty:
    • Summer of Darkness saw Ryan's harsh vocals evolve into the unmistakable grunt he's known for today, and was their first album to feature Drop B tuning, which they've used since.
    • The Triptych began their transition to a more Groove Metal-oriented sound. This was fully completed on Storm the Gates of Hell, which completely shed what little traces of Nu Metal were left in their sound.
    • The World Is a Thorn featured cleaner production and a more melodic, epic approach to songwriting, which was continued on True Defiance.
    • Extremist continued in the same vein, but featured a lighter sound with more ballads.
    • Outlive saw the return of minor Nu Metal elements, but not to the extent of their first few albums. It also featured djent influences on some tracks, which never showed up before or since.
    • War was a mixture of the sounds of their previous albums minus their first few, while Peace dove straight into Alternative Metal territory.
    • Exile is a step up in heaviness from its predecessor while simultaneously featuring a more stripped down and atmospheric sound that is far more downbeat than any of their prior albums, which goes along with its concept of the collapse of civilized society.
  • Nu Metal: They started out playing this, but slowly transitioned out of it on their second and third albums. Though Outlive brings back some elements of the genre, most notably on "Cold Blood".
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: "Death" starts with a group chanting "mors, obitus, decessus" 12 times.
  • Once per Episode: Storm the Gates of Hell began the trend of the deluxe editions of their albums containing at least one bonus track, a practice that has become a staple of their discography since.
    • With the exception of their debut and Peace, they have one or two songs without any clean vocals per album:
      • "Beheaded" from Summer of Darkness.
      • "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck" (Prong cover) from The Triptych.
      • "Storm the Gates of Hell" from Storm the Gates of Hell.
      • "LifeWar" and "The World Is a Thorn" from The World Is a Thorn.
      • "Crucifix" from True Defiance.
      • "Death" and "Cross to Bear" from Extremist.
      • "Jesus Wept" and "One Less" from Outlive.
      • "Ash" from War.
      • "Defense Mechanism" and "Freedom Is Dead" from Exile.
  • Prematurely Bald: According to Ryan himself, his shaved head is due to having lost his hair at a very early age rather than pure stylistic choice. He revealed this when he wrote a letter to his younger self and poked fun at his look by saying "enjoy your hair". He was barely approaching his mid-20s when the band's first album was released, and was already bald then, so as a result of his look, he appeared to be far older than he really was for some time (see Younger Than They Look below).
  • Rap Metal: Not a full-fledged example, but Ryan's harsh vocals tend to have a rap-like flow to them on several songs, examples being on "Tie This Around Your Neck", "Through the Black", "Everything Was White", "The Science of Lies", and "Jesus Wept".
  • Rearrange the Song: They released Songs of Death and Resurrection in 2021, a compilation of redone acoustic versions of their most popular ballads.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Several songs have this dynamic. Ryan is well-known for his distinct alteration between sludgy growls and baritone cleans.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: They seem to have more and more per album. However, their ballads have been a staple of their sound since their very first album.
    • Especially the Strings Mix of Driving Nails
    • Extremist brings more ballads and softer songs in comparison to the previous albums.
    • Peace is their softest album of original material to date, featuring exclusively clean vocals on all but one song ("Two Ways"). This was intentional, as it was meant to showcase their softer side in contrast to its companion album War, which was their heaviest album in a while at the time.
  • Textless Album Cover: EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
  • This Is a Song: Not quite, but "This is the Line" is pretty close.
  • Thrash Metal: A few of their songs have elements of this. The title track from The World Is a Thorn showcases this the most.
  • Vocal Evolution: Ryan's clean vocals have remained pretty much unchanged since the band's beginnings, but his harsh vocals have significantly changed since their debut album, not just in regards to the way he sounds, but also the style. He started with a hardcore-esque bark, but eventually settled for an instantly recognizable hybrid between a death growl, yell, and chant.
  • Younger Than They Look: Ryan looked much older than he was for a good chunk of their career. He was only 23 when their debut album was released, but looked to be at least ten years older due to being completely bald and sporting a huge beard. This was exemplified when he became noticeably overweight around the World Is a Thorn through Extremist era. However, he lost a significant amount of weight circa Outlive, becoming the fittest he'd ever been, and now in his 40s, he actually looks his age if not younger thanks to this.