For over 20 years, the legendary Christian metal band Demon Hunter has maintained a defiant heaviness in their music while embracing melodic songs that stand out on every record. The influential band proves to be timeless, while still creating music that resonates with fans after so much time.
No doubt, Demon Hunter has had much influence over many rock and metal bands worldwide. As a headlining act, the band introduced audiences to metal bands, such as August Burns Red. They have also co-headlined with popular rock bands, such as Red.
As previously mentioned, Demon Hunter's haunting ballads have a strong following. To capitalize on that, the band recently released Songs of Death and Resurrection, a new studio endeavor of stripped-down versions of some of the band's most treasured ballads from their 10 albums. These ballads blend acoustic guitars with drums, lush string arrangements, piano, and fresh vocal harmonies.
It's a full album's worth of "resurrected" tracks, including beloved songs like "I Am a Stone," "I Will Fail You," and "Carry Me Down," plus the brand new "Praise the Void." Demon Hunter recorded this collection in U.S. cities Atlanta, Nashville, and Seattle. Here are a few album highlights.
"I Am A Stone"
Originally a B-side from the band's album, True Defiance,the popular "I Am A Stone" helped define what a fan-favorite is for Demon Hunter. It fits nicely with the rest of the band's established ballads. For Songs of Death and Resurrection, the band didn't make the song softer, but rather they reversed the formula. And, it became one of the few more upbeat songs on the new record. It's also the only song on the album with a music video thus far.
"Praise The Void"
Songs of Death and Resurrectionis available to stream on YouTube. Their new song, "Praise The Void," is about how some people find hope and solace through death, through the nothingness that they think it brings. Lead singer Ryan Clark takes an almost sarcastic approach in the chorus. The song is very alluring and melodic with the primary focus on the piano and vocals.
The new version of "Loneliness," an original from Demon Hunter's previous album, Peace, is unique, to say the least. On the "resurrected" version, Ryan Clark enlisted his mother to add her vocals as a layer to the song's melody. He quotes her as an inspiration when he was young. In contrast to me thinking the band would turn this song into a more upbeat piece, like "I Am A Stone," they made it more somber. It's truly a standout.
"Carry Me Down"
"Carry Me Down," a song from their album Storm The Gates of Hell, is one of the band's most emotionally charged songs they've ever made. Musically, the song fits between typical ballad and fast, hard metal. The importance of the song is the deep contrast with death; contrasting the wishing for the mourning of self to be short and to think of others still living. The "resurrected" version strips the instruments down, thus making this heart-rending song even more vulnerable. Some fans have played the original version at funerals. The reimagined version is even more fitting for such occasions—maybe even my own.
"My Throat Is An Open Grave"
Demon Hunter's oldest track on Songs of Death and Resurrection is "My Throat Is A Grave." The original is from their self-titled debut. This throwback is faithfully "resurrected." It sounds fresh while reminding long-time fans of humble beginnings. The band has always referred to this song as a personal favorite of their ballads. I hope you think so, too.
"The Heart Of A Graveyard"
One of the most upbeat songs on the record is "Heart of a Graveyard" from Extremist. I wonder how a song like this would come out "resurrected." I think any fan would be pleased with this new version. The original had some synths and slight electronic sounds. Removing these elements and adding more strings gives more fullness to the new version.
"My Heartstrings Come Undone"
Similar to "Carry Me Down," another powerful, emotionally charged song is "My Heartstrings Come Undone" from Summer of Darkness. Fans have used this song, in contrast to the former at funerals, at their weddings, and on other special occasions. Interestingly enough, this song has already received an acoustic treatment, but not a "resurrected" one.
Demon Hunter did promote and play the album via a high-quality livestream concert named after the record itself. It was a great, captivating show featuring each band member who contributed to the record. Here's to hoping another livestream concert is in the future, until touring is back in full swing.
NRT's Rock Reporter Ryan Adams lives with his family in Montana. He's worked with NRT since 2018.
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