Written by: Continuous Thunder
Over the course of 20 years and 10 studio albums, Demon Hunter have established a tradition of including at least one lighter or slower song on each release. Now, you might imagine that these wouldn’t be the most popular songs in their catalog. Nobody listens to an alternative metal album excited to hear the ballads, right? While that is the case with a handful of these tracks, some of them became fan favorites and even managed to get on some Christian music charts. Partially because of the lack of harsh vocals, but also because Demon Hunter has a knack for writing slow songs that don’t suck, and likely because they choose to go for more melancholic themes rather than sappy ones. For their 11th release, the band has re-recorded many of these slower songs from their catalog with acoustic and orchestral arrangements, further emphasizing their gloomy tones.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Stryper have made a name for themselves over the decades, and in later years actually took on an even more metallic sound than their earlier glammy roots. That said, the last record God Damn Evil was a huge let-down to me, the first by Michael Sweet and co. that I flat out disliked (“Take It To The Cross” and “Sorry” being the worst offenders). Michael’s latest solo effort Ten from last year was pretty solid, however, and actually gave me better hopes. This brings us to Even The Devil Believes, which is a rather mixed bag.
On one hand, I’m absolutely thrilled that they’ve made a step up from before, despite not reaching the magnitude of Fallen. You can basically sort every song here into one of three categories: sturdy, strong, and rubbish. This also means that the flow is a bit awkward, but easy enough to work with. By “sturdy,” I’m mostly talking about the songs that are exactly what you saw coming. Opener “Blood From Above” is a well-written, heavy banger with strong falsettos thrown in, all polished with a clear production. Truth be told, this approach makes up at least half of the album, which is fine albeit somewhat samey.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
It’s always fun going back and covering albums that never got close to the spotlight, but deserve loads of it. It’s especially fun when all of the promos you’ve gotten in the inbox have been boring as hell, so you’re forced to dig up some old fossils. Enter Saint, a Christian heavy metal act hailing from Salem, Oregon in the ‘80s. They only had two records before splitting and reforming a decade later. Too Late For Living was their second, and most important record dropping in 1988.
Standing out immediately is how close Saint comes to sounding like Judas Priest. Simple rhythm patterns that hook the ear covered in dual guitar attacks make up the base structure, as hoarse but concise vocals with chant-like choruses lift things to new heights. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? What’s even better is how incredibly this thing is produced, particularly with the way the guitar passages have a hint of echo, and stand apart from each other. There’s then room for drums to click harder as well.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!