Demon Hunter – Outlive (Solid State)

Wednesday, 29th March 2017
Rating: 8.5/10

While many bands of the metalcore ilk have fallen apart and vanished, Demon Hunter has managed to keep pace and stay viable – all while being one of Christian metal’s flagbearers. Though one could argue the ‘metalcore’ aspect at this point, with later infusions to the band brought forth more visible elements of thrash, death, gothic, rock, and more to the table. Nonetheless, the band’s eighth album, Outlive, takes what has worked for the band in the past and adds some new, yet tasteful, flavors.

Variety is key over the course of Outlive’s twelve tracks. Those looking for some of the band’s more scorching efforts can find release in the thrashy gallop of “Jesus Wept,” thundering riffs of “One Less,” and thick grooves of “Cold Blood.” The band’s penchant for melodic choruses come to full potential with “Half as Dead,” which features a lumbering riff over a vocal line that is sure to stick in your head. Other highlights in this area include the electronic influences and rock-friendly lines of “Died in My Sleep” and “One Step Behind,” the closest Outlive comes to a traditional DH ballad. Elsewhere, the gentle piano opening of “Patience” explodes into a soaring and uptempo guitar melody (with a Soilwork-esque feel) and the triumphant riffs of “Cold Winter Sun” (with a catchy lead to boot) are surefire crowd-pleasers. Bookending the album, opener “Trying Times” uses drums alongside some electronics to slowly build up to the guitars in a well-orchestrated intro/lead-off, while some strings infiltrate “Slight the Odds” to give it some added emotive resonance to leave the listener with.

It may not be the band’s heaviest album overall, but Outlive proves Demon Hunter still has plenty of fuel left in their tank. A balance permeates the album, the band seemingly knowing where to go without worrying about a particular label tag pinning them down. All in all, there’s enough here to satisfy long-time fans while potentially exposing the band to yet a wider audience.

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