Demon Hunter – Peace (Solid State Records)Friday, 22nd February 2019
With the focus of the War release sharpening the blade of Demon Hunter’s heavier side, Peace is left to walk in more mellow and gentle territory. While there’s still a ton of the usual Demon Hunter vibes (from their other, more laid-back tracks in the discography), Peace feels a bit more expansive and willing to push the boundaries of what they have accomplished to date as a band.
Pushing back the melodeath influences and allowing the ever-present gothic vibes to roll to the front in many of the tracks lends a gloomy, yet sometimes upbeat feeling to the album. There’s almost no growls to be had, but much like with the War album, the band does their best to still put up a varied stance as you move through the disc. From the industrial, pulse-laden sounds of “Recuse Myself,” to the semi-acoustic southern flavor of “When the Devil Comes,” or the almost grunge-y feel of “Bet My Life,” the band is quick to switch gears in the best possible way. More traditional ballads like “Fear is Not My Guide” and the poignant “Loneliness” feel right at home amid the more gentle fare (allowing vocalist Ryan Clark to really shine), and other tracks like “More Than Bones” and the title track bring a harder gothic rock approach (and more upbeat tempos) without out dipping too far into the heavy stuff. Even groovier riffs fill “Two Ways” but in ways that feel true to the goal of the release.
While some may find the lack of growling and more thrashy heaviness to be a fault, anyone looking to hear the band move further away from their comfort zone would do well to give Peace a chance. The band has always had a more melodic sensibility to their songwriting, and Peace allows them to really fulfill it in a way that feels natural to what they have accomplished, and place it directly into the limelight.