Demon Hunter - Summer of Darkness (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Demon Hunter

Summer of Darkness (2004)

Solid State

Demon Hunter straddles a fine line between underground rock and straightforward nü-metal with the same protocol as many other Christian-founded acts: not forcing it down your throat at all. Luckily, the songs that help contribute to the latter and also help make up the band's sophomore release, Summer of Darkness, sound like moderately tolerable radio singles, like "My Heartstrings Come Undone" or "Not Ready to Die" (the second of which is quite the antithesis to one of Andrew W.K.'s certain party anthems). But that's really just it. No one wants an album filled halfway with tolerable radio singles and the other half with meandering filler. The band pulls off some nice harmonizing often, but it's overshadowed by the lackadaisicalness of the slow, almost monotone vocals that slip in in every song. When they sing the line "I saw the fall of all your children, I'm soooo collllllld" in "Our Faces Fall Apart" as the song fades out, it sounds more like general carelessness than depression. I'd imagine that if there were a video made for this song, the shot of the vocalist singing like this would have him seated in some dusty wooden chair in a room of solitary confinement as he looks apathetically off-camera. Yeah, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's one of the prime reasons this album is so disinteresting. One thing that helps this album a bit is the guest vocal work. Mike Williams, from The Agony Scene, makes a great contribution in the preface to the chorus in "Beheaded." Normally I can't stand his glass-shattering theatrics, but it works here well for some reason, likely as a changeup to the somewhat baritone singing level Demon Hunter uses. Even when "Coffin Builder" falls victim to the abovementioned monotony in the vocals, Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch keeps it from completely losing. There's definitely a certain "brutality" that the band is going for, and it's most likely the same one that's brought up every time someone mentions the word "metal." It just doesn't happen here. The music is too generic and redundant in itself. Sure, it's obvious the band is concerned with injecting plenty of melody (closer "The Latest and the Last" contains a chorus showing it quite well), but it's hard to see them being able to keep that while exhibiting a truly in your face style and not hold back like how it seems they're doing. Summer of Darkness isn't horrible, but it couldn't be classified as much more than background noise. VIDEO
"Not Ready to Die" Low High E-CARD