‘War’ album review

Image courtesy of Facebook.com/DemonHunter

album: War
artist: Demon Hunter
genre: metal
release date: March 1, 2019
star rating: two out of five

review by Noah Yager

War is Demon Hunter’s ninth studio album, which was released simultaneously alongside Peace. Demon Hunter’s sound has slowly changed through the years – as any band’s does – and, in my opinion, has steadily grown softer. As a fan of their heavier tunes, I was excited to hear they were releasing one heavy album and one softer album, in hopes that they wouldn’t have to play around with that soft stuff on War.

Let’s start with the positives. The album begins with “Cut to Fit,” a great opener and one of the best songs on the album. It has great rhythmic screams with a good chorus and a bluesy anti-breakdown reminiscent of August Burns Red, which I really enjoyed. “The Negative” and “No Place for You Here” are also standouts. The former showcases the band’s variety in song structure and their versatility, and the latter gives you everything you want from a Demon Hunter song, with solid melodies, choruses and screams. The strongest song of War has to be “Lesser Gods.” The intro is thematically dark and includes what sounds like use of an organ. During cleans, there’s a cool vocal effect on Ryan’s voice, and the song slows way down. But it ramps back up again with intense screams and ends with a unique outro. The song is all over the place but works really well.

Now, on to the negatives. Most of the songs are decent but don’t stand out – there are some great melodies, but not much else. “Close Enough,” “Grey Matter,” and “Leave Me Alone” are good examples. Perfectly fine, but nothing special. “On My Side” was the first song released off the album, and it is truly boring. Sure, it has a catchy chorus, but the instrumentation is very basic. Although, the song is slightly redeemed because of a tie-in to a song on Peace (“Fear Is Not My Guide”). Sadly, the most disappointing songs on War are the heaviest; “Ash” and “Unbound” are both fast-paced and aggressive. These are traits I usually enjoy. However, I don’t care too much for “Unbound’s” chorus, and both songs revert to screaming the title of the song repetitively, which was really boring to me.

War definitely succeeds in being Demon Hunter’s heaviest album in a few years. Unfortunately, though, it’s far from their best. Great melodies are what hold this album up, but it can get stuck in some basic and tired tropes of metal. If you’re already a fan of Demon Hunter, you’ll most likely enjoy this album but may find yourself wanting a little more substance or originality.

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