In case you didn’t know, Demon Hunter is a Christian metal band. That simple fact bears mentioning because their sixth and latest full-length True Defiance ramps up that religious factor more than at any other time throughout the band’s career. While True Defiance isn’t exactly a Living Sacrifice release in terms of religious imagery and lyricism, there’s still more here than the band has heaped on listeners in the past.
Still, that in no way tampers with the music, as this record is pretty much the record you’d expect Demon Hunter to drop–well, if you know anything about this band, that is. True Defiance offers up no shortage of intense heavy-hitters, complete with the band’s blend of hardcore, emo and thrash (“My Destiny,” “This I Know,” “We Don’t Care”), but it’s at its best when vocalist Ryan Clark does what he does best, balancing breakdown-laden grit with rich cascading hooks, a surefire vocal alchemy that has gotten the band to where it is today (“God Forsaken,” “Someone to Hate,” “Crucifix”).
But the problem with True Defiance speaks more to the band’s sonic limitations than anything else, and it’s clear that this particular collection of songs is about what this band is capable of writing. Their paint-by number structures have not wavered since they broke onto the scene with their eponymous debut a decade ago, and if anything has changed, it’s their production values. At times, True Defiance seems all too perfect, which really isn’t all that bad a thing on paper, though the band’s execution comes across as transparent. No, True Defiance isn’t a terrible record; it’s just one you’ve probably heard before.