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Demon Hunter
Artist: Demon Hunter
Label: Solid State
Length: 10 Tracks/38:45 min

With their continually changing line-up, refusal to name band members, and ambiguous press photos, Demon Hunter seem to be styling themselves as Christendom's answer to Slipknot. Frankly, one Slipknot in this world is one Slipknot too many, and such distractions, far from being "captivating", as Demon Hunter's own web-site puts it, are merely tiresome. Unfortunately, it appears that this is not the only issue on which Demon Hunter appear to be slightly misguided. Their web-site also treads on the wrong side of the line between secure self-confidence and overbearing self-aggrandizement, describing their debut album as the answer to heavy metal's "cliches of senseless negativity and worn-thin musical conventions" and as "one of the most sonically astounding records of the year."

With such lofty pretensions, one could be forgiven for expecting at least some semblance of originality from _Demon Hunter_. Alas, this isn't the case as the, ahem, imaginative album title alone signifies. Yes, it is expertly played and well-produced but programmed breakbeats clashing with traditional rhythms, mighty, thrashing guitars and sandpaper-larynx vocals segueing into sung, more melodic choruses do not represent a leap forward in the evolution of music - rather the sound of people who have been listening to Fear Factory too much . 

Occasionally Demon Hunter throw a curveball in amongst the mayhem. "My Throat Is An Open Grave" is an evocative piece of rock psychedelia that brings to mind latter-day Trouble (definitely no bad thing), while closing track "The Gauntlet" is haunting, superbly understated and features some stunning percussion. On the evidence of these two tracks, laid-back territory might just be where Demon Hunter should think of parking themselves a little more.

On balance, Demon Hunter is not a BAD record, just one that induces apathy too often for comfort and so manifestly fails to live up to its self-generated hype. Perhaps the band members should choose to unmask themselves when their music has also become a little less faceless...

Vik Bansal 11/30/2002



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