The beauty of resurrection rests somewhere between what is known and what is new. It isn’t just about regenerating what was to its former state; it’s something revitalized, reimagined, and exists as then and now. It changes and becomes something new. Christian metal veterans, Demon Hunter, have released a collection of “resurrected” songs from their last ten studio albums, and the new life breathed into these tracks gives an entirely fresh and beautiful potency to the band’s unparalleled spirit.
When you strip away the distortion and take a new approach to production – as Demon Hunter has done with Songs of Death and Resurrection – you’re left with a virgin collection of textures that take shape in the hollow of the band’s traditional and carefully crafted sound. It’s no secret that Demon Hunter can bang out a beautiful ballad in the thick of their riffs and rhythms – opulent strings and haunting piano aren’t necessarily new tools in the band’s arsenal. Yet, on their latest release, those softer, familiar elements take center stage alongside Ryan Clark’s rich baritone vocals. As if the range and variety of Clark’s vocals aren’t enough to warrant even producing the album, they are only in the foreground of a massive, intricately painted backdrop of tasteful, emotional movement.
While the album has the same general arrangement from beginning to end, there are some unique pieces that elevate a few songs above the rest. The reverent bagpipe ending on “Dead Flowers” or the bells on “Blood in the Tears” open up the work, while other tracks like “Deteriorate” are stripped down even further, pushing an instrument’s power to the limit and exposing the bare bones of a piano wrapped in fragrant melody. One of the most compelling compositions on the record, however, may very well be “Praise the Void,” the one written specifically for this modified musical landscape. Unlike some of the band’s adaptations of their previous works, the open chord structure and melody of this song naturally lends itself to the orchestral setting and the softer edges of Clark’s voice. The space and voicings give life to the emotional range of the song, perhaps the one major missed opportunity on some of the other tracks. Among the anthology of songs reimagined so beautifully, “Praise the Void” holds its own and hits all of Demon Hunter’s strengths when writing for the softer palate.
With layers of strings, harmonies, and acoustic guitars, Songs of Death and Resurrection breaks through the norm of what we’ve come to know as “Demon Hunter.” It takes a unique brand of confidence to bring something back to life and risk polarizing a fan base. But, as the band spread their wings over the course of two decades of writing music, the inklings of the band’s more melodic side grew in popularity. Those inklings now stand alone as an entire collection that rings out as a bold-yet-understated voice as strong as their heavier sound. And thanks to their diligent creativity, fans who have followed Demon Hunter through the years now have a multi-faceted experience to celebrate alongside some of their cherished favorites.