A more interesting album from Christian metal mainstays

To me, being a fan of heavy music means listening to music that makes me feel something.

I am not bothered by a band’s message or personal faiths if the music is good. Over many years of listening, few sub-genres seem to be more polarising  than anything labelled ‘Christian’. Personally I don’t care about bands like Demon Hunter’s motives, just like I have never questioned Deicide or Watain. I would rather just enjoy the output for what it is. Now, with a disclaimer that I hope points out why we should all try different things at least musically different, let’s see what the band has for album eight Outlive.

A sparse echo filled drum beat begins the album with vocalist Ryan Clark’s layered clean message sent to soothe as the song crescendos into ‘Jesus Wept’, a much heavier track. This is driven by a solid hardcore beat and a groove orientated riff, pushing forward to a very traditional sounding guitar solo standing out towards the end. ‘Cold Winter Sun’ upholds the previous songs heavier tone. Guitarists Jeremiah Scott and Patrick Judge play together great, showing progression across the three albums they have now worked on together.

Demon Hunter push a little further into their own anthology of sounds created over the previous seven albums. ‘Died in My Sleep’ takes a decidedly European heavy metal approach, while standard rock ballad ‘Half as Dead’ keeps the pace up just enough that it doesn’t actually feel too out of place or that someone has dropped anchor.

The album isn’t without fault of course, with a distinct dip in quality in the middle, something this band has always been guilty of. The lull is soon forgotten with the heaviest song I can remember the band doing in ‘One Less’, with an almost deathcore feel.

Outlive feels more impassioned and driven than the last three releases, as if they have taken the lessons of years of touring and recording and put them all into a very stand up metal album. If they removed the fluff in the middle this would certainly have people stand up and pay them the attention they deserve for this effort. Albums like this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it could very well be the gateway it is intended to be for people finding heavier music.

1. Trying Times
2. Jesus Wept
3. Cold Winter Sun
4. Died in My Sleep
5. Half as Dead
6. Cold Blood
7. One Step Behind
8. Raining Down
9. The End
10. One Less
11. Patience
12. Slight the Odds