Demon Hunter

True Defiance

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The sixth full-length outing from Demon Hunter dials up the religious themes to 11 while maintaining a dark and ominous luster that dutifully upholds heavy metal's core values of volume, aggression, and defiance. The aptly named True Defiance juggles elements of metalcore, emo, thrash, and groove metal, offering up nine tightly wound haymakers, one vaguely forgettable power ballad ("Tomorrow Never Comes"), and even a moody acoustic instrumental piece ("Means to an End"). The vocals stay relatively clean, with furious, breakdown-laden verses that spill over into rich, melodic choruses, a template that works best on tracks like "God Forsaken," "Someone to Hate," and the relentless "Crucifix," the latter of which, ironically, brings to mind the frantic malevolence/desperation of Broken-era Nine Inch Nails. Demon Hunter's sound, outside of the increasingly slick production values, hasn't changed too much since their 2002 eponymous debut, and like previous outings, True Defiance stays true to the band's message without isolating the rest of the metal community. After all, it's hard to dismiss a Christian act that seems as beholden to Pantera as it is to Jesus Christ.

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