Demon Hunter: Exile / “The Brink”

“To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion …May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”

The recent release of Demon Hunter’s hypnotic, cathartic, B-Side single, “The Brink,” compelled me to submit a past due review of the band’s recent concept album, Exile, from which it is derived. This may not be the Demon Hunter everyone is completely comfortable with, but I think these guys are truly onto something here.

The concept of Exile can be neatly described as Pilgrims Progress meets Blade Runner. The prevailing insanity truly compels the seeker to find a “Better Place.”

The sonic textures on display are dynamic, often alternating from crunching to angelic without sacrificing the melodic and lending a dystopian feel to the project which fits perfectly with the post-apocalyptic, end-times motif these guys have been riding for a while. There are also somber and reflective moments that make for a generally softer, but nonetheless, compelling, listening experience.

A fresh, almost futuristic sound is front and center on the war-drum driven, “Master,” the soaring “Revolutions,” and the newly released, “The Brink,” which may be described as an atmospheric cry for help.

The whole album is a must listen, but there are a few tunes that deserve special recognition.

The lead track, “Defense Mechanism,” is a skull crushing call to conscientious objection and resistance in the face of tyranny.

“Chemicals” is a brilliant tune that truly grabs you with its haunting melody and gut wrenching pleas. The song is a lament against the destructive power of addiction.

“Another Place” is my personal favorite. The message is so simple yet so profound. The theme of citizenship as noted in Philippians 3:20 comes to mind.

“Sleepwalker” is a bonus track which makes sense and doesn’t. There’s no way it should qualify as a bonus track, but if fans need extra motivation to support their favorite artist, this tune is great incentive. The bridge breakdown may be the best moment on the whole album. It’s about the technological zombification of society.

The crown jewel of the album is “Devotion,” a song that has everything that makes Demon Hunter arguably the best Christian hard rock-heavy metal band in the world. The song is both gritty and glossy at the same time. It’s perfectly melodic and magnificently crushing. The song is essentially a shout out to those who passionately embrace and cultivate their God given gifts.

I definitely recommend picking up a copy of Exile on vinyl or compact disc. This is a career defining album and I wouldn’t be surprised if their best is still yet to come.