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Side note* Was meant to upload this two years ago, but unfortunately the file got lost and it’s been in the last few days that I managed to get a hold of it.
Extremist was officially released on March 18th 2014, with a digital deluxe edition being released last year. I’ll be using the deluxe edition for the premise of this review. Singles arriving from this album includes Artificial Light, The Last One Alive and I Will Fail You.
Death the interlude into the album refers heavily to a Latin chant, commonly heard in Catholic, Gregorian and High Anglican tradition. It brings to focus to the band’s beliefs, which throughout their fourteen year career; they spoke openly about, and had unmistakable influence. Half way through the two and a half introduction, in the midst of the haunting chants, comes in the guitars. In an interesting way, Death comes in in a similar presentation to (will fill in later), before Ryan Clark enters. This song is evidently speaking of the biblical significance of immortality, and how the subject of death has a mythological status.
Contrasting to previous track, Artificial Light begins with a lighter tone, an ambient feel to its atmosphere, before once again trailed by harsher instrumentals assigned to the band; this particular song having rudiments of heavy metal, which is complimented with Clark’s clean vocals. It speaks of the biblical terms of Satan, or the Anti-Christ being a false messiah parading themselves, and deluding people into their ‘web of lies, and those who see beyond the façade.
Synthesizers and a nu-metal like introduction to What I’m Not brings a contrasting feel to the previous tracks, and there is more of a post-hardcore mixed with classic metal sounding undertone to the overall song. Every now and again Clark intermissions the growls with clean harmonizing.
The Last One Alive and I Will Fail You take an extremer path by becoming the ballads, with full on clean vocalizations throughout. They in particular remind me of the works of their peers, Thousand Foot Krutch (The End Is Where We Begin, 2012) and RED (Innocence and Instinct, 2009 and their recent album, Of Beauty and Rage (2015)) with the focus being on acoustic grunge instrumentals, which another band, Poets of the Fall experimented with in 2008, with Revolution Roulette.
The Last Song comes back their distinct sound, with the restoration of harsher vocals, and the weight on the drums and the guitars, but not quite losing the alternative/ballad arrangement. Cross to Bear however unleashes rawness, and anger, like they’ve been broken free of restraint, and this instance, there is more indication of groove metal in this, with death metal/Metalcore vocals along with what can only be compared to Slipknot, in their brutal delivery.
Hell Don’t Need Me takes into the route of doom metal combined with dark progressive, with a mournful tone in instrumental and vocal capacity, the story behind this defines a protagonist who has taken the wrong path in life, and is taking responsibility for the consequences, implying that they will forever be in limbo. In Time is another track consisting of heavy delivery, however more thrash than Cross to Bear is in terms of how they portray their emotions.
Beyond Me chains together modern heavy metal, synthesizers and hardcore. As a whole, this song has a strong Avenged Sevenfold vibe; incidentally, both Demon Hunter and Avenged Sevenfold formed a year apart and emerged in the same movement – Metalcore. The dynamics came across slow, saddened almost, with rhythmic bursts of energy. Whilst Gasoline abandons that completely as we come into it, turning back to the doom metal sound, with outlets of heavy metal, and begins to get angrier as the song progresses.
The Heart of a Graveyard has a gently approach, more melodic, more acoustic and emphasizes the synthesizers, drums and bass much more. Clark’s vocals are borderline monotone, reflective, lyrically illustrating to the listener of the protagonist’ location in the narrative. In fact, it’s like they’re requesting for answers on the afterlife, that the deceased have departed into a better place.
Waste Me, the first of the bonus tracks of Extremist carries the iconic sound of the band, similar to The Last Song, combining Metalcore, hardcore and nu-metal into the mix, with distorted vocalizations, the song speaking of this character completing their journey and are ready to exist into the next existence, taking secrets to the grave as they do. Helpless Hope the second and last bonus and last song in the deluxe edition, is interestingly different to the rest of the tracklisting. Not dissimilar The Last One Alive and I Will Fail You, it’s a ballad, but also introduces doom metal, but has a softer melody. It demonstrates hope, and a farewell.