Those who relish sweet pop songs will only enjoy Demon Hunter's second release if it's in a CD player far, far away. However, fans of what Christian metal pioneer Glenn Kaiser calls canine rock ("grrrr, rarrr, rarrr, rarrr" vocals) will find a sophistication and subtlety in Summer of Darkness that's lacking in most current heavy metal. Yes, Ryan Clark can growl with the best of them on death-metal tracks like Beheaded, an indictment of gangster life, but Summer of Darkness also offers the surprisingly gentle ballad (for this genre of music) My Heartstrings Come Undone. There is more variety than is typical for modern heavy metal, partly due to the inclusion of guest vocalists such as Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch, and probably partly because of the influence of veteran producer Aaron Sprinkle.
Coffin Builder cries out to God about the unrelenting pressures of the media:
I lost the feeling of guilt, there's nothing inside, my innocence died / And now the emptiness grows, it's bringing me down and taking my crown / I've seen where everything's dark, it's here in my soul, I'm losing control / Have mercy on me / Have mercy on me / Have mercy on me for every thorn I've driven in
Summer of Darkness targets connoisseurs of the thinking man's heavy metal. Fans of hard-core growling should be able to overlook some of the more melodic moments and still enjoy the CD. This project is dark from the title and the packaging to the lyrics, but a sense of hope undergirds the message that is "stabbing you right through the back of your soul" as Annihilate the Corrupt proclaims.
Visit: Demon Hunter and Solid State Records.