Summer of Darkness
Stylistically, Demon Hunter's second album Summer of Darkness is quite similar to the alternative metal band's self-titled debut album of 2002; the headbangers still get their points across with an effective combination of haunting, intricate melodies and sledgehammer brutality. The comparisons that were valid in 2002 are just as valid on this 2004 release — comparisons that range from Slipknot, Nothingface, and Pantera to Sepultura and Slayer. But this time, Demon Hunter's writing is slightly more consistent — not perfect, but slightly more consistent. Those who get the most out of this CD will be listeners who hold melody and ferocity in equally high regard; like before, Demon Hunter has no problem showing listeners their melodic side one minute and pounding them into submission the next. And more often than not, Demon Hunter skillfully pulls off this heaven/hell juxtaposition. There are plenty of other alt-metal artists who fluctuate between melodic intricacy and ferocious sensory assault — that part is hardly unique — but the advantage Demon Hunter has over much of the competition is the ability to make it sound natural rather than forced. Some alt-metal bands sound awkward and unnatural when they go for the kindness/cruelty and pacifist/aggressor contrasts; however, that isn't a problem for Demon Hunter, who give the impression that they wouldn't be happy giving the listener either all heaven or all hell. Both sides are valid parts of their artistic expression, and Summer of Darkness would be a weaker album if they had been forced to give either one up. Again, Summer of Darkness isn't perfect; some of the tunes are excellent, while others are merely decent. But the number of excellent songs has increased a bit for Demon Hunter — and even though Summer of Darkness falls short of ideal, it's still an enjoyable step forward for the alt-metal headbangers.