It was only three short years ago when a metalcore band known as Demon Hunter emerged from
the hugely popular Tooth and Nail imprint Solid State Records. Their 2004 sophomore release Summer of
Darkness gained attention from several major magazine publications and even earned them a spot on
MTV2's Headbanger's Ball, which was fueled primarily by the album's lead-off smash "Not Ready to Die."
With a pair of band member changes (Ethan Luck, formerly of Supertones' fame and Lonely Hearts
drummer Timothy "Yogi" Watts), you'd think that would lead to a shift in the band's sound, correct?
Believe it or not, DH are far from switching to a completely melodic outfit. The band's third release
The Triptych is three times the production quality, three times the brutality, and three times
the heart-felt growls and vocals of Ryan Clark.
A 'triptych' is defined as "a work consisting of three painted or carved panels hinged together,"
and the fact that the band has released three limited edition art covers for the album makes the title
fittingly appropriate. From start to finish, the effort combines gut-wrenching guitars and pulsating
beats in tracks like "Relentless Intolerance," "Not I," and the cover of Prong's "Snap Your Fingers,
Snap Your Neck."
Many of the album's tracks also give the feel of a gigantic wrecking ball completely annihilating
several small buildings amongst a barrage of shattered glass. Lyrically, the album continues in the vein
of somewhat haunting messages, as the creepy yet smooth ballad "Deteriorate" discusses personal pain and
struggle, whereas the brutal goth-feel of "The Science of Lies" stresses the issue of mindless deception
in the world's darkest days. True highlights of The Triptych, though, features beautiful,
melodic vocals from Clark in the alt metal song "A Thousand Apologies" and the piano-led "Tide Began to
Rise." The remainder of the album follows in the vein of blistering electric guitar riffs and Ryan's
trademark growls. However, fans of Demon Hunter's older material and the now defunct Training 4 Utopia
might find a personal favorite with the song "Fire to My Soul."
Unfortunately, The Triptych, at times, sounds like it's recycling elements of Summer of
Darkness, drawing comparisons to songs like "Our Faces Fall Apart" and "Beauty Through the Eyes of
a Predator." Nevertheless, even though some may consider it a bit softer than their previous efforts,
fans of either of Demon Hunter's self-titled or Summer of Darkness projects will find plenty to
enjoy about this one, even though I would not personally recommend it for an individual struggling with
depression. All negativity aside, Demon Hunter has once again proven themselves worthy of a place in the
world of metal without shame or guilt. The one remaining mystery is wondering if whether or not these
guys will continue to crank out one amazing project after the next in the years ahead. Only time will
- Review date: 10/31/05, written by Paul Portell; revised 11/20/05