Demon Hunter has grown beyond the boundaries of a traditional rock band to become something of incalculable value, profound meaning, and steadfast purpose to the people worldwide whose dedication to their music, artwork and vision is beyond compare.
True Defiance represents a rallying call to arms, both spiritually and artistically, to the legion of "hunters" the world over who cling to core principles and only the most authentic music against the tide of a materialist world that builds castles on shifting sands. We all stumble and fall, nobody on earth is perfect, but Demon Hunter will not apologize for who they aspire to be and their fans continue to be invigorated by each new anthem that seeks to empower us to conquer self-doubt and emptiness. This attitude of True Defiance against the obstacles of the world persists throughout every aspect of the band's songwriting and overall presentation.
"This record is without a doubt our most aggressive," promises vocalist, songwriter and band co-founder Ryan Clark. "Every Demon Hunter record must be a step-up from the last. I know that's a goal for every band, but it seldom works that way -- especially today, especially in metal. It seems like most bands' prime years are long behind them. I refuse to let that be the case of us."
An artist whose consumption and creation of music and illustration remains massive, Ryan Clark's appetite for art ensures he has the widest palette of inspiration from the past and present to draw upon with each successive release. As much a student of darker avante garde rock as classic thrash metal and noisy / critically acclaimed underground acts, Clark's dialed-in Demon Hunter sound represents something refreshingly broadminded for a generation of metalheads raised with iPods whose "shuffle" mode offer much variety.
Arriving exactly ten years after the group's inception, Demon Hunter's True Defiance emphasizes a variety of elements that have long been their strengths (particularly the juxtaposition of aggressive metal with intensely melodic flourishes) while ramping up various aspects beyond the point of previous acceleration. The band recorded the album at Compound Studios in Seattle with longtime collaborator Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, Emery) producing. Mixing duties were handled by Jason Suecof (All That Remains, Trivium), who worked with Demon Hunter on 2009's The World is a Thorn, which included fan-favorite singles "Collapsing" and "LifeWar."
"My Destiny," "Crucifix," "God Forsaken," "Dead Flowers" and the rest of the songs that comprise True Defiance represent the strongest writing of Ryan Clark's career and most ambitious, most aggressive performances from Demon Hunter.
"We've been extremely underwhelmed with metal for the last few years and that was the fuel to create this record," Clark explains. "With an extreme over-saturation of false, fleeting, trend-hopping noise in today's metal scene, we had to make something we've been longing to hear: something truly meaningful and artistic, something our fans would love and something that will turn the heads of those who have ignored us for the past decade."
Black metal, thrash metal and speed metal of all stripes are present as lead guitarist Patrick Judge solos throughout with absolute abandon combined with precision technique. Longtime drummer Tim "Yogi" Watts continues to serve the song first, constantly driving the proceedings with taste, while reminding the metal community that his skills rival that of some of the genre's top performers. Clark delves deeply into the well of his own psyche to summon forth vocals worthy of the intense dedication he puts into the lyrics, with bassist Jonathan Dunn ever remaining a consistent anchor for Demon Hunter. New guitarist Jeremiah Scott rounds out the lineup. An accomplished producer (Living Sacrifice) as well as player (The Showdown), Scott is a longtime member of the band's family.
True Defiance features dual covers conceived by Clark, co-owner of Grammy nominated design firm Invisible Creature with his brother (and former Demon Hunter guitarist) Don Clark, and illustrated by Angryblue (Korn, Bleeding Through, Acacia Strain). Artwork and imagery has been paramount ever since the now iconic Demon Hunter symbol first appeared on t-shirts and stickers in 2002. A mysterious demon skull with a bullet hole through its forehead, representing the idea that it's been destroyed, the Demon Hunter symbol has been tattooed; sculpted from wood, clay and metal; painted on the side of helmets and tanks by members of the military and of course, appeared on every Demon Hunter release, including the 45 Days documentary and Live in Nashville album.
Ryan and Don Clark conceived the concept behind Demon Hunter together in Seattle, where they both work and reside. The first Demon Hunter album (featuring both Clarks backed by a still shadowy and enigmatic lineup) was unleashed in 2002, featuring tracks like "Through the Black" and "Infected" that have remained important songs to their fans. Summer of Darkness blew the doors open, placing the band on Christian Rock Radio, on the soundtrack for a "Resident Evil" movie and on MTV2 with "Not Ready to Die." Many couples count "My Heartstrings Come Undone," which Ryan wrote for his wife, as a landmark song in their own relationships.
The Triptych achieved the band's highest commercial success to that point. While the record sold close to 150,000 copies in the United States and saw major airplay for songs like "Undying" and "One Thousand Apologies," Demon Hunter has steadfastly remained a part of the fabric of subculture. A staple at major festivals whose relevance continues despite various trends in metal both above ground and beneath, Demon Hunter remains tightly protected by a loyal group of fans who will always be a part of the extended family. Storm the Gates of Hell included "Fading Away" and "Carry Me Down" and continued the band's tradition of handpicking support bands on their headlining tours, which have included August Burns Red, Haste The Day, Sleeping Giant and Living Sacrifice.
The World is a Thorn marked a number of firsts in Demon Hunter's career. It was the first album to officially feature Judge on lead guitar. "Collapsing" was their highest charting song at Christian Rock Radio. Demon Hunter went to Europe for the first time, playing festivals and clubs as a headlining act. The group also supported the album on a nationwide US tour with As I Lay Dying.
The men who comprise the band honor and respect the responsibility bestowed on them by placing the utmost value on the finest details of what Demon Hunter has come to represent: as musicians, as artists and as brothers on the road. They recognize that Demon Hunter is as much their own as it belongs to a diverse group of supporters around the globe who have connected with the execution of their sound, their overall aesthetic and the myriad array of deeply personal topics covered by the lyrics. There are over 300 (and counting) Demon Hunter related tattoos on the band's websites and an arsenal of fan created imagery inspired by the group's work.
Whether that landscape is the spiritual battle for the souls of humankind, or as simple as the mediocrity of much of modern music, Demon Hunter defies. True Defiance stands proudly as a flag of hope and perseverance planted above the fires of a world in turmoil.