Guest Column: Three Bands You May Not Know But Should By Demon Hunter’s Ryan Clark
By now, you should know the drill. We’ve been having musicians from across metal’s grand spectrum pen brief guest columns for us on a number of engaging topics: must-read books, must-see films, and bands you may not know but absolutely should. Today’s column comes from Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter, who have a new album called Extremist coming out March 18.
I listen to a ton of music… both new and old, and practically every genre you could imagine (sans polka and smooth jazz). However, since I usually don’t refer to a lot of metal bands as current inspiration for Demon Hunter, I thought it would be a nice change to show some love to a few (possibly lesser-known) metal bands that I have enjoyed for some time. And to make things even more direct, I’ll be focusing on the specific sub-genre of Finnish doom… or possibly death/doom with the occasional touch of folk.
I am obsessed with this band. It’s hard to put my finger on what it is exactly, but there’s something about the unique melodies they create. There’s a profound heaviness and harmonious beauty happening simultaneously at almost all times. The vocals have a fullness to them that I wish I could achieve, and the guitar harmonies are almost reminiscent of At The Gates to me, but slower, with more of a trance-inducing groove.
Although the band has been sporadically releasing material since 2003, I first became acquainted with them on their fourth album, The Redshift, and in my opinion, they just keep getting better. Their newest release Beyond was my #1 metal record for 2013. The instrumental opener, “Luoto” and “Formidable” are two of my favorites on this album.
Swallow The Sun
I would put Swallow The Sun in a similar category to Omnium Gatherum, but with a slower build, raspier vocals, more varied structure, and leaning more on the epic side of things, with songs regularly spanning 8 or 9 minutes.
Speaking of epic, the title track from 2008’s EP Plague Of Butterflies starts things off at an impressive 34:43. Listening to STS definitely feels like more of a journey than with their Finnish contemporaries, but ripe with peaks and valleys, making the experience anything but one-dimensional. Their fourth full-length album New Moon is my favorite of the bunch. Standout tracks include opener, “These Woods Breathe Evil” as well as the eclectic title track.
Definitely a household name to old-school metal heads, but I’d imagine still widely unknown to most young fans, Amorphis has been churning out high-quality metal for the past (brace yourself) twenty-four years. Although their style has varied over the years, I personally find their past 5 albums to be more my pace.
2006’s Eclipse saw the inception of new vocalist Tomi Joutsen, and to me, the band couldn’t have made a better choice. Eclipse is by far my favorite album, ranging from beautifully melodic to driving brutality with a subtle touch of folk. My favorite song on the album is “House Of Sleep,” brandishing a lead riff and chorus vocal melody I’ve always been very jealous of. Other standout tracks “Leaves Scar” and “Born From Fire” show an extremely broad range.