Let me be honest from the beginning: it's hard going into any Demon Hunter album with an open mind. Though it's unfair to compare a new record to a previous record, since each should stand as its own entity, it's almost a guarantee you're going to love what you hear. You know, if you're into the whole sometimes-brutal-sometimes-beautiful thing.
That being said, in regular fashion, True Defiance is gorgeous and all over the place. And though The World Is All A Thorn set a bar that I wasn't sure even Demon Hunter could beat, the Seattle metal-ish band has broken down yet another set of alls. Walls I wasn't sure existed anymore.
Opening with "Crucifix," the ruthless pounding starts strong. An interesting mixture of Rise Against if their favorite band was Slipknot, Timothy Watts is a drum powerhouse churning out beats at a mile-a-minute, while Ryan Clark switches between a healthy mixture of screaming and growling before dropping into a sing-talk phrase akin to Corey Taylor.
That's where the band's "metal" tendencies take the road less traveled. "Dead Flowers" is powerful yet moving, soft yet momentous. There is no screaming or growling, just a genuine tickle in your gut. It is these tracks, like "Driving Nails" on Thorn, that truly stand out. It's tracks like these that make them more than a metal band.
As a whole, the record is fast and slow, intense and delicate. Though I'm wary to say it's their best release to date, it's definitely a keeper and a step in the right direction. If every band was churning out albums which such depth, my job would be a breeze.