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Demon Hunter live in Gomaringen in 2010
|Origin||Seattle, Washington, U.S.|
|Associated acts||Training for Utopia, The Showdown, Society's Finest|
Timothy "Yogi" Watts
|Past members||Jesse Sprinkle|
Demon Hunter is an American Christian metal band from Seattle, Washington, started in 2000 by brothers Don Clark and Ryan Clark. Although the brothers created the band together, only Ryan remains, since Don left the band to take care of his family. As of early 2010, the band has sold over half a million albums. The band's style is known for combining nu metal sounds and qualities with ones heard in metalcore.
Formation and initial releases
Demon Hunter was initially conceived as a project band by the Clarks, who had played together previously in the initially Coalesce and Neurosis influenced but later more experimental band Training for Utopia. Ryan had previously played guitar in hardcore band Focal Point, who released an album on Tooth & Nail/Solid State when Ryan was still in his teens.
Demon Hunter first appeared on This is Solid State Vol. 3 with their first song "Through the Black" released in February 2002. Demon Hunter's self-titled album was released in October 2002 on Tooth and Nail Records subsidiary Solid State Records. Ryan and Don wrote all of the songs, performed the majority of the instruments (with Ryan singing as he had in TFU) and hired Jesse Sprinkle, formerly of Poor Old Lu, to record drum tracks.
At first the members of the band chose to hide or obscure their identities in photos and in the press. Their names were revealed when they undertook their first tour, which featured Norwegian metal heavyweights Extol and death-influenced metalcore youngbloods The Agony Scene, and saw the permanent adding of Jesse Sprinkle on drums, Jon Dunn on bass, and Kris McCaddon, formerly of Embodyment and Society's Finest, on lead guitar.
Demon Hunter returned to the studio to record their second full-length release, Summer of Darkness, with McCaddon contributing, and again with Jesse drumming. Summer of Darkness hit stores on May 4, 2004, and was a modest success, propelling Demon Hunter into the secular scene with the addition of the music video "Not Ready to Die" on MTV2's Headbanger's Ball and Fuse TV, along with single "My Heartstrings Come Undone" being placed on the Resident Evil: Apocalypse soundtrack. The album featured four guest vocal appearances, including Mike Williams of The Agony Scene on "Beheaded," Brock Lindow of 36 Crazyfists on "Beauty Through The Eyes of a Predator," Howard Jones from Killswitch Engage on "Our Faces Fall Apart" and Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch on "Coffin Builder".
Demon Hunter hit the road that summer with McCaddon on lead and Dunn on bass, and with new touring drummer Timothy "Yogi" Watts, as Jesse Sprinkle could not make the tour. This time Demon Hunter took with them rock/post-hardcore rookies Dead Poetic, along with metalcore band Haste the Day. Post-hardcore band Staple replaced Haste the Day towards the end of the tour.
In 2005, Demon Hunter went back to The Compound in Seattle, Washington to record their third album, entitled The Triptych. The word "triptych" centers around the concept of three, as it was the band's third album. Included on the album is a cover of Prong's song "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck". This album debuted Watts as Sprinkle's permanent replacement on drums (Jesse having joined Dead Poetic) as well as the addition of Ethan Luck as lead guitarist, replacing Kris McCaddon. The Triptych was even bigger than Summer of Darkness, selling more than twice as many records on its first week of release than Summer of Darkness had. "Undying" was the band's first single from this album, and was also made into a music video directed by Chris Sims.
Demon Hunter's only 2006 tour took place over the summer with Zao, Becoming the Archetype, August Burns Red, and Spoken. The band shot a video for "One Thousand Apologies" after the tour was over with director Darren Doane at the helm. The Triptych was re-released on October 31, 2006 with a DVD accompanying the album and four extra songs added to the original album.
The hard rock and heavy metal based magazine, Revolver, published a cover story on Christian metal in December 2006, featuring what the magazine called "The Holy Alliance": Spencer Chamberlain from Underoath, Ryan Clark from Demon Hunter, Tim Lambesis from As I Lay Dying, and Cory Brandan Putman from Norma Jean.
Demon Hunter entered the studio in June 2007 to record their fourth full-length album, Storm the Gates of Hell, which was released on November 6, 2007. Solid State released three versions of the album with various bonuses. "Fading Away" was the album's first single and music video. In spite of the bands secular popularity, they continued to support the underground Christian metal scene by appearing on obscure radio programs such as The Full Armor of God Broadcast in January 2008. On March 13, 2008, "Carry Me Down" debuted on Headbanger's Ball's website as the album's second music video, and made its television premiere on March 15 on the same show.
In 2008, the band headlined the "Stronger Than Hell" tour, which started May 26 in Seattle, Washington. The tour featured the recently reunited Christian metal forefathers Living Sacrifice, whose lead singer Bruce Fitzhugh was featured as a guest vocalist on Storm the Gates of Hell's track titled "Sixteen". The tour also included Oh, Sleeper, The Famine, and Advent. This tour completed July 5, 2008, at Cornerstone Festival in Illinois. Demon Hunter released 45 Days in November, a box set comprising two DVDs and a CD containing a documentary film about the band and their fans, a pro-shot performance from the "Stronger Than Hell" tour and a brand new score written exclusively for the film along with two bonus tracks. 45 Days was directed by Cale Glendening.
A live album, Live in Nashville, was released on January 27, 2009. It includes 14 songs from their show in Nashville, Tennessee from their "Stronger Than Hell" tour. The album features The Showdown lead guitarist Patrick Judge, who filled in for Luck on several of the "Stronger Than Hell" dates due to Luck's conflicting scheduling commitments as drummer for Relient K.
Judge also filled in for Brian Leppke of metalcore band Bleeding Through when he was unable to turn up for the Thrash and Burn tour in May.
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In 2009 Don Clark left the band to pursue his graphic designer career and to be with his family and Ethan Luck left because he could not keep up with the hectic schedule of being in both Demon Hunter and Relient K. On August 28, Demon Hunter released an official statement with a new band photograph stating that Patrick Judge was the new, permanent replacement for Luck. However, the statement made no mention of Randy Torres's joining the band; a new band photograph included him as well. An official replacement for Don Clark was announced in Demon Hunter's exclusive fan club, The Blessed Resistance, with the announcement of Ryan Helm, formerly of The Ascendicate, as the band's new permanent rhythm guitarist.
The band released The World Is a Thorn on March 9, 2010. It featured guest vocals by Dave Peters of Throwdown in "Feel As Though You Could," Christian Älvestam of Miseration in "Just Breathe," and Björn "Speed" Strid of Soilwork featured in the single "Collapsing". The album debuted at No. 39 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 14,000.
The band joined As I Lay Dying on tour in March, marking the first time Demon Hunter ever toured as a support act rather than the headliner. Blessthefall and War of Ages were also on the bill. Demon Hunter released an anthology of their first three albums on March 8, 2011 titled Death, a Destination. In December 2011 Ryan Helm announced that he would be leaving Demon Hunter to concentrate on his solo project, Damien Deadson. Helm stated that the departure "was inevitable; however, it was on good terms."
Their sixth album, True Defiance, released April 10, 2012, was a commercial success, reaching No. 36 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the Top Christian Albums chart and received generally positive to mixed reviews. A month before the album was released, Demon Hunter released the song "My Destiny" as the first official single from the album and released "Someone to Hate" and "Dead Flowers" as promotional singles. The band also released a deluxe edition of the album that included two bonus songs, "What is Left" and "I Am a Stone".
In July 2012, the band toured for the album along with Bleeding Through, Cancer Bats, and The Plot in You. Not long after, they also announced a tour in the countries of Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia in South America. The band was part of a tour called "Another Year Another Tour", their first tour of 2013 alongside headline act In Flames, as well two other bands All Shall Perish, and Battlecross.
Demon Hunter began releasing teaser posts on January 30, 2014 related to Extremist, which was released on March 18, 2014. Demon Hunter released the album's first single, "Artificial Light", on their YouTube account February 13, 2014, and also released websites to pre-order their new album. "The Last One Alive", and "I Will Fail You" were eventually released as promotional singles shortly after. Extremist debuted at No. 16 on the Billboard 200 selling approximately 18,000 copies in the first week of release. This is the band's highest chart debut, being 20 steps higher than their highly regarded previous effort, True Defiance which debuted at No. 36.
Demon Hunter officially released their eighth studio album, Outlive, on Solid State Records on March 31, 2017. In December 2016, they released the first single for Outlive: "Cold Winter Sun". On February 15, 2017, they announced that a music video for their second single "Died In My Sleep" would be released.
On December 3, 2018 they announced two albums—War and Peace—were scheduled to be released in March 2019. Demon Hunter released both albums on March 1, 2019. On March 16, 2019, the two albums made it into top 5 of the Billboard Christian Albums with War in the second place and Peace in the third place.
Don Clark stated, "I guess we liked to ride the fence. Then we got a little older, maybe wiser, and you know what, we're a Christian band. We're five dudes, we're all believers, we really don't want to ride the fence anymore." Ryan Clark claimed, "When we officially started we wanted to be very bold about it, we didn't see any purpose of just beating around the bush." Fans who are Christians are supportive of the band's bold faith position. "They respect that we don't walk the fence between a non-Christian and Christian band." Similarly, non-Christian bands and fans reportedly respect the band for their honesty about their faith.
Reported use by military
According to an Esquire interview, after Metallica requested that the US military stop using their music during interrogations in Iraq, Demon Hunter allegedly contacted the US military offering their music as an alternative which was accepted. A Navy SEAL who claimed to have killed Bin Laden was quoted as saying "'[W]e stopped using [Metallica's] music, and then a band called Demon Hunter got in touch and said, 'We're all about promoting what you do.' They sent us CDs and patches. I wore my Demon Hunter patch on every mission. I wore it when I blasted bin Laden.'" The day after the story broke, Demon Hunter addressed the situation by saying they approved US servicemen wearing their patch, but they didn't volunteer their music, nor did they have any knowledge of it being used for interrogations.