Demon Hunter Biography
Formation and Self-titled Album (2000-2003)
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 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, on lead guitar.
Summer of Darkness, The Triptych, Storm the Gates of Hell (2004-2007)
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 Tim "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 (The O.C. Supertones (Guitar), The Dingees (Drums)) 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 (As I Lay Dying, Lamb of God, Zao).
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.
Stronger Than Hell Tour (2008–2009)
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, entitled "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 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.
Following the completion of the "Stronger Than Hell" tour, the band began work for the first annual "Huntour." The mini-tour was planned for three nights between August 12 and 15, 2009 with supporting acts Heiress, 7 Horns 7 Eyes, Throwdown, Living Sacrifice, The Crucified, The Great Commission, Focused, and Faith Snakes.
On August 12, 2009 in Seattle, WA at El Corazón Demon Hunter announced that Don Clark had left the band to pursue his graphic designer career and to be with his family. Demon Hunter also announced that they were heading back into studio in October to record their next album. It was revealed that Ethan 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 Ethan. However, the statement made no mention of Randy Torres's joining the band; a new band photograph included him as well.
The World Is a Thorn (2010-2011)
In late August 2009, Ryan Clark posted the following about their fifth studio album on the official Demon Hunter webpage:
"At this point, I would say about 90% of the music has been written, and probably about 40% of the lyrics/melodies. As cliché as it can be to say, the album is shaping up to be heavier, faster, and more aggressive than previous Demon Hunter material (and there might be a ballad or two in there for good measure). As always, we're doing our best to maintain the classic DH sound, all while introducing some new and exciting ideas to keep things exciting."
The band started work with producer Aaron Sprinkle and mixer Jason Suecof for their new album.
On December 16, 2009, 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 features guest vocals by Dave Peters of Throwdown in "Feel As Though You Could" and Christian Älvestam of Miseration in "Just Breathe". 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."
In January 2012 it was announced on the Solid State Records website that Jeremiah Scott, bassist for The Showdown, has joined the band in the position of rhythm guitar. It was also announced that the band would be releasing a new album scheduled for release on April 10, 2012. It was produced by Aaron Sprinkle, who has produced all of their other studio albums, and mixed by Jason Suecof, who also mixed The World Is a Thorn.
True Defiance (2012–13)
On February 7, the band announced that their sixth album would be titled True Defiance and released April 10, 2012.
The album become 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. While recording the album, Ryan Clark said "This record is without a doubt our most aggressive. 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 band's prime years are long behind them. I refuse to let that be the case for us. We've been extremely underwhelmed with metal for the last five years or so, and that's been the fuel to create this record. 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."
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". The deluxe edition also included:
The full "True Defiance" album
DVD featuring over an hour of interviews, in-depth song discussions & acoustic performances
5-inch metal "True Defiance" pendant, housed in a custom holder
20-page large format photo booklet
12 individual lyric cards, each with an accompanying illustration printed in metallic ink
2-sided fold out poster featuring both regular edition album covers
All contained in a heavy duty 7-inch x 7-inch box
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 counties 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 a new album titled Extremist, which is expected to be 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. On February 25, "The Last One Alive", was released through Solid State Records' channel. "I Will Fail You" was released on March 4, 2014.