Artist: Demon Hunter
Title: “45 Days”
Label: Solid State Records
Release Date: 11/24/2008
Genre: Christian Metalcore
“45 Days” is a documentary film that follows Christian Metalcore’s Demon Hunter for the duration of one of their tours. The name of the film is the same length as the tour run if you were curious and it was done during what had been noted as the bands most ambitious tours to date. This release is bound to please the bands fans based on the amount of stuff that there is to enjoy in the package. It’s actually more than just the film segment and is broken up into three discs with the first is the documentary “45 Days”. The second DVD included captures the band in concert while the third is an audio CD of music that we hear small bits of during the film. Since there are three distinct parts to examine with this release we have broken it up into three separate parts to make better sense of it.
Documentary Film DVD: The film runs just under 100 minutes and was directed by Cale Glendening and it’s a pretty decent look inside the bands head as they are in the middle of this tour. It is shot in black and white and doesn’t really feature as much music as one would expect in a band documentary, but since the film includes a second DVD with a full concert performance we shall forgive them on that omission. Essentially this is a lot of talking with the band about why they are doing this for and how they formed it to be a band with a little bit more of a message of hope as opposed to despair. The band members themselves are Christians so the message they believe in is transferred to the audience in their music. The film includes a lot of commentary from the fans of the group and each of them offers up just what the band has meant to them in their life. There are a couple of moving segments where the family and friends of two particular fans of the group who are deceased are discussed. Their families line out just how special the music of Demon Hunter was to the person and how they helped to broadcast the bands message while they were alive. The band seems to have known the individuals as well and dedicates performances to them during the film. I found this rather moving and felt that it is a good thing for the memory of a person to live on in the music they loved with those friends who they had left behind. Of course the film is not all sorrow and reflection and there are some amusing moments like the piece where one of the crew creates a Black Metal band identity and acts it out in front of the guys. This goes over safely since no one from Gorgoroth or Dark Funeral was anywhere near the filming. I guess it’s safe to assume that Black Metal bands poke fun at the Christian acts so turnabout is fair play. My only criticism was that there are segments where the film can seem like it is moving a little bit slower than I would have liked it to. It’s a long film at 100 minutes and if you are not interested early this might bore you. Having limited background in them before this release allowed me the ability to still enjoy the film and ones belief structure really didn’t need to be a concern here because nothing about the film was overtly preaching to me about what I should or should not do. They are just lining out what they are about as a band and as individuals and their fans are responding in kind.
Live Concert DVD: Intro, Storm The Gates Of Hell, Lead Us Home, Ribcage, I Am You, Carry Me Down, Fading Away, The Soldiers Song, Follow The Wolves, Undying, Infected, Sixteen, My Heartstrings Come Undone, Not I, Not Ready To Die.
*** The live concert portion of this release is worth the price of admission alone, because it is not some hack job of including bootleg footage but instead is a multi-camera shoot that seems to have been recorded through the soundboard and hence offers the viewer quality audio as well as visual stimulus. Having never seen the band in concert before I felt this was the next best thing and I was glad they included it because the Demon Hunter stuff is very well composed. It’s more Melodic Metalcore than the straight ahead stuff that is hard to figure out. I admit that I enjoyed much of the concert with particular favorites falling to songs like “Storm the Gates of Hell” which was super heavy and thundering and the “Soldiers Song” which is dedicated to our fighting forces. There are a couple of commercially viable tunes in “Carry Me Down” and “Fading Away” and though I don’t expect to hear them on the radio, I am sure the satellites will have some channel that entertains this particular genre demographic. The band is fronted by founder and singer Ryan Clark who has a great rapport with the fans and this can be felt as the concert piece runs on. It was interesting to hear them announce the opening acts for this particular show, as they were preceded by Living Sacrifice who is another Christian band that was apparently influential to a larger scene and even Demon Hunter. There are fourteen songs to enjoy from the concert which amounts to a full set by my account and the show was filmed in Nashville, TN. I could not tell from the crowd if any slamming or moshing was going on because Christian band or not, these guys have the riffs that inspire such activity. The show was done in support of their acclaimed “Storm The Gates Of Hell” CD which is also available on Solid State Records.
Audio CD: The audio CD inclusion features all original music that was composed for the film and while much of it is instrumental and atmospheric tracks there are two vocal tracks at the end which are different takes on two of the bands existing songs. I liked hearing a couple of their tunes in this acoustic simplified fashion as this is not often done with a Metalcore type of band. As far as the other tunes, while they were pleasant on the ear, they ended up coming off to me as background stuff or “head music” which is the kind of thing I would expect to listen to while working out or being in some sort of contemplative state as opposed to loading them on my player and walking around the town.
Summing it up, this was a really great release and one that I can easily recommend to your conventional Metal head as well as those who indulge in the more theological aspect of their Metal. After all, it wasn’t only Christian Rock fans that listened to Stryper. Fans of Demon Hunter might also want to turn their attention over to Metal Mind Productions who earlier this year released remastered editions of the Extreme Metal band Mortification who is also a much lauded band for this genre.
Track Listing CD:
1. Closing In
2. Loose The Hounds
3. Ours Alone
4. The Deep
5. Dust And Smoke
6. Purified In The Storm
7. The Scars We Don’t See
9. Fading Away (acoustic)
10. Carry Me Down (piano version)