On the 12th Day of...
By Andy Argyrakis, senior music editor, GospelMusicChannel.com
Demon Hunter documentary
Given Demon Hunter's status as one of the hardcore rock genre's most popular acts (alongside Underoath and Norma Jean), it's no surprise that the pummeling quintet's latest release pulls out all the punches. 45 Days (Solid State) is actually a triple disc set featuring two DVDs (one's a documentary and the other a concert), plus a live CD culled from 2008's "Stronger Than Hell" tour. It's certainly an ambitious collection, especially considering the behind-the-scenes disc compiles footage from all 45 days of the tour!
"In terms of production, I really feel that this documentary is unrivaled in the metal world," frontman Ryan Clark tells GospelMusicChannel.com. "It's beautifully shot, well- edited and has a story line and a point – it's not just cheap camera footage of us goofing off on the road. It has moments of humor and fun, but it's also very emotional at times. It's a deeper look into the lives of our fans and their stories and our unique relationship with them."
Indeed, Demon Hunter is extremely dedicated to its fans (as chronicled throughout 45 Days), with several scenes revolving around listeners sharing remarkably moving stories about how the band's impacted them over the years. But there are also plenty of light- hearted moments (well, maybe "less serious but still intense" would be a more fitting descriptor). The group performs a blistering, career-spanning set carried by Clark's militant shouts and screams, complemented by visually arresting angles (on the DVD) and thunderous mixing (on the CD).
"We spared no expense on this portion of the release," Clark continues of the concert discs. "JR McNeely (Relient K, Underoath), who mixed the first two Demon Hunter records, recorded and mixed the live set in Nashville and he did an amazing job. It sounds nice and huge, but it maintains a natural live feel. The footage is great as well. We had quite a few cameras, shooting all kinds of cool footage, both hand-held and on sweeping cranes in the middle of the venue. I think this portion of the release definitely adds to the overall quality."
Project "Yuletide" 86
Project 86 certainly shares that hard rock spirit, but its latest release turns to Christmastime. Though the group's far from the first to release a holiday project this season, it's safe to say This Time of Year EP (Tooth & Nail) is in a class of its own (sure to resonate with fans of P.O.D. or Blindside as opposed to more obvious Yuletide torchbearers like Johnny Mathis or Bing Crosby).~(continued from page 1)
"It's definitely not just Christmas cover songs – this is something people can play year-round," explains singer/screamer Andrew Schwab. "The holiday theme does not detract from the fact that this is a Project 86 release. We recorded the single 'This Time of Year' as an experiment to see if we, as a rock band, could pull it off [because] there have been many attempts by rock bands to do Christmas tunes, but it's usually pretty difficult to do...There are several original songs and the 'cover' element has definitely been re-interpreted. There are a good variety of fast songs and slow, heavy jams."
A conversation with the charismatic leader can't be complete without getting a sneak back at the band's plans for 2009 and Schwab is quick to oblige. "We are hard at work on a new album, which we will record in the beginning of 2009 and should be out in April or May," he unveils. "We will be hitting the Christian festival circuit hard along with putting together major touring around the release, which we hope will be more inspiring than ever before."
DecembeRadio rocks around the Christmas tree
Though the DecembeRadio camp always seems to be brimming with news these days, one of the most recent accolades includes topping Gospel Music Channel's rock slot in its "Best of the Best" critic's picks list. Not only has the announcement gained the band tons of traction, but it's also been amongst this very website's most frequently browsed articles to date. "We are very excited to get the respect and support of the Gospel Music Channel," shares Eric Miker of the highly coveted position. "It's also great to be honored by a channel that I personally watch!"
Outside of celebrating that victory, the shred-heavy foursome just put the finishing touches on its first ever Christmas EP Comfort and Joy (Slanted), which can be found exclusively at online retail. "You get one guitar-soaked rocker with 'Run Run Rudolph,' a worshipful tune with 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and then a little mellow Muzak with the instrumental version of 'Away in a Manger' done completely on a Fender Strat," echoes Miker with a tongue-in-cheek tone. "We always wish we had a few Christmas tunes worked up when this time of year comes around, so we thought it would be cool to record them for everyone to enjoy."
About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Entertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He's also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel's very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).
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