Long-running alt-metal crew Demon Hunter have always had more than a few sides to them. The dudes know how to go hard, no question, but as fans know, they're far from one trick ponies. They showcased this artistic diversity by recently issuing not one but two albums, the simultaneously released and thematically intertwined War and Peace. The former record sees the group fully embracing its mosh-pit-inclined proclivities, while the latter is softer and more melodic and introspective. It's no surprise then, considering Demon Hunter's creative range, that frontman Ryan Clarke's musical taste should encompass a lot more than just metal and hardcore. Indeed, when we asked him to list five albums he loves that might surprise fans, he jumped at the opportunity to share some non-metal records that could connect with his fellow metalheads. Check out his picks below.
Placebo has been one of my favorite bands since their album Without You I'm Nothing. I love Brian Molko's voice. I love his quirky lyrics. I love his melody with bleak subject matter. I've always loved the simplicity of a three-piece band that can fill a massive space — see Biffy Clyro, Barkmarket, Doves.
Speaking of three-piece bands, Doves are another outfit that I've always loved. Vocal duties are shared between Jimi Goodwin and Jez Williams, whose voices comprise an interesting range. I've always gravitated more to songs that Jimi sings. I love his laid-back candor. This band is a great representation of simple yet effective melodies and structures that are equal parts beautiful and haunting.
"X-French Tee Shirt" was the band's biggest "hit," and first song that I heard by Shudder. Over time I became a bit obsessed with Craig Wedren's voice and his subsequent solo work for many film and TV spots. Chances are, if David Wane, Michael Ian Black or Michael Showalter have anything to do with it, Craig is involved in the songwriting. His vibrato was infectious for me — his and Martin Gore's from Depeche Mode — and these two are quite possibly the reason I've naturally adapted a bit of an unruly vibrato to my own singing.
Kent was my favorite all-time band for a long time. The Swedish band released two English-translated albums in the Nineties (Isola and Hagnesta Hill), which were both absolutely incredible. They garnered a very niche fan base of 30/40-something indie rockers here in the states, but have remained a bit of a household name in their home country, thus resulting in a slew of Swedish-only releases — both language/lyrics and distribution — into the Aughts. They broke up just a few years ago, and admittedly I'd lost touch over the years. I always loved the music — even when I couldn't understand the words — and Kent will always have a very special place in my heart.
I love dance music. I'm a bit selective, but overall it's something that appeals to me quite a bit. I prefer groups with a "most of the time" lead vocal and something of a more typical song structure — Nero, Health, Man Without Country, Royksopp — as well as something of a heaviness in their sound. The Presets are not the heaviest group within those mentioned, but their melodies are insanely infectious to me. "Fall" and "Promises" from the Pacifica record always make me want to dance like no one's watching.