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In their new video for More Than Bones, Demon Hunter show fans a side of them not often seen.
For a band who are often lumped into by-the-numbers niches, Demon Hunter always have a trick up their sleeve. The Seattle quintet were part of the metalcore boom of the mid-2000s, but managed to surpass the trend with a mixture of raw aggression and creative chops. They’ve long been listed under the "Christian metal" label, but have taken a more thoughtful and nuanced approach to their faith than most heshers are used to. Now, after releasing two albums simultaneously -- the melodic, listenable Peace and the crushing, merciless War -- the band find themselves on the Billboard charts...twice. While plenty of bands rest on their laurels almost twenty years on, Demon Hunter are still full of surprises.
Case in point, the band’s new video for More Than Bones, the opening track from Peace, will almost definitely raise an eyebrow or two among their fanbase. The track is certainly more melodic and catchy than most Demon Hunter listeners will be used to, but even more surprising is how bright and optimistic the video itself is. The performance footage here shows the band in front of flowing white sheets, with frontman Ryan Clark staring thoughtfully into the camera as he sings about his musical legacy carrying him on past this physical life.
Ryan took a moment to talk to us about the ideas behind the song, the message of the video, and Demon Hunter’s choice to use two albums to draw a hard line between light and darkness.
Tell me behind the concept behind the song. What do you leave behind that’s “more than bones?”
I was thinking of what an amazing thing music is, and the idea of preserving someone’s life beyond their death. There have been a lot of musicians' deaths over the last few years that I’d started thinking about, whether that was Bowie or Prince or Waylon or Chris Cornell, and I thought, despite how tragic it is to lose those people, how awesome it is to have this catalog of music from each of those people. There might be people generations from now who listen to this music, and it really helps them and changes their life in some positive way. So More Than Bones is basically saying that when I leave this earth, I’ll leave you more than bones -- I’ll leave you all of my thoughts, and all of my hopes and dreams and my desire to connect and resonate with people through this music.
How did the More Than Bones video come about? Obviously, this isn’t your typical Demon Hunter video.
It’s kind of a counterpart of the first video we did, for On My Side. It was strictly a performance video, but in On My Side it’s dark, and you can barely see our faces. This one is bright, with light juxtaposed against the darkness of the old video.
It’s interesting to think of the two music videos as being mirrors to each other, the same way the albums are.
That’s always been kind of the plan with these. We don’t want to give one record prominence over the other. We wanted to both bolster them simultaneously, but also play with the dark and light components of those things as much as we can. It’s definitely not a concept record, but when we can add a little concept to them, it always feels like that works well.
Was that always the plan with these two records -- to create this interplay of dark and light?
With doing these two albums simultaneously, the goal was always to do one that was decidedly more heavy, and one that showed a range south of heavy. We didn’t want to do an all-out barn-burner record and an all-out acoustic record. So the Peace record has a pretty broad range of straightforward rock stuff, some mid-range stuff, and even just some stripped-down piano driven stuff. More Than Bones was right down the middle -- for us, it’s got an upbeat tempo, it has an AFI-ish kind of thing. You can even hear some of the electronically-tinged stuff that we do from time to time. This one was written by our guitarist Patrick, with lyrics and melodies by me. It was the one that kind of stuck out to us as one that felt like it had some legs for radio or video.
Watch Demon Hunter’s More Than Bones video below:
Demon Hunter’s War and Peace are both available now via Solid State Records.