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The Dear Hunter - "Migrant" (CD)

The Dear Hunter - "Migrant" CD cover image

"Migrant" track listing:

1. Bring You Down
2. Whisper
3. Shame
4. An Escape
5. Shouting at the Rain
6. The Kiss of Life
7. Girl
8. Cycles
9. Sweet Naiveté
10. Let Go
11. This Vicious Place
12. Don't Look Back

Reviewed by on April 13, 2013

"Fans of heavier and more technical work might be disappointed at first glance, but there are many interesting moments on 'Migrant' that allow this record to go further than that of your average 'heavy-gone-soft' rock band."

In today’s world and with the state of the modern music industry it is now commonplace for a band to leave the heavier or more technical roots behind in favor of a radio-friendly approach to music. Metallica, Queensryche, All That Remains and countless others have made the leap from metal to rock. Sometimes it works but most times, it doesn’t. The Dear Hunter on the other hand has managed to trim away the band’s heavier prog-rock leanings and craft a record that never knocks you out, but often leaves you grinning nonetheless.

While The Dear Hunter was never a full-on extreme metal act there were plenty of songs on past records that packed quite a punch. “In Cauda Venenum” from “Act III: Life and Death” comes to mind instantly. However on the band’s latest release, “Migrant,” the band maintains a portion of its prog-rock integrity without packing that distorted punch. Some may not like the end result, but the twelve songs offered on “Migrant” provide many interesting journeys through different sounds and layers, while also containing those catchy melodies that stick in your head for days.

The Dear Hunter has always been skilled at incorporating strings and pianos into the music, even on the heaviest of songs, and on “Migrant” this fusion works exceptionally due to the more mellow tone of the tracks. Songs such as “Bring You Down” and “Whisper,” the first two cuts on the record, demonstrate this exceptional song-writing ability very well. “Whisper” is without question the most accessible of the songs on “Migrant” but it is written so well that it will quickly become a favorite, even to those that despise mainstream sounds.

As the record moves on it does tend to feel a bit familiar and doesn’t keep your attention as well as past records, but “Migrant” should not be abandoned after a single listen. “Cycles” turns into quite a great track and album closer “Don’t Look Back” will have fans of Porcupine Tree and modern-era Katatonia coming back again and again.

When “Migrant” comes to a close it may not leave that striking impression that past albums have, but certain tracks will keep calling back to you, begging for repeated listens. Fans of heavier and more technical work might be disappointed at first glance, but there are many interesting moments on “Migrant” that allow this record to go further than that of your average “heavy-gone-soft” rock band, although not too much further.

Highs: Exceptional use of strings, pianos and creative drum patterns.

Lows: Some songs tend to feel a bit familiar near the middle of the record. Without the string and piano elements the album would be a flop.

Bottom line: A fitting record for those moments when you need something a little less heavy to listen to.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)