Demon Hunter: 20 Years in Exile – Live in Nashville 04.29.2023

On the evening of April 29th I had the opportunity to catch Demon Hunter on the last night of the second leg of their 20 Years in Exile tour. When the tour was announced I was already anticipating attending. However, when it was announced that Living Sacrifice would be joining the bill I knew this was a must given the scarcity of Living Sacrifice playing shows. I knew this very could be the only opportunity to catch them live.

Opponent had been the opener for both the first and second leg of this tour and definitely seemed to be a good fit as they have a fairly similar sound to Demon Hunter and are on Demon Hunter’s former label, Solid State Records. While their energy was solid their set, which consisted of almost their entire debut album, seemed a bit long and just didn’t feel like it transcending well from the studio versions. There is definitely some room for growth and I am intrigued to see what the band has to offer going forward.

After a quick set change Living Sacrifice took the stage and you would never believe that these guys have been doing this for 30+ years. They opened with the appropriately placed “Reborn Empowered” which was followed by “Symbiotic.” While their set time seemed short in comparison they still managed to rip through a total of eight tracks that included “Hand of the Dead,” “Imminent War,” “Local Vengeance Killing,” “Bloodwork” and “Despair.” It was a semi diverse setlist that concluded with the highly anticipated “Reject” which really got the crowd moving.

After another short set change Demon Hunter was ready to take the stage. What made this tour/set so special is that they were playing tracks spanning their entire 21 year career as a band. This included tracks from their first four albums that don’t make their way in to the set as often since they have 11 albums worth of material to pull from. They opened with “Silence the World” off of their 2022 release, Exile which is an interesting choice given it is not as fast paced as other tracks on that specific album or in their overall catalog. The set kicked in to full gear as they followed with “On My Side,” “Collapsing,” “The Negative” and “Cold Winter Sun” before ripping in to “Freedom Is Dead” which is also from Exile.

At this point in the set is where things shifted back and covered ground spanning from their self-titled debut through Extremist that included “Infected,” “Not Ready To Die,” “Undying,” “Fading Away,” “The Heart of a Graveyard,” “Dead Flowers,” “The Last One Alive” and “I Am A Stone” before bringing things back to current with “Heaven Don’t Cry” and “Master.” The set was then rounded out with “Jesus Wept,” “I Will Fail You” and “More Than Bones” before closing things out in grand fashion with “Storm the Gates of Hell.” Overall, it was a spectacular set spanning their entire career. My only qualm was the missed opportunity to play “Sixteen” seeing that Bruce from Living Sacrifice was featured on the track and it has not been on their setlist since they toured together back in 2008 (which was later featured on the Live in Nashville album).

It was a great night and despite dealing with a double ear infection I was able to enjoy myself. Getting to see Living Sacrifice was a bit of a bucket list item for me and seeing them with Demon Hunter just added to the experience as I have been a fan of Demon Hunter since their self-titled debut. If you are a fan and have yet to get the opportunity to see them live make the effort. It will be well worth your time.

If you’re interested in checking out the full setlist for the evening from all the bands you can check out this Spotify playlist.

You can connect with the bands via their various social media platforms.

Opponent – Facebook and Instagram

Living Sacrifice – Facebook and Instagram

Demon Hunter – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Photo Credit: Phil Hawkins & James Carlton

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