Released: Mar 9, 2010
Genre: Metalcore, Alternative Metal
Label: Solid State
Number Of Tracks: 11
Founding guitarist Don Clark exited the band, but Demon Hunter still dole out crunchy Christian metal that fans of Sepultura and Machine Head will flock to.
The World Is A Thorn
UG Team, on march 12, 2010 14 of 15 people found this review helpful
Sound: For a band that never, ever tours, Demon Hunter sure are prolific, with their releases. They've issued five albums since 2002, yet they rarely hit the road to peddle their wares, because vocalist Ryan Clark and his brother, guitarist Don, run a successful graphic design firm. So the day jobs are too good to abandon in favor of the band. Until now. For The World is a Thorn, Demon Hunter are down a Clark brother, but they are no worse for it. While we will miss Don Clark and his riff-tastic-ness, the band hasn't lost a step or missed a beat. The album, like Lamb of Gods's epic Wrath, gets better as you delve deeper into; later cuts are stronger than the ones that precede them, which is not to say the earlier tracks are weak. They band just back-loaded the album with excellent tracks throughout and there is absolutely no fillers here. The gloomy ballad Driving Nails is followed by the title track, which operates at a punk rock speed and positions itself as the fastest and most br00tal song that Demon Hunter has ever laid at our feet. That song, track six, is followed by Tie This Around Your Neck, a chunky, choppy, mid-tempo song that has a guitar tone and punch that instantly reminds me of Roots-era Sepultura or The More Things Change-era Machine Head. While many Christian metal bands pledge their allegiance to the core, as in metalcore, Demon Hunter strays far from that path. This is straight up, aggressive metal. Collapsing has a cool, synthy opening that makes it a standout track, as well. That synth part recurs later in the song, too, and adds an extra dimension to an already interesting song. There are some breakdowns and moshy parts, but never fret or fear. You will be headbanging, too. // 9
Lyrics: Ryan Clark knows how to handle a melody and he employs two vocal styles: melodic/clean and talk-scream. His band does not shy away from their Christian associations whatsoever, but his lyrics, coupled with his delivery and the music contained within, are never limiting for a secular audience. The guest appearances Bjorn Speed Strid of Soilwork and Dave Peters of Throwdown on Collapsing and Feel as Though You Could, respectively, add another element of surprise and fierceness to the songs. The vocal melodies and the chorus on Collapsing single this song out as a potential single and illustrate the band's infectiousness. Demon Hunter have a knack for big, powerful melodic choruses and they don't disappoint on The World is a Thorn. // 9
Overall Impression: Demon Hunter have always handed fans mid-tempo metal that is as catchy as it is heavy. They don't sacrifice one element in favor of another. The result is unforgettable metal albums that are under the influence of mid-1990s Roadrunner-style metal, which Ryan Clark himself had readily admitted. Now if only we could just get them to tour more often // 9
The World Is A Thorn
millarso, on march 12, 2010 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: The anticipated follow-up to Storm The Gates of Hell, The World Is A Thorn follows in the same vein. The Demon Hunter sound is hard to pinpoint. A good chunk of their songs are the crushingly heavy, raw sounds that one would expect from a metal band, while at the same time one can also find ballad-like numbers and beautiful melodies intermingled. The lead singer, Ryan Clark is known for his quick transitions from ragged, angry vocals to clean, melodic vocals. Patrick Judge(lead) and Ryan Helm(rhythm) cover the guitar work on this album in place of Don Clark and Ethan Luck(drummer, Relient K), who most fans would be familiar with. Although fresh to the lineup, these two provide some good riffage and actually bring some good solos to the table, which is something generally not present on other Demon Hunter titles. Jon Dunn keeps a steady rhythm on the base, while the drums, done by Timothy "Yogi" Watts (also drummer for The Showdown), maintain a consistent yet furious beat. The album was mixed by Aaron Sprinkle, who seems to have balanced everything out fairly well. Here's a song-by-song breakdown.
01. Descending Upon Us: good opening via guitar prelude, from the first growl you can tell that this song is going to be fast and angry. Lots of dark spoken word, good breakdown around 3:50, interesting use of bells with percussion.
02. Lifewar: heavy and chugging, a little misplaced in comparison with first song. Drumming sounds sort of machine-like. Average song and a little different from other DH material.
03. Collapsing: hard-hitting beat, Catchy chorus and powerful riffing. Dimebag-stylized solo at 2:26. One of the album highlights.
04. This Is The Line: haunting intro, whole song has a dark tone, good instrumental at 2:30.
05. Driving Nails: ballad-like, orchestration gives it a somber and epic tone, both mellow and powerful, for those who liked "Thorns" and "Carry Me Down", from their last album.
06. The World Is A Thorn: fast and unrelenting, rapid fire tremolo-picking throughout, slightly repetitive.
07. Tie This Around Your Neck: seethingly angry sound, good cutoffs in verses and good vocal melody in chorus. Breakdown at 2:27.
08. Just Breathe: synth complements track well, catchy prechorus/chorus, vocally versatile, good solo at 2:45.
09. Shallow Water: traditional metal drum intro, good chorus, the wailing guitar part while creative can be painful for casual listening at times. Average track.
10. Feel As Though You Could: good harmony in prechorus, the song is nothing special musically, tortured growling at the end of song.
11. Blood In The Tears: another ballad, suffers from a lack of energy, another average track.
This album uses a lot of electronic sound with it, which might be off-putting to some, but I thought it complemented the music well. Unfortunately, it suffers from a poor close that could leave the listener waiting for something more. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics range anywhere from catchy to semi-lifeless on this album. The focus of the lyrics are focused on how toilsome the struggle of life can be, but they also try to display hope and confidence. Being definitively Christian, a lot of the lyrics are also about being a Christian in a world that largely denies the religion's authenticity. An example of a catchy song on the album would be "Tie This Around Your Neck". The lyrics are very in your face and controversial. The chorus is relating giving in to the normalities of the world to unwittingly hanging oneself. An example of dry, lifeless lyrics would be "Feel As Though You Could". The title words in the chorus don't carry very much meaning in the context they are used in the song, and phrases like "Burn this down!" are sort of cliched and overused in this song.
This album focuses a lot on the different aspects of Ryan Clark's vocal ability. He uses everything in his arsenal including raspy barks, angry growls, sharp cleans, and even several darkly delivered spoken words reminiscent of the spoken words on a Disturbed song. On top of Ryan's outstanding vocal ability, he is accompanied on a handful of songs by a star-studded cast of guests. These include Bjorn Strid (Soilwork)on "Collapsing", Christian Alvestam (Miseration, ex-Scar Symmetry) on "Just Breathe", and Dave Peters (Throwdown) on "Feel As Though You Could". // 7
Overall Impression: When all is said and done, this is a pretty solid album, especially when one looks at the recent lineup changes made prior to its recording. It is sort of a natural evolution from Storm The Gates of Hell. If I had to give you my favorite songs, I would probably say that "Collapsing", "Just Breathe", "Tie This Around Your Neck", and "Driving Nails" stick out the most to me. They did a good job of adding some creative elements into their music with this album, but lack lyrical variance and depth at times. Production-wise, it seemed well mixed, except I thought that some of the lower end riffs on some songs could have a later punch. If this were stolen or lost, I would probably be pretty pissed off, but if I had imported them to my computer, I don't know that I would go for another physical copy. Solid, but not mindblowing overall. // 8
The World Is A Thorn
unregistered, on march 12, 2010 0 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Ah, after a two and a half year wait, Demon Hunter returns with what they promised to be their "heaviest, yet most melodic" record yet. This album delivers in spades of both. Tracks such as "Driving Nails" and "Blood in the Tears" are melodic ballads that are possibly the softest material from the band yet. But the title track to the album (yes, there is a title track) could very well be a song from Pantera or, dare I say, Slayer. The tempo is distinctly remeniscient of thrash metal, and just as heavy.
Now, on to the sound. Yes, the album is noticably mixed to put emphasis on the vocals, but the guitars are more technical here than in any past Demon Hunter record. This is especially prevalent on "Just Breathe", which features a very impressive sweeping section. This record is fast, heavy, and although it does have ballads that the record could do without, it is definitively the heaviest record brought forth from the Seattle band. // 8
Lyrics: Oh, the lyrics. Demon Hunter has never been known for deep, philosophical lyrics. But there is a different aire on this record. This record is written with a more angry feel to the record. Two songs released prior to the release of the record showcase this perfectly. "The World Is a Thorn" and "Tie This Around Your Neck", respectively say; "The gavel has fallen, along with the rest/Are we expected to settle for this?/Bring us the plague, lead us away." And; "This is the age of the dead/The generation of the pagan and self-led/You can feel the bones shatter beneath your feet/the blood of lust staining our teeth/We feed on pain, delusion, the filth of the modern plague/And in this reign on Godlessnes, the heathens will say/Tie this around your neck".
Ryan Clark started his career as a decent vocalist. However, he has made significant improvement on each record, and on this one he is phenomenal. On the song "Collapsing", he reaches high notes that he has never shown on any DH record. // 9
Overall Impression: Demon Hunter is a very unique artist, blending vocals remeniscient of nu-metal or thrash metal with metalcore. Comparing it to other artists of their genre, Demon Hunter stands out. Of the record, the most impressive songs are "Collapsing", "Just Breathe", "The World is a Thorn", "Feel As Though You Could", and "Descending Upon Us". If this record were to be stolen, I would just burn off another copy, because I have the album downloaded onto my computer. // 8
The World Is A Thorn
bagpipemetal, on march 15, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: I've been a fan of Demon Hunter's Melodic, Hardcore infused, Metal since I picked up "Storm The Gates Of Hell" in '07 I also bought their other three albums and have more or less liked them all. One thing that I always wished that they would do is include more solo's in their songs, but Don and Ethan just didn't seem the soloing types. Don and Ethan left the band last year and I was worried that this would adversely effect the band for the worse. It Didn't. The new album has much more of a Thrash feeling than the older CD's, There's a solo on almost every song, (The Ones on Collapsing and This Is The Line Are my Favorites) The harmonized Guitar intro to 'Descending Upon Us' is also really good. They even throw in some gang vocals on 'This is The Line' which shows their hardcore influence but overall I'd say this is the most 'metal' album demon hunter has done so far, I only wish the songs were a bit longer. // 9
Lyrics: Ryan Clark's lyrics have always been more taking a view of life from a Christian perspective than praise and worship, providing lyrics that Most everyone, Christian or Not, can relate too. His Vocals on this album are the best that they've ever been. His screaming has expanded to the lower and higher registers while his singing is the best it's ever been. That's one of the things I've always loved about DH, their vocalist can sing really well as well as screaming. Their are guest vocals on this album but I don't feel that they added much to the overall sound. // 10
Overall Impression: Overall I'd say this is Demon Hunters best album, The guitars have improved greatly, the Vocals have improved, the drums have a more groove metal feel to them and you can actually hear the bass in the mix now.
Favorite songs are: Descending upon Us, This Is The Line, Collapsing, and The String mix of Driving Nails (Which is why you need to get the deluxe edition) LifeWar is probably the worst song on the record, it's too short and really choppy. // 9