Sound — 8
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.
Lyrics — 9
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.
Overall Impression — 8
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.