Review : Demon Hunter - The World Is a Thorn
PopmattersDemon Hunter is one of the most stalwart bands in the modern metal scene, a model of perseverance in the face of adversity. This is a band with only two of its founding members left in the lineup, and all members, new and old, are involved in other projects, be they other bands, businesses, or jobs within the music industry. Thus, fans are lucky to see Demon Hunter tour once a year, if that much. However, despite their other commitments, the band manages to release albums on a consistent basis no matter what, and on top of that, each album they release expands on their previous work, making it stronger and more original. The World is a Thorn is no exception. On this, their fifth album, Demon Hunter have managed to top 2007’s beyond-excellent Storm the Gates of Hell and set themselves well above their peers in the metalcore scene once again....full text
Ultimate-guitarSound: 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 and Singing: 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...full text
ThenewreviewThere’s something…different about this new Demon Hunter. Maybe it’s just been so long since I’ve delved into their music (to be honest, the last of their albums I gave more than a second spin to was Summer of Darkness) but this doesn’t feel like the Demon Hunter I know. It’s voracious, angry, and dark. It grips by the throat and doesn’t let go even as you’re begging for release. Don’t take that as evidence long-term fans shouldn’t like this. Oh, they should. This is Demon Hunter at their evolutionary peak, an amalgam of every iteration, every sound they’ve committed to 0’s and 1’s and it’s fantastic.
I am aware of the many changes the band has undergone since they first appeared on This is Solid State eight years ago, but every album has generally stuck to the “legacy” style. Not this one so much. Perhaps it’s the infusion and growth of the more recently joined members. Perhaps it’s the evolution of the scene in general (and a friendly competition with fellow-Christian metal stalwarts Living Sacrifice). Regardless, it only takes one listen to the title track to realize that Demon Hunter is coming out of the gate swinging on The World is a Thorn.
Many parts of this album remind me a lot of Soul Embraced’s later efforts (when they dropped the death metal schtick for a more balanced sound). Many more parts of this album remind me of Embodyment’s first album (a perfect mix of heavy and light/melody). With Clark still belting out the vocals, just about all parts of this album remind me of everything else Demon Hunter’s done. And then, there’s the slight feeling (very slight) that I’m listening to a Mushroomhead album. Clark’s yells and spoken parts do favor Jeffrey Nothing’s and that’s not necessarily a bad thing....full text
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