Demon Hunter
The World Is a Thorn


3.5
great

Review

by Josh Fountain CONTRIBUTOR (64 Reviews)
March 6th, 2010 | 97 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Demon Hunter releases an album that stands up to the best in their catalog due to improved consistency and songwriting

Demon Hunter seems to have thrived on a lack of progression. Their last effort Storm the Gates of Hell was an exercise in mediocrity and had the feel of a B-sides album for The Triptych. It was a largely forgettable album that showed a band that needed desperately to move forward with their sound, as stagnancy was dragging them down. Ryan Clark continued to prove that his clean vocals were fantastic and that his harsh vocals were one-dimensional and needed to be layered due to how weak they were. The best songs on Storm the Gates of Hell were the ones that let Clark sing, as his singing voice has the ability to make any songs much stronger, however his harsh vocals had the complete opposite effect, dragging down songs.

Now, while the artwork for Demon Hunter’s newest effort, The World is a Thorn (terrible name, by the way,) is not much different, the band seems to have made considerable effort to make some changes to their core sound, some good, some not so good. They seem to have discovered a newfound love for the keys, as best evidenced in “Collapsing,” which also features guest vocals by Speed Strid of Soilwork fame. The thing about the keys though, is that it is being used so much more that when you hear it, it starts becoming a distraction, even hindering parts of songs. It becomes a problem as it overpowers the vocals and instruments. Violins show up in “Driving Nails,” which gives a boost to an otherwise boring song. The most annoying change, by far, is Clark insistence on spoken word, in which he sounds like Lamb of God’s Randall Blythe, yet in almost every instance it is annoying and completely unnecessary.

Everything that is Demon Hunter hinges on the performance of Ryan Clark, there is no doubt about it, and Ryan Clark has made quite the improvement in the vocal department. His clean vocals are as strong as ever, and he has made considerable effort to inject some other dimensions to his harsh vocals. His best performance using his harsh vocals is definitely the song “This is the Line,” showing off both a higher and lower register than is normally heard by Clark. The guest vocalists work as well, with the aforementioned vocals by Strid in “Collapsing,” in which he does a serviceable job, and Christian Alvestam, the former vocalist of Scar Symmetry, shows up in “Just Breathe,” just further proving that Scar Symmetry made a huge mistake in letting him go. Lastly, Dave Peters of Throwdown appears in the song “Feel As Though You Could,” further proving that he and Throwdown are a perfect combination, and he is entirely useless in the song.

The songs on this albums are much more interesting and fun than on Storm the Gates of Hell. “This is the Line” packs more of a punch than any song since “Undying,” and “Collapsing” feels like a much better version of “Fading Away” off their previous album. “Blood in the Tears” is a wonderful closer, showing the beauty in Clark’s vocals. The best song on the album, however, is the aforementioned “Just Breathe.” Combining the programming and riffs perfectly, with Clark and Alvestam’s vocal performance coming together perfectly. A couple songs just fall flat, however. “Driving Nails” is boring and and sounds like a second-rate version of “Carry Me Down” off of Storm the Gates…, and “Tie This Around Your Neck” and “Lifewar” are by the numbers songs with uninteresting songwriting and boring choruses.

Demon Hunter has reinvigorated their sound with some additions, all while not turning away from the things that make them Demon Hunter. They have bumped themselves up in the songwriting department, and Clark shows off more range than we knew he had. Demon Hunter knew that if they didn’t change up their sound then fans would get bored, and for the most part they succeeded. Some things don’t work, like the off-putting spoken word and the keyboarding sometimes just falling flat. What we end up with altogether is a fun album with more than its share of highlights.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2010


8021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I am proud of this review

charles2000
March 6th 2010


450 Comments


you know who else is proud of this review?

charles2000
March 6th 2010


450 Comments


Jesus

KieranV
March 6th 2010


111 Comments


charles2000 isnt proud of this review

bloc
March 6th 2010


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

That was quick dude. I like the artwork.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2010


8021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I am been listening for a couple of days, leaked a little while ago, just been waiting for it to stream.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2010


8391 Comments


good review man, although your fourth paragraph jumps around a lot and could be edited a bit.


Never really heard anything from this band, but as they seem to have a small cult following down here, I might check this and their back catalogue out out of interest.

Ulsufyring
March 6th 2010


1724 Comments


one of the most boring bands i have ever heard

Eclectic
March 6th 2010


3302 Comments


Didn't enjoy the review, it came off as more of a rant. For instance, in the second paragraph you speak about the keys and how they've become a distraction but you don't elaborate enough, instead you switch topics onto the violin.

You also compare this way too much to Storm The Gates Of Hell, can't the album stand alone without everything having a tie-in to the previous album?

I'm tempted to neg, but I think I'll leave it for now.

BTW, I need to listen to this, it doesn't sound half bad.

IAmInsect
March 6th 2010


3799 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

the title track is pretty great and tie this around your neck is alright, but the rest is boring as hell. particularly the first half of the record.

Emim
March 6th 2010


26675 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You also compare this way too much to Storm The Gates Of Hell, can't the album stand alone without everything having a tie-in to the previous album?


No, as the successor, it must always be compared to the previous sound, as that is what most will be familiar with.

I thought it was a decent review.

Eclectic
March 6th 2010


3302 Comments


No, as the successor, it must always be compared to the previous sound, as that is what most will be familiar with.

I respect that and all, but I'm one of the few that aren't familiar with Demon Hunter, I know a few songs but I haven't actually listened to a whole album or anything. So to me, this review isn't very helpful.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2010


8391 Comments


I agree with Emim that you cannot fault a reviewer for knowing a band's back catalogue and comparing it to the album at hand.

The review does jump around a bit much though Josh :/. Go edit it a bit

Eclectic
March 6th 2010


3302 Comments


Fair enough, I do see your point

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2010


17230 Comments


cd fucking sucks.

Ulsufyring
March 6th 2010


1724 Comments


you should NOT constantly compare it to previous works, because that carries the assumption that the reader has heard the back catalogue

the review should be stand-alone and not dependent on previous work

magnus, you should know better

Eclectic
March 6th 2010


3302 Comments


How about a compromise, a bit of both, talk about how it differs from previous albums, but also what the band sounds like in general. That makes more sense than either suggestion.

Emim
March 6th 2010


26675 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Every band has a unique sound, and one cannot clearly understand what that is just from "Heavy, yet melodic guitars weave seamlessly under powerful chords and solid drumming."

Ulsufyring
March 6th 2010


1724 Comments


yeah, but saying "it's heavy and melodic JUST LIKE ON THEIR LAST RECORD" says exactly the same thing, except even more uselessly

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2010


8391 Comments


magnus, you should know better
I agree that constant comparement to older works in unwarranted, but there's nothing wrong with mentioning/discussing how the current album stacks up against them. A reviewer just needs to find a certain balance if he wants to do comparisons.



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