It was only a matter of time before DEMON HUNTER got here. Slowly but surely, the band has moved from their humble days as a Nu Metal/Metalcore cliché through the motions gradually moving through new experiments and getting better with time and substantial amounts of effort. It was obviously worth the effort though as “The World Is A Thorn”, their fifth full length album, is by far their greatest recording thus far.
What makes “The World Is A Thorn” is the fact that DEMON HUNTER has finally adapted a more Modern Metal approach to the album. This increases many aspects of this album to make it more user friendly to new fans and a better album as a whole for those already following the catalog. It’s a move that only benefits the band in the long run.
The band still retains their roots in the Metalcore genre, with breakdowns being a relatively common thread and the obvious Hardcore influenced bark dueled with a sing-a-long style choral/ballad that in itself has become a similar aspect to Modern Metal too. It’s the new aspects of this Modern Metal side that make this album so memorable. The upped usage of keyboards to layer melodies, the combination of using catchiness to coincide with the heaviness of the riffs and drums, and of course, the sick slick production to layer it all together in a smoother sound. It creates an album that is both far more memorable than anything they’ve done before while retaining the qualities that made DEMON HUNTER worth following to begin with.
It also has to be mentioned that the band does a very snazzy job with making each song very individualistic on this album without losing the general flow and cohesiveness of the record. You get your more average sounding DEMON HUNTER tracks like the opener that includes a nice little melodic intro or “This Is The Line” with its catchy chorus, but it’s the other diverse songs that make this album a fun ride. The short and rhythm punch heavy “Lifewar”, the single sing-a-long “Collapsing”, the Thrashy title track, or even the couple ballads like “Driving Nails” that incorporates a bit of orchestration instantly give this album a roller coaster feeling that gives every song its own identity and the album a nice overall range.
Of course, what would a DEMON HUNTER album be without a few nice collaboration tracks. Three to be precise and to go along with their new attack on Modern Metal we get a couple that fit right in. Bjorn Strid (SOILWORK) guests on “Collapsing” with a nice duel vocal harmony, Christian Älvestam (ex-SCAR SYMMETRY) gives a solid combo vocal performance on “Just Breathe” making it an instant highlight, and Dave Peters of THROWDOWN does his Philip Anselmo impression on “Feel As Though You Could”. All three are great guest appearances and make those tracks instantly memorable for this album. It’s a nice little treat for fans of the band and their ilk.
“The World Is A Thorn” is a killer record that highlights all the best qualities of DEMON HUNTER. Their new found love of the Modern Metal elements makes this album the high point thus far in their career. If you love DEMON HUNTER or even have just enjoyed a few tracks here or there than I fully recommend this album to you. It’s a new level for the band and it’s a wonderful launching point for both old and new fans.
Songs to check out: “Just Breathe”, “Descending Upon Us”, “The World Is A Thorn”.
(Online July 21, 2010)