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Album Review

The Christian metalcore band Demon Hunter's name, it could be argued, also doubles as an in-your-face mission statement. Because when it comes to confronting spiritual deception, this Seattle quintet's attitude can be summarized in three words: Take no prisoners.

Demon Hunter's fifth studio album sees significant lineup changes: the addition of guitarists Patrick Judge and Ryan Helm, and the departure of co-founder Don Clark. But nobody besides a fervent fan would even notice. Frontman Ryan Clark is as blunt as ever when it comes to the world's adversarial relationship with Christianity.

"In this age," he says, "it has become more and more detestable to be a Christian. Our opinions on social and political issues are no longer tolerated as valid and we are commonly viewed as the enemy. Subjective truth, self-love, unrestricted perversion, the destruction of morality: These are the things that have ultimately brought us to a place of depression and madness. This album is the antithesis of the modern way of life."

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

He's not kidding around. The Apostle Paul wrote, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). And Demon Hunter illustrates that reality with lyrics that sound like they're being screamed by an an Old Testament prophet. For example, on "Feel as Though You Could," Clark describes self-deluded meandering toward perdition: "Carry out your own will/Shovel deep and bury truth/ … Sing that song you know so well/Sing it one foot in hell."

The title track brims with similar observations about our culture's hell-bent ways. "Can't you feel the ground of our discretion giving way?" Clark asks. His response? "Won't trust in a failed system of self-fulfilling lust/Won't love a world where my God is mocked." Similarly, "Tie This Around Your Neck" compares the world's false promises to a noose: "And in this reign of godlessness, the heathens will say/Tie this around your neck/Fool." "Descending Upon Us" denounces idolatry. "LifeWar" and "This Is the Line" revolve around spiritual warfare.

"Collapsing" offers hope to someone struggling to the point of death. "I see the weight of hollow death residing in you," Clark sings. But he knows he must share truth, no matter how it's received ("No vow of silence/No remission of truth"). "Just Breathe" encourages another spiritual straggler to press on, even if suffering doesn't abate. "Shallow Water" challenges those prone to "sleepwalk through heaven's call" to recognize that "you will reap every seed that you sow."

Objectionable Content

None.

Summary Advisory

First, a word of caution about our use of None in this review's "Objectionable Content" section: Many of Demon Hunter's spiritual metaphors employ violent imagery. If you interpret these lyrics as they're intended, they're insightful at worst, biblical at best. Divorced from a right understanding, though, some of them might be misconstrued. "Desire the Pain," for example, contains this: "I desire the pain/I desire the weight/And I will face my grave/Draining the life from our veins." Is this a suicide reference? Hardly. But someone who's not paying attention to the next lines—"What a sickening way/To spend our lives"—could miss the point.

Nobody, though, can miss the point of this: "When you get to a certain age, it seems like all of your peers have made up their minds regarding most issues of faith, and sometimes relaying the truth of Christ to these people may seem like a lost cause," Clark says on the Christian music site bandsonfire.com. "Even if their hearts have been hardened to the truth, it's important for us, as believers, to continue to fight for these lost souls."

Though he's talking about the track "Collapsing," Clark's sentiments apply equally to The World Is a Thorn as a whole. Demon Hunter's ongoing, single-focused ferocity has cemented its reputation as a band that never flinches from hard truth … truth that is almost always delivered with the force of an exploding bomb.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Debuted at No. 39 on Billboard's mainstream album chart.

Record Label

Solid State Records

Platform

Publisher

Released

March 9, 2010

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Adam R. Holz Kevin Simpson

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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