The World Is a Thorn
The World Is a Thorn is the sound of Jesus leading his flock down a musical path that was built upon the foundations of hedonism and power (as well as a general fondness for the occult) and staging a coup. Rebellion can go both ways, and Seattle’s Demon Hunter is as embarrassed as anyone about Christian rock’s well-earned reputation for conjuring up lifeless, cookie-cutter slabs of faith-based treacle that carry the weight of a fortune cookie prediction. The band’s fifth full-length offering is both composed and volatile. It’s a carefully plotted collection of staccato, melodic aggro-hymns that owe as much to early-'90s grunge as they do modern, 21st century metalcore, with lyrics that dabble in the same Lord of the Rings-inspired, violent cliches as do their secular neighbors (“I see the weight of hollow death residing in you/Take now your final breath”), but with an outcome that always yields to redemption over damnation. Metal purists needn’t be wary of cranking this one up with the windows down, as the performances are as brutal as many of the group’s death/power/thrash/screamo metal peers, and as true to the genre’s defiant nature as its nihilistic creators intended it to be.