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The extremely graphic clip - which has been viewed 116,000 times in a week - depicts an Islamic State-style decapitation, and torture of prisoners by American soldiers.

Perhaps the most contentious element however is the presence of a tearful, blood-spattered blond child wearing a suicide bomber's vest. His head is wrapped in an scarf with Arabic lettering as he is handed an assault rifle, which he points at the camera.

The band initially featured an image of the boy in the suicide vest on the cover for the album, also titled Holy War, but used a different image after advice from its label, Unified.

Andy Marsh, lead guitarist for Thy Art is Murder says the boy is the child of "a vey dear friend" who supports the band and its message.

"Everyone involved with the project understood our vision and message one hundred percent and were very supportive of the video and treatment .

"We worked hard to walk the line and not take the video too far in to bad taste. We even omitted some scenes after the director and I had several lengthy discussions about it."

Many music industry sources are expecting Holy War to debut in the top five when the charts are released on Saturday.

The extremely loyal followings for major metal acts often mean their albums make fast impressions on the album charts. Thy Art is Murder has 445,000 followers on Facebook and is currently on tour in the United States. The band will also tour its new material locally from October 14.

It should also be noted that intense imagery, although not necessarily violent, is commonly matched with hardcore music.

Marsh told Fairfax that the video is intended to provoke debate about the whole idea of God - regardless of religion.

"We recreated some scenes from recent memory with the addition of mimes who were all blacked out except for their white hands acting as the hand of God manipulating his puppets.

"When we are able to realise that all this senseless killing and hatred around the world comes from Him, maybe the masses will let the idea of religion go," Marsh says.

The goal of the album and the band, he said, was to "generate intellectual discussion … motivate and educate. We feel very strongly that religion is a negative force in the world." In that sense the clip is 'equal-opportunity' in its criticism of religion.

The video clip received an overwhelmingly favourable reception from fans, although the band's position that all religions and all gods are negative - rather than just extremism - was contentious among fans.

One user called the video "idiotic", adding "The only group of people fighting a 'religious war' right now are a group of Islamic hillbillies. All other current global conflicts are based around economics, not religion. This band makes great music, but the implications from their lyrics and symbolism are coming from a place of ignorance."

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