Thy Art Is Murder are at an interesting crossroads. Their excellent previous release (link: https://newnoisemagazine.com/review-thy-art-murder-dear-desolation/) showcased a stronger, more cohesive mix of blackened death venom and deathcore fury, one that hinted the band might leave deathcore even further behind. However, Human Target feels like a bit of a sidestep to a different path, or at least a middle ground. It’s certainly not a misstep, as Thy Art Is Murder have never sounded this ruthless, this sharpened, or this furious. These lean, mean ten songs don’t leave a ton of room for atmosphere until the Behemoth influence comes out to play near the record’s end.
Instead, Thy Art Is Murder seemed to feel like their increasingly political vitriol needed more hardcore influence, more breakdowns to sufficiently get their message across. Frankly, it works very well, even if it makes Human Target feel less innovative and more similar to their similarly impressive previous work, Holy War. Songs like “New Gods”, “Death Squad Anthem”, and “Welcome Oblivion” are as visceral and vicious as Thy Art Is Murder have ever sounded, and while the lyrics to “Make America Hate Again” feel surprisingly sophomoric given the band’s past and current insightful diatribes, the song itself is a certified banger, with a groove-based main that is undeniable.
What’s ultimately most interesting about Human Target as a whole is that Thy Art Is Murder has made their most consistently excellent record, with no filler and tons of killer. Yet, the highs of records like Hate, Holy War, and Dear Desolation feel significantly higher than those achieved here. It’s like the band were a steak and trimmed both the fat and the best meat. You’re ultimately left with an incredibly tasty batch of blackened deathcore, with little to complain about. However, it leaves the question of where the band go from here. Do they march forward with continued efficient excellence, or do they push themselves further into paths unknown? As it stands in 2019, Thy Art Is Murder are still in a highly enviable position of choosing between two paths toward different definitions of excellence.