Thy Art Is Murder
We have a bit of an arms race going on right now (let’s not talk about our potential impending doom). Instead, we’re watching two of deathcore’s best bands move away from the style and into something much more interesting and intriguing. Thy Art Is Murder and Fit For An Autopsy (who’s guitarist, Will Putney recorded this album) were two of the style’s best known practitioners, for their instrumental virtuosity and lyrical vitriol. Both bands sing about the coming apocalypse, mankind’s faults, and feature hellaciously great riffs. At this point, with their last two records, Fit For An Autopsy have carved out a more pensive and progressive form of modern death metal that is more Gojira than Whitechapel, which Thy Art Is Murder has now countered with a much more visceral form of blackened death. Dear Desolation sees the Australian band embracing their Polish influences (namely Behemoth and Decapitated). Oh, and it’s awesome.
A trend I’ve started seeing more and more is bands cutting out the fat and leaving behind lean, efficient albums, and Thy Art Is Murder clearly got the memo. With ten songs coming in around thirty-eight minutes, Dear Desolation blast-beats its way into your heart (“Slaves Beyond Death” and “The Son of Misery” are an incredible opening tandem), and stays just long enough to leave an impression. The band have clearly stepped up since 2015’s Holy War, with a much more cohesive sound. That record often felt like blackened death mixed with breakdowns, and while the band still embrace their knuckle-dragging side occasionally (like on the excellent breakdown in “Puppet Master”), Dear Desolation is more modern death metal than deathcore. Guitarists Andy Marsh and Sean Delander have also really stepped up their game, as this record is jam-packed with neck-snapping riffs and a much greater emphasis on killer solos.
Of course, the fact that vocalist CJ McMahon has re-joined the band is quite noteworthy, and he has never sounded more fierce and demonic. The band’s embracing of their Behemoth influences go across the board, as while McMahon has one of the most unique voices in death metal, he embraces his love of Behemoth’s Nergal, especially in the album’s ritualistic back half, where you get the sense Thy Art Is Murder plan to take their sound further. So many metal albums sound like the end of the world, but with its discussion of end times and Satanism, few records embrace the feel of the apocalypse so dearly and expertly.
Thy Art Is Murder are back and as fierce and powerful as ever. You can’t really dismiss them as merely deathcore anymore, as Dear Desolation shows the band has so much more to offer. I don’t know or really care who is winning the post-deathcore arms race, but Thy Art Is Murder are clearly at the head of the modern death metal pack, and their latest shows they are just getting better.