The good, the breakdowns and the deathcore
By Austin Vicars
On June 26, Thy Art Is Murder released “Holy War” on Nuclear Blast Records. This is Thy Art Is Murder’s album that supporters desired and naysayers will use to say, “I told you so.”
Thy Art Is Murder has always been a polarizing band. Over the past few years, the Australian quintet has become one of deathcore’s most prevalent bands thanks to their 2012 LP “Hate.” While Thy Art Is Murder has risen through the ranks, many metal heads have dismissed them as generic deathcore. It has been three years since “Hate’s” release, and Thy Art Is Murder has toured relentlessly over this period of time.
“Holy War” is essentially just “Hate” all over again. The band uses the same formula of their previous efforts and shows little to no progression musically. Nearly every song starts off with a dark atmosphere that kicks the song off with a barrage of double kicks and down tuned guitars. The tune then trucks along over a few blast beats, and there are breakdowns and a guitar solo. Every song on the record follows this structure to a tee and creates a tiring listen. This style feels familiar, as the new album sounds homologous to the band’s older material. Some fans may find this consistency a positive, but others will see it as a lack of progression.
Thy Art Is Murder would be labeled as generic by most listeners. The band does little to separate themselves from their deathcore peers, but for hardcore followers of deathcore genre, this record will be an entertaining listen. The album punishes from start to finish without letting up. Fans will be able to head bang along to the album’s many breakdowns, mosh to blast beats and air guitar along to solos.
While musically monotonous, “Holy War” does take the band’s lyrical themes in a new direction. No more are “Hate’s” lyrics about demonic creatures and the dark depths of Hell; instead, the band opts for more politically based subject matter. Dealing with topics such as social issues, economics and religion, “Holy War” is just as abrasive lyrically as it is musically.
On the album’s first single “Light Bearer,” vocalist CJ McMahon screams, “There’ll be a cleansing of the Saints / Towards the left hand path, desperate they crawl / All are guilty of their own demise / The burden of lies will swallow them all.”
For better or worst, Thy Art Is Murder have found a sound and are sticking to it. While “Holy War” brings a few new aspects to the table, it is an extremely heavy and aggressive record. For anyone looking for an album that is flat out brutal, “Holy War” fits the bill, but listeners looking for more will be disappointed.