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Thy Art Is Murder


Holy War

29th June 2015 – Nuclear Blast

01. Absolute Genocide
02. Light Bearer
03. Holy War
04. Coffin Dragger
05. Fur and Claw
06. Deliver Us To Evil
07. Emptiness
08. Violent Reckoning
09. Child Of Sorrow
10. Naked And Cold

Hailing from Australia – the country where every animal is trying to kill you – Thy Art Is Murder‘s name suggests they’re not big into their freeform jazz. Their latest release – entitled Holy War – hasn’t come without controversy; the band had to change the album cover as their publishers deemed the depiction of a child strapped up with explosives as somewhat ‘across the line’. Whilst we’re not here to discuss the artwork, I’ve always been of the belief that the most worthwhile art is the most confronting and when you’ve got a record as confronting as this – it needs the artwork to match.

Right from the get go it becomes abundantly clear that this record is a stark evolution for a band that have in many ways grown up from being them hateful Aussie kids to men with something to say; something loud and something important. Opener “Absolute Genocide” is an exercise in pure and focused brutality, showcasing CJ McMahon’s violent vocals flawlessly.

The highly atmospheric “Light Bearer” owes much of its groove to Behemoth. The simplistic textures and barrage of double kicks, paired up with a more restrained vocal, makes for a level intensity never achieved by all-out slam. This blackened edge feels like a sharper and more dynamic approach by Thy Art Is Murder, and it is most welcome. Those who are fans of the band’s straight-up deathcore attack won’t be disappointed however; the title track and its follow up “Coffin Dragger” are made for a live show – you can envision the limbs flying from the opening riff and a pile of bodies by the end – it’s glorious!

Deliver Us To Evil” is probably the most technical track on the album, with it’s foray of riffs and none stop barrage it becomes the most heavy hitting when contrasted against the likes of penultimate track “Child Of Sorrow“, whose symphonic elements and more restrained approach that aims to focus on the depth of the lyrics over how brutal it can be. It’s no ballad – it’s still monumentally crushing – but in a more calculated manner.

Naked and Cold” finishes up the album with pure abrasive aggression. Its unrelenting blast leaves you feeling as the title suggests. Taking everything from you that it can in one massive climax, it utilises every facet of the record to the fullest: blistering guitar lines, massive hooks and a stellar beatdown, delivering the coup de gras Holy War set out to lay down from the off.

Thy Art Is Murder have advanced, that much is clear. What else is clear is the direction these guys are going: stepping away from their ‘core’ beginnings, and bringing in elements of blackened death – à la Behemoth – this progression is a testament to the band’s skill as writer,s and could well see them on their way to becoming one of the biggest extreme metal acts in the world, provided they kick out the temptation to become a parody of themselves like so many other bands of their style. Holy War is THE extreme metal album of 2015 and YOU should be listening to it!

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