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Album Reviews : Thy Art Is Murder – Dear Desolation

By on August 13, 2017

Thy Art Is Murder are a seminal Deathcore band hailing from Sydney, Australia. They have legions of fans around the globe and right now you’d have no problems forming a compelling argument to say that they are Australia’s leading heavy band. Their sophomore album Hate (2012) laded in at #35 on the ARIA charts, and their follow up Holy War (2015) landed at #7 in Australia, and #35 in the USA. They are some impressive numbers in anyone’s book, but more so when you consider how god damn heavy Thy Art’s music is.

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for this band in recent years – Thy Art made headlines around the globe in December 2015, when vocalist CJ McMahon stepped away due to his inability to afford to continue to tour with the band and support his family. It was a rude awakening for the industry, but more so for fans who may have assumed that large scale touring and strong chart positions would have blessed the band with significant wealth. Despite the setback the band soldiered on without CJ continuing to tour and lay waste to audiences around the globe. In January 2017 McMahon joined the band onstage at Unify Festival in Victoria, and confirmed he would be permanently fronting the band once again. CJ had been such a massive part of Thy Art’s success, so him being back on board was a really important moment for the fans. The hype surrounding McMahon coming back into the band has also added to the sense of anticipation surrounding the release of their latest album, “Dear Desolation”.

The album gets underway with the razor sharp Slaves Beyond Death. My initial impression is ‘where are all of the breakdowns!’. Thy Art have crafted a modern death metal track here and If I didn’t know any better I would have said I was listening to the likes of Decapitated or perhaps even the likes of Meshuggah. The drumming is top notch and the riffing is the antithesis of sloppy. This track immediately makes me question what I thought I knew about the band, and from that respect I head into the rest of the album with enthusiasm and an open mind.

The rest of the album is more in line what I would have expected from the band, although it’s clear that they’ve evolved their sound to incorporate influences from extreme metal genres outside of death core. I hope that all listeners have got an upto date roadside assist membership because there are still plenty of breakdowns, but beyond this the album is chock full of heavy riffs, crushing vocals, top shelf musicianship and a sprinkling of some really nice lead guitar parts too. My favourite tracks are Slaves Beyond Death, The Son Of Misery, Fire In The Sky and The Final Curtain, all of which bring something relatively fresh to the table. Fire In The Sky in particular has a really eerie, evil vibe, not totally dissimilar to the sort of vibe that you might get on the more recent Behemoth albums.

I’ve seen Thy Art live on a couple of occasions but I’m far from a die hard fan – It’s not that I don’t like what they do, it’s just that previously I’ve never really taken the time to sit down and immerse myself in their material enough to be able to claim anything other than vague familiarity. If I’m really honest perhaps there’s a true-metal-elitist somewhere inside me who has been a little dismissive of them in the past due to the Deathcore tag. But with that said, and being no more than a casual listener, there’s plenty for me to like on the new album Dear Desolation.

Death Core? Death Metal? Call it whatever you want “Dear Desolation” is an enjoyable heavy album. It’s not a particularly diverse release from a tonal perspective, but there is plenty of rhythmical variation to keep things interesting. I have no doubt this album will do incredibly well as It’ll please the band’s legions of fans and may convert some of their naysayers in the process too. Album of the year? Not for me, but I’m sure that for others it could be right up there.

Band: Thy Art Is Murder
Album: Dear Desolation
Year: 2017
Genre: Deathcore
Label:  Nuclear Blast Records
Origin: Australia


Chris is a long time metal enthusiast and advocate for Australian heavy music scene. Chris grew up in Perth, Western Australia and is a past member of modern melodeath act Let's Kill Uncle. Currently residing in London, UK.