Thy Art Is Murder – Dear Desolation (Review)

Thy Art Is MurderThis is the fourth album from Australian death metal/deathcore band Thy Art Is Murder.

As far as the much-maligned deathcore genre goes, few bands do it for me as much as Thy Art Is Murder do. Holy War was a thunderously enjoyable slab of heaviosity, and their brief split with The Acacia Strain and Fit for an Autopsy also showed a band that knew what they were doing with the style.

If you’re going to play deathcore, you may as well play it with intensity, passion, and with great songwriting skill, all of which Thy Art Is Murder have ably demonstrated that they have in spades thus far in their career. They’ve also always had more than enough pure death metal fury in their sound to satisfy too, and overall the band are up there leading the best of them in the world of modern extreme metal.

Dear Desolation continues the band’s development so far, taking what they’ve already accomplished and further refining it. These songs are lean and hungry, using the necessarily huge production to roll out their rhythmic death metal with crushing precision and furious energy. The band go in for the kill with almost every track, and are rewarded with fresh blood more than they’re not.

This latest album embraces their death metal heritage more than ever, and it’s a really great thing to hear. The deathcore elements are still present, of course, but whereas in the past the death metal parts simply added to their central deathcore assault, on Dear Desolation it seems as if this has been reversed.

The songs are as heavy and as aggressive as you would both want and expect, and they’re still catchy and song-based. A great thing about Thy Art Is Murder though is that they’re also aware that there’s more to longevity and depth than just a few brutal riffs, and the songs on Dear Desolation continue to recognise this; more so than ever, in fact. There’s also some nice ideas and moments of creativity thrown in for good measure here and there.

With a dynamic energy that’s as infectious as anything, these songs easily get you moving and are clearly designed to tear things up in the live environment. There are so many catchy and memorable moments on this album it’s silly. It’s also relatively diverse for something of this nature, with each track having its own flavour and favoured method of brutality. One-dimensional Dear Desolation is not.

Their vocalist is on fine form too. Possessing one of the genre’s best articulate growls that manages to display not only a legible intelligence, but also a truly aggressive roar, his performance is first-rate throughout these songs. He’s like a savagely feral force of nature. One thing I always like about Thy Art Is Murder’s songs is the interplay between vocal patterns and guitar rhythms, and this is probably effectively demonstrated better than ever on these new tracks.

Dear Desolation is the sound of a band truly coming into their own. Don’t get me wrong, prior to this release they were already very much their own band, but by shifting the emphasis off the deathcore, (but still taking the best parts from the style), and placing it more on a modern interpretation of primal death metal, they have taken a mighty leap forward in their evolution.

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