Thy Art is Murder – ‘Holy War’

By Chris Marshman

Any long-time deathcore enthusiasts will know the ‘poster boys’ of the scene – Suicide Silence, Whitechapel and Job For A Cowboy to name some recent big ‘uns – have always taken a staunch anti-religion/government/establishment stance in their music. But with ‘Holy War’, these infamous Aussie filth-mongers are wearing this stance so firmly on their sleeve, it’s basically a humanist sandwich board. The lead up to the release was surrounded by a swathe of much-expected controversy; with the release of the eyebrow raising ‘full album cover art’ and the music videos depicting the dark and twisted side of religious extremism and indoctrination – it’s safe to say that it set out to ruffle more than a few feathers. But through all of this kerfuffle, it’s without a doubt that Thy Art Is Murder have created yet another genre defining album.

The 2012 Megaladon that was ‘Hate’ launched the Sydney crew firmly into the ears of Deathcore fans worldwide after a pair of relatively successful EPs, bringing a fresh, modern sound that the genre seemed to be crying out for. The sinister leads, the room-shaking beatdowns and utterly feral vocals all packaged up in the crystal clear production proved to be a winning combo. And with the latest effort, it seems that they’ve taken some advice from the age old mantra; if it ain’t broke – ramp up the aggro and watch the world burn.
Opening tracks ‘Absolute Genocide’ and ‘Holy War’ pile on those unsettling lead vibes and hype building low-end chugs that have become part-and-parcel of Thy Art’s string work. They whip the classic deathcore hallmarks into a bloodthirsty frenzy in the opening tracks and when frontman CJ ‘Bear-Satan’ McMahon’s savage and foreboding growls pounded into the mix, the atmosphere that these tracks create is just overwhelmingly heavy.
Later tracks, ‘Coffin Dragger’ and ‘Violent Reckoning’ ramp up the pace dramatically, with some fiercely groovy riff work from Sean Delaney and Andy Marsh coupled with the always mind blowing drum work from the behind-the-kit monster that is Lee Stanton – ‘Holy War’ consistently hits the right notes at all the right times, delivering pure, unrefined thunder track-after-track.

All things considered, this album really doesn’t change much from ‘Hate’. Sure, the songwriting definitely feels more mature – there’s a certain swagger to Thy Art Is Murder on this album, that only a band that is truly on form can have – and the same relentless brutality is definitely there, but there is no drastic change to the formula. While there are a few tracks that fall victim to the occasional lack of creativity, ‘Fur and Claw’ certainly feels that it could have done with being a minute less than it is, the boys from Down Under have proved once again that their gurn-inducing brand of deathcore is amongst the best in the world. Thy Art aren’t reinventing the wheel; they’re giving the wheel a brand new paint job, some sweet flame decals and giving it a whole new lease on life.


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