Thy Art Is Murder – ‘Human Target’

By Dave Stewart

Modern metal has so many different faces. Some bands choose to wear their hearts on their sleeves and use the power of the music to force their struggles outward. Others use that same power to illuminate their storytelling, painting a detailed picture onto a dark canvas. One thing that flows through almost all metal is passion and rage, and that rage is more often than not rooted in anger. Thy Art Is Murder are a band that have always been fuelled by that kind of anger, and their new record ‘Human Target’ directs it all at the state of the modern world.

There are so many topics that get touched on throughout this record. Addiction, religion, mental health, sexual violence, organ donation, political chaos – the list goes on. Thy Art Is Murder have an awful lot to get off their chests, and they exert every ounce of their signature brand of disgust over their darkest and most relentless backdrop to date.

The record is essentially blackened deathcore, blending the eerie cinematic drones of the former with the earth-scorching punishment of the latter. The merging of these genres isn’t exactly new territory for Thy Art Is Murder, but it’s never sounded quite so menacing. A similar breed of beast, but an entirely new type of venom.

The opening title track does an excellent job of thrusting you straight into the mayhem, using rapid pace and dissonant chords to create a frantic sense of unease. The precision of new drummer Jesse Beahler is immediately noticeable, cementing together every decibel of power to provide an even greater punch. ‘New Gods’ demonstrates the same power, with guitarists Sean Delander and Andy Marsh laying down some dominating riffs as front man CJ McMahon envelops his tortured vocals within the chaos.

There’s sonic carnage everywhere you look here, not allowing any relief or breathing room at any point. ‘Eternal Suffering’ is full of dark and dreary tones that explode into a ritualistic monstrosity, chugging and droning through a little over five minutes of pure evil. ‘Atonement’ leads you to believe it’s going to be a little easier on the ear but quickly turns into a raging demon, storming through hellish breakdowns and sinister atmospherics. Even one of the singles ‘Make America Hate Again’ is relentless, blending memorable vocal hooks with enough heaviness to crush anything in it’s path.

This is everything that you’d expect from a Thy Art Is Murder record, but there’s something subtly different about it. That subtlety? Class. Aural destruction and absolute terror is the norm for this band, but it’s even more terrifying when it sounds this solid. ‘Eye For An Eye’ is the closest thing they’ve ever done to a ballad, and it’s beautiful in the most horrifying way imaginable. The way the song flows from section to section displays a group of musicians working together in perfect harmony, progressing through each harrowing section with a newfound fluidity. Album closer ‘Chemical Christ’ is a fine example of that, too. It acts as a round up of sorts, referencing elements that have played a part throughout the record and sewing them all together to create a deathcore Frankenstein. Every chug connects like a wrecking ball, continuously swinging until all that remains is rubble.

This is the most hard hitting and punishing record of their career. Thy Art Is Murder have never sounded more pissed off, and it’s infectious. The sheer brutality of the music and the seething rage in the vocals translates perfectly. You’ll find yourself at the end of the record hating exactly the same things they do, surrounded by the remainder of your possessions that you managed to avoid smashing to pieces. They’ve always been a powerful band, but ‘Human Target’ launches that terror to a whole other level. Welcome to a new kind of heaviness.

DAVE STEWART

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