Review Summary: The deathcore game is getting stronger.
Thy Art Is Murder’s Holy War
pretty much refines every single aspect of their previous release, Hate
. There are more death metal riffs and blast beats, the breakdowns are toned down in number but not intensity, the vocals are as commanding as ever, and the concept is edgier (though whether in a juvenile or impactful way remains to be decided by the listener). The Australian outfit excels at pummeling their fans and building ominous soundscapes, and Holy War
does just that. The majority of the album’s aspects strike the right notes, and proves once again that Thy Art Is Murder are one of the style’s modern masters.
“Light Bearer” is the perfect example of the alterations in the band’s musical formula. Sure there’s still some chugging patterns in the mix, but it takes most of the track’s runtime to reach an actual breakdown. Most of the extended buildup is spent on doomy riffs and ominous leads while vocalist CJ McMahon roars over the tumult. Of course, there are plenty of breakdowns to get the pits going, but it’s great to see Thy Art Is Murder build more on their death metal influences. At the very least, it makes for a less monotonous listen. Most of the tracks follow in the same vein as “Light Bearer” in an appropriately effective way, if an unsurprising one, though “Child of Sorrow” takes these features and pushes them to the max. As always with the band, the true standout performances go to McMahon’s always impressive vocals and Lee Stanton’s fluid drumming. Stanton in particular completely wows with the cleanliness of his blast beats and carries the songs to new heights.
Thy Art Is Murder craft an impressive follow-up to arguably one of the best deathcore releases in recent years by focusing on building up their strengths. It’s a wise band that knows that if they can’t change the game, they can focus on making the old one stronger.