The calendar has turned half a month since the initial release of Thy Art Is Murder’s “Holy War”. It first saw the light of day on June 29th through Nuclear Blast following a June 24th full album stream from the band. Before that time, you could almost taste the hype and anticipation in the air. And it was entirely understandable. TAIM’s previous release “Hate” stood as a monumental, maybe even essential Deathcore album of the last few years. Before that, they also had a memorable album with “Adversary” and a groundbreaking EP “Infinite Death”. Between all of these, this Australian Deathcore band has made quite a name for themselves.
The build up to the release of “Holy War” was brilliant to say the least. From the controversial album art showing a child dressed as the virgin mary with the get up of a suicide bomber to the initial release of the single “Light Bearer” which burnt across the internet in a frenzy, these guys did good! I was feeling that buzz when a good friend and I cracked a few beers while listening to new rounds of metal music a few weeks back. When the time came for Thy Art Is Murder, this is what we experienced… (and continued to experience ever since…)
Musically, it feels like this album strives to be “Hate 2.0” in a lot of ways. But let’s be honest, after the huge success of that previous record, what the hell do you expect? Typically, I try to avoid having too many expectations surrounding an album’s first spin. But, in this case, I fully expected to hear something similar to “Hate”… but hopefully even better. Well, in some ways it is, in some ways it isn’t at all. Honestly, “Holy War” gets a little too formulaic for my liking at times. It was usually the instances that tried to step aside from their previous album that impressed me the most. But who am I kidding? The “Hate” approach is still welcome.
Lyrically, this album is great. I love the band’s approach of merciless and unforgiving criticism towards the world around us. This direction bleeds through a few topics, namely on a religious and political level. So if you come anywhere near Thy Art Is Murder expecting a happy words to lift your soul, you’ll be sorely let down. But there’s no denying TAIM’s choice words carry a certain power about them. Some of my favorite lyrics came from the title track, which is ironic because that might be one of my least favorite segments on the album musically. But there’s something disturbingly lovable about the criticism found in the heated clarity of the words, “Die for Christ. Die for Allah. Die for Jerusalem. Die for Torah. Father and son marching in rhythm. Firing bullets through the skulls of the children.” *breakdown*
There are a lot of great moments to be found while listening through “Holy War”. Stand outs include the single “Light Bearer”, “Deliver Us To Evil”, and “Emptiness” (which proves to be anything but empty). Something else that really stood out was the vocal cameo from Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall on “Coffin Dragger”. When you get down to it, pretty much every track on this LP has something cool happening.
Though, as mentioned before, parts of this album really feel like their trying to directly resurrect the glory of “Hate” – to the point that they’re even trying to copy them. For example, parts of the solo from the title track felt entirely too much like the solo from “Reign of Darkness” – just not as exciting. The opening of “Fur And Claw” also sounds a lot like the opening of “The Purest Strain of Hate”. Moments like this spring up across the album, for better or worse. Either that, or I may very well be going crazy. You decide.
That’s not to say there aren’t moments that really surprised me on “Holy War”. For example, I remember a part of “Naked And Cold” where we first huddled around the fiery track saying, “Yeah, here comes another breakdown…” only to experience anything but that. There are also certain diminished riffs that really rip on this record. I mean to the point that you’ll be wondering where your face went. And much in the same way that “Hate” struck at times, there’s just something so satisfying about listening to a well placed, well produced blast beat. And there’s no shortage of all this to be found on TAIM’s latest.
End result, Thy Art Is Murder is essentially generic Deathcore done right. Some people will love it. Some people will hate it (*ba dum tsk*). Either way, I’ll say this is a solid band with a solid message that knows exactly how to excite a particular crowd. And they execute their particular craft quite well. As such, this album is a lot of fun to listen to, especially if you find yourself in the right mindset for unrelenting heaviness and neck breaking fury. So if you’re a fan of the genre and looking for a new record to spin, this may very well be the one for you. Thy Art Is Murder’s “Holy War” stands as a fairly good album.