Review: Thy Art is Murder – Dear Desolation

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Ah, Thy Art is Murder. Much like the sub-genre to which they belong, they’re divisive and you either love them or hate them. Perhaps you even hate them so much that you feel you need to write multiple pointless articles expressing the unnecessary amount of hate you have towards their music while praising other bands that do the same thing. That seems like a ridiculous waste of time to me, but I digress. Thy Art is Murder are often referred to as one of, if not the best deathcore band around, but does Dear Desolation, their new album, help them maintain that status?

The short answer is yes, though I don’t think deathcore is an accurate moniker anymore. While I do love this band, every album so far has taken a period of time for it to grow and for me to truly enjoy it. This album changed that. It punches you in the throat instantly with “Slaves Beyond Death”. After that comes “Son of Misery”, which is straight-up Behemoth worship. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and they absolutely nail it. From there, it’s complete devastation throughout the rest of Dear Desolation’s run time. There is no filler on this album, and while there are a few almost doom-y breaks in some of the songs, it always comes back to the relentless onslaught of sound that Thy Art is Murder have become known for.

The band’s previous album Holy War felt like Hate 2.0. Dear Desolation sees Thy Art is Murder evolving past the days of Hate while still maintaining their unique sound. The drumming on this album is absolutely phenomenal and a noticeable improvement over previous albums. The same could be said for every aspect of their sound. Even CJ McMahon’s vocals are more powerful than they have been in a long time. Props to him for getting his shit together and reuniting with the band.

The riffing is much tighter than on previous albums and tends to make its menacing presence much more known. An issue I had always had with this band was that they treated riffs and  atmosphere as mutually exclusive elements. On Dear Desolation they are one. It’s extremely noticeable on songs like “Death Dealer” and “Fire in the Sky” and is a welcome improvement. It’s the kind of combination which makes me hope that they find a way to incorporate some elements of black metal on their next release.

If you didn’t like Thy Art is Murder before, this album may have the potential to change your mind. However, if you did like them, then this album is likely to become your favorite as it has become mine. Will it top the monster releases from Shadow of Intent and Aversions Crown? No, not by a long shot, and that’s fine, variety is the spice of death. Bottom line is Thy Art is Murder have improved in every way and crafted an apocalyptic death metal album that grabs you by your neck and forces you to headbang until the final curtain closes.

4/5 Flaming Toilets

Dear Desolation releases on August 18th through Nuclear Blast Records.

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