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Thy Art Is Murder – Holy War

Thy Art Is Murder
Photo by Thomas Savage

As a companion piece to the bile-spitting, syncopated tech-deathcore of 2012’s Hate, Holy War could well catapult Thy Art Is Murder a few rungs further up the heavy music ladder.

“We want to be bigger than the big dogs… We want to change metal,” Thy Art Is Murder proclaim within the cover story of BLUNT #138. The headline-grabbing message – most prominently expressed during the religious finger-pointing of the title track – that the band sought to convey via this record is well-documented in BLUNT’s feature. Therefore, read that, listen to the album, pore over the lyric sheet, and make up your own mind where you stand regarding their ideals.

From a creative perspective, Holy War isn’t reinventing the wheel, or often really giving it a substantial shove. But as a companion piece to the bile-spitting, syncopated tech-deathcore of 2012’s Hate, it could well catapult them a few rungs further up the heavy music ladder. They’ve ramped up the Behemoth-channeling vigour a few additional notches and juxtaposed this with synth textures and moody strings. Vocalist CJ McMahon alternates between gargling shards of glass and a mid-range roar, with occasional shrieks interspersed throughout. Selected members’ burgeoning interest in black metal isn’t always immediately detectable in terms of direct musical influence, but seemingly had an osmosis-like effect, its spirit filtering through to ominous atmospherics of opener “Absolute Genocide” onwards, extending to closer “Naked And Cold”. Meanwhile, their penchant for Polish brutalisers Decapitated is tattooed all over the mammoth grooves of “Fur And Claw”.

BLUNT  has slammed the absence of genuine songwriting in deathcore, and much modern death metal for that matter. Hate differentiated itself from the pack because not only were the tracks idiosyncratic and catchy, but they avoided a common genre pitfall because the breakdowns more often than not served the songs, rather than vice-versa. Holy War largely sidesteps this notion as well, and won’t thwart those seeking to maximise their mosh. The overall bludgeoning can become a tad wearisome, numbing even, so restricting the disc to 40 minutes was the correct call. For those not enamoured with Hate, this album will be more like a Holy Bore (thanks MetalSucks), but for parties that were, these 10 tracks will be greeted with a religious-like fervour.

The Essential Track: “Emptiness” – A bona fide banger delivering a bloodier beatdown than a displeased Brock Lesnar.

Holy War

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