July 22, 2019 Thy Art Is Murder – Human Target (Album Review)
Extreme Metal titans Thy Art Is Murder are set to return with their fifth full-length, Human Target, a glance into our disconnected, chaotic, and confused postmodern dystopia. Nuclear Blast Records deliver the pummeling new material on July 26th, 2019.
Call them Deathcore or simply Extreme Metal, Thy Art Is Murder formed in 2006, in Sydney, Australia. Two years later, their debut EP, Infinite Death, made an impressive showing on the charts and paved the way for the release of their debut full-length, The Adversary, in 2010. As the band’s name flourished, they followed this up with three more albums over the next seven years—2012’s Hate, 2015’s Holy War, and 2017’s Dear Desolation. Furthermore, their relentless dedication to the road has allowed them to share stages with a plethora of other artists, including Slayer, Fear Factory, Parkway Drive, Born of Osiris, Betraying the Martyrs, Cattle Decapitation, and many, many more.
Back for more in 2019, Thy Art Is Murder—Vocalist CJ McMahon, Guitarists Andy Marsh and Sean Delander, Bassist Kevin Butler, and Drummer Jesse Beahler—are prepared to present their fifth brutal offering, Human Target. Produced, engineered, mixed, and mastered by longtime friend and collaborator Will Putney (The Acacia Strain, The Amity Affliction), the 10-song collection marks the band’s first with Drummer Beahler after the departure of longtime Drummer Lee Stanton.
A look into the depths of our chaotic yet complacent modern world, Human Target explores a multitude of socio-political topics while remaining brutally heavy in sound. In fact, it’s kill or be killed as the album opens to its namesake, “Human Target.” A Molotov cocktail of destruction and corruption, the ominous, thrumming sonic attack of the song promises that each of us has a target on our backs.
McMahon’s vocals usher in the absolute mayhem of the beyond heavy “New Gods,” a thunderous wall of sound full of blast beats and killer guitars. This segues perfectly into “Death Squad Anthem,” laced with more blast beats and pulverizing rhythms. Force fed delusions, complacent, and hungry for blood, the track paints a bleak image of our society while calling for a riot of resistance in the face of these finely-crafted evils. Due to its uncompromising sonic savagery, this is one track that is guaranteed to incite a Metal riot at shows!
Next up, they go for the political with the aptly-titled “Make America Hate Again,” a look at those in power who seek to continue to polarize the nation, the men (and women) who understand that a country divided cannot stand and they relish in this negativity and divisiveness. Here, Thy Art Is Murder are pointing a finger at the disconnect across the nation and not actually hoping to incite loathe for any one political figure, but instead aiming to make listeners understand that making America truly great again means erasing all of this hate.
If it’s even possible for the band to dig deeper and get more ferocious, “Eternal Suffering” holds nothing back in the name of the broken and the cursed. In turn, this paves the way for the pulsing groove of “Welcome Oblivion,” the brutal yet cinematic feel of “Atonement,” and incendiary “Voyeurs Into Death.” Ultimately, the dark cloak descends for “Eye For An Eye,” before they wrap it all up with the gang vocal chants of “Chemical Christ,” which momentarily breaks the formula to offer up an intriguing, meandering middle section that shows some diversity in their sound profile.
For Thy Art Is Murder, literally all the adjectives apply—from bludgeoning to feral, bloodthirsty viciousness to ruthless heaviness. While the band have been lambasted for being repetitive and unimaginative in their song structures, it seems pretty clear that, despite this, their emphasis remains on attacking the senses with an unrelenting wall of sound and not experimenting with diversity.
In short, Thy Art Is Murder don’t break from their formula on Human Target. Instead, they bake socio-political observations and barrages on our modern chaos into those slaughtering blast beats, brutal breakdowns, gnarly riffs, and McMahon’s vicious howls. It’s a solid album, though one that is more enjoyable when imbibed in small doses rather than devoured as a whole. For this, Cryptic Rock give Thy Art Is Murder’s Human Target 3.5 of 5 stars.