Thy Art Is Murder - 'Dear Desolation'
Originality 8.2
Replay Value9
Instrumentation 9.5
Overall Impact9.5
What We Liked
  • Commanding Vocals
  • Excellent Drumming
  • Brilliantly Executed Beatdowns
9Overall Score

When vocalist CJ MacMahon left Thy Art Is Murder at the end of 2015 many fans were left puzzled. They’d released their well received 3rd album ‘Holy War’ and were one of the rising stars in metal; however the realities of being an artist in the modern era can be bleak and a stark contrast to the excesses of the past. Many great bands have been forced to call it a day due to a lack of reward or stability whilst toiling for their craft. Physically and mentally drained he decided to shelve his career to work on himself, work towards getting married and to having a stable income whilst his then former band mates toured throughout 2016 with diligent stand ins on vocal duties. Then in January he returned with the band releasing the excellent stand alone track ‘No Absolution’ to great praise. With a newfound desire and flame CJ was revitalised.

‘Dear Desolation’ is hatred in its purest form, the Sidney 5 piece sound possessed throughout with CJ providing a triumphant performance. The haunting artwork shows a cattle feeding on the teat of a hulking wolf setting the tone of the albums dystopian diatribes on society. The maturity of the lyrical content adds to its impact with socially aware messages and cautionary tales against organised religion and corruption taking centre stage. ‘They Fed You A Lie And You Swallowed It’ is the line that starts the main hook of the devastating ‘Man Is The Enemy’, it is part of a plethora of slogans that will engage your inner ire.

The use of bold hooks before beat downs is familiar territory, the journeys that lead to them on the record are not. In the hands of lesser bands these moments could be passed off as generic or dated; this is in no way a lesser band as Thy Art Is Murder give a masterclass in what it means to be a Deathcore band in 2017. The densely layered sonic soundscapes that accompany these simple slow riffs ignite the imagery of staring into the bowls of hell, testament to a band that has honed their craft to perfection. In ‘Slaves Beyond Death’ the vicious shouts of the tracks title amidst a backdrop of chugging chainsaw guitars is pure old school Deathcore mastery. With the band barely giving the listener time to breath the album is a crushing display of bludgeoning force.

The ever changing winding song structures are led by drummer Lee Stanton’s incredible performance, guitarists Andy Marsh and Sean Delander also shine conjuring riffs that sound closer to Nile and Morbid Angel than to many of their supposed contemporaries. ‘Puppet Master’ and ‘The Final Curtain’ contain Lamb Of God like neck breaking riffs whilst ‘Skin Of The Serpent’ ends in slow churning in fashion. It is a diverse canvas of extremity that warrants your attention and repeat listens.

‘Into Chaos We Climb’ is the best display of the albums apocalyptic atmosphere with CJ giving Behemoth’s Nergal a run for his money as metals most demonic frontman. Militant drums back the hellish beat downs on this impressive track. The bellows of ‘All Will Bow To The Mighty Pariah’ are haunting as are the musical landscapes that evolve around the commanding vocal performance.

‘Dear Desolation’ is the ultimate Deathcore record. The grandiose structures and brilliant changes of pace make for essential listening. With a refreshed frontman and a gold star in brutality now under their belt you can expect the second coming of CJ MacMahon and Thy Art Is Murder to be a conquering one.

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