In the past two years alone we’ve seen releases from the major deathcore bands that debuted back in the early 00’s. Everyone from Whitechapel to Carnifex back in 2016, to more recently with Suicide Silence and Oceano. Throughout the genre many of these bands have attempted to reinvigorate their style. Since their 2010 debut The Adversary, Thy Art Is Murder have kept a consistent tone in their sound, leading them to their fourth studio LP Dear Desolation (Nuclear Blast). While the overall structure is pretty cookie cutter, the record from the get-go is a pounding adrenaline rush.
Dear Desolation is a pure deathcore enthusiast’s wet dream. Everything one can imagine from the genre’s defining usage of blast beats and iconic breakdowns takes place. Vocalist CJ McMahon brings forth a vocalization that feels like a time machine, the guttural energy of his voice bringing back the feeling of those old school deathcore albums. These qualities appear in abundance in the record’s first single “Slaves Beyond Death”. McMahon’s voice bursts out before a metallic barrage of drums and blast beats. Playing alongside a dense and churning guitar rhythm, the track shifts into a dark melody that injects some flavor, setting forth a joyful chaotic flow. “The Son Of Misery” reflects this style, building on varying shifts in tempo throughout the progression. You either get the assault of speedy guitar tones that give off wicked vibes, or slower elements that vibrate with auras of gloom. As one of the LP’s standout tracks, “Puppet Master” is a straight up banger. Ripping tempos meet aggressive instrumentation that let loose a savage energy.
Structure is the weak side to Dear Desolation. The repetitive chemistry can take one out of the music, for the formula to each song becomes easy to predict. On the other hand, one of the good things about Dear Desolation is that while the flow of each track plays out similar from the last, the music produces such a wild energy and emotion, that one can’t help but get into the hectic adrenaline. The actual structure may wear on certain listeners who prefer their music to be more technical or progressive, for there are fairly few spins that take place throughout the album to introduce anything new.
“Death Dealer” attempts to introduce some new changes, for it’s the first real time where a song begins with a slower approach. The guitar shines through with a melancholy ring that drapes a shade of gloom over the track. McMahon’s vocals pounce through with a menacing appeal as the work progresses to its core sound of blast beats and crunchy instrumentation. “Man Is The Enemy” plays around with this gloom-like aura in certain sections, while “The Skin Of The Serpent” continues with the same consistent playing we’ve come to know since the beginning of the album.
From the first track of Dear Desolation you get a decent understanding of how everything is going to sound. This black and white structure holds a lot of the music back from exploring new grounds and progressing to potentially more sinister levels. Other than that, Thy Art Is Murder packs a whole lot of pounding chaos into their work. Among the deathcore bands that have continued to create since the genre began, Thy Art Is Murder leans more towards maintaining that iconic style that was so heavily popular back in the day. Even though the structure takes some chemistry out of the equation, the band still gives a solid delivery that crushes with sharp and metallic instrumentation, along with vocalization that adds some nice inflections of emotion. Dear Desolation is an entertaining work that provides a sense of excitement that will please those looking for straight forward heavy music.