Thy Art is Murder - Dear Desolation 01Deathcore, in its peak popularity, was essentially the dubstep of metal. Structured around a massive breakdown in the same way dubstep is structured around its 808 drop, the prototypical deathcore song was a kinetic experience designed to ratchet up the tension until a cathartic release blasts forth. This compositional style is extremely limiting, which is why both sub-genres will (and arguably already are) seen as flashes in the pan. The move away from “pure” deathcore by its popular luminaries, notably Job for a Cowboy, Suicide Silence, All Shall Perish, and Carnifex, suggests that they saw this limitation and acted in their best interests as composers and/or businessmen. Australia’s premiere deathcore act, Thy Art Is Murder, are fully realizing the stylistic burdens of deathcore on their fourth record Dear Desolation.

What Dear Desolation does with this information is where my interest in it lies. The band is still writing in the deathcore vein, but have elected to express this familiar sound with a different aesthetic, namely that of modern metal from about 2006-2016. An odd parallel I can draw is between Thy Art Is Murder and Parov Stelar, whose dance beats are flavored with old swing and blues music to give a different veneer to similar proceedings. Core-wise, I hear more similarity to Carnifex out of the popular bands; this isn’t as brutal-death oriented as Ingested’s brand of deathcore, nor as technically inclined as All Shall Perish. The death part, like Carnifex, comes from typical modern death metal, for the most part, meaning that it’s fairly technical, precise, and sterile. The influence of modern Polish and American death metal seems, in particular, to be of a notable influence.

Dear Desolation is strangely compelling in that it doesn’t exactly seem to know what it’s going for or to whom it is addressed. Lamb of God circa Resolution gets a huge nod on “Puppet Master,” which rides a riff straight out of the Morton playbook and throws in a good breakdown at the end. It’s enjoyable as a burst of aggression and recaptures that kinetic spirit of deathcore better than most bands currently writing the stuff. “Fire in the Sky” does a commendable job merging typically Polish melodies (think mid-period Behemoth or Hate) with that dissonance so beloved in early deathcore, along with the modernized and streamlined Suffocation riffs that populate the genre still.

Thy Art is Murder - Dear Desolation 02

Where Thy Art Is Murder falters is in creating any sort of identity for themselves here, beyond a potpourri of modern metal tropes and clichés. The aforementioned “Puppet Master” is preceded by borderline egregious plagiarism of Behemoth’s writing style circa Evangelion in “The Son of Misery” (even Lee Stanton’s drumming adeptly channels Inferno’s performances), and the flow of Dear Desolation is interrupted greatly by this jarring change. Before “The Son of Misery” comes the more traditional “Slaves Beyond Death,” a chuggy reminder of the bygone days of deathcore that surprisingly holds up halfway decently. The transitions between this opening trio are clunky and make following Dear Desolation difficult for the wrong reasons. Ulcerate’s The Destroyers of All gets the deathcore treatment on “Into Chaos We Climb” and meanders about with a staccato-breakdown foundation and a Polish death metal frame in its verses.

All told, Dear Desolation isn’t a bad record but rather a bland and, as I see it, largely unnecessary one. It’s loud and sterile, leaving little grit in the music and making it all come across as more faceless than it already is. Tracks five through seven go by in a tedious blur, melding abortive attempts at interesting dissonance with incessant single-note chugging, providing no real points of interest. Thy Art Is Murder clearly intended to make a modern metal record with Dear Desolation, but they couldn’t decide what best represented modern metal and instead went for the more obvious manifestations, including their own genre of deathcore. The best use for this record, I think, is a catch-all bit of music that can serve one well for ten or so minutes if they need a quick fix of decidedly modern aggression. What’s tough to do is sit through the entire record and have it hold your attention, because Thy Art Is Murder often confuses staccato riffs for actual heaviness, arbitrary dissonance for atmosphere, and straight blasting over largely second-rate Polish riffs for death metal generally. A talented band that sometimes hits the mark, Thy Art Is Murder doesn’t do so enough on Dear Desolation to make listening to the full record a good use of one’s time.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 272 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast
Websites: thyartismurder.net | facebook.com/thyartismurder
Releases Worldwide: August 18th, 2017

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  • Jim Bob

    More like Thy Shart Is Murder.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      Thy Shart Is Art Murder

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Ever stop to think “Hey…..these guys probably have feelings”. ?

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      No.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Cos they look like sensitive fellas…..what with the lambs and all….

  • Handy Donut Hole

    This album helped with leg day. That’s about it.

    • Leg day is an important day though.

    • Name’s Dalton

      God Disease or Analepsy on those days for me.

  • Ferrous Beuller

    It’s a bit faceless in terms of character, but this is better than a 2. Boooo!

    • Iain Gleasure

      Diabolus has to get his average rating down after Alestorm.

      • Ferrous Beuller

        I laugh in the face of my average rating.

        • Iain Gleasure

          I just assume you have incriminating evidence on the fate of HMG and that’s why they can’t touch you.

          • For now…

          • Ferrous Beuller

            Woah… be cool, man, be cool…

  • Iain Gleasure

    That art reminds me of Caravaggio minus the awful logo and album title. The lamb and wolf are really well done though.

  • Apple Tree

    At least theres a goat on the cover. Not exactly the way i expect a goat to look on a metal album cover, but nonetheless a goat

    • Iain Gleasure

      I thought it was a lamb…

      • I see a lamb, but what do I know about farm animals?

        • Frost15

          I see Satan…

        • Eli Valcik

          What would you know about farm animals, you’re just a drunken Gorilla.

          • Trvth.

          • Master of Muppets

            Unrelated, but dude… DVDE… That svrm shit? I fucks with it. I fucks with it hard, kudos and thanks for inadvertently getting them a new fan.

          • Eli Valcik

            Oh yeah! I saw that on Reece’s feed (the guy in here with the A7x icon) and I usually pay attention to this guy. He finds some great atmospheric BM.

          • Master of Muppets

            I know of the fabled Mr. Burns, he’s another one whose picks I tend to take seriously. Regardless, killer surprise find. We’re wandering into the part of the year where that type of music is basically all I listen to, the more the merrier.

          • Eli Valcik

            I’ve entered the winter Immortal phase.

          • Master of Muppets

            Cascadian black metal, doom and melancholic post- anything is my dark little world right now. The temperature and foliage where I live compliment negative music so perfectly, this is my favorite time of year for environmentally influenced playlists. Katatonia and Draconian for days, son. Chiral, Ennoven, Mavradoxa, fuckin Pillorian… Good times, good times indeed.

          • Apple Tree

            Hes not just a drunken gorilla, hes our drunken gorilla

    • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

      Goat???

    • Apple Tree

      This is a problem. At the moment im driving to this school in vermont called the mountain school which is basically a hippy farm-school boarding school and i thought a lamb was a goat. I may not be prepared for this.

      • Review your choices.

      • Kronos

        Yeah I’m looking forward to the new Frontierer record, orange mathematics was incredible.

        • Name’s Dalton

          Is that considered deathcore?

          • Apple Tree

            Not really, but its something-core.

  • Inferno

    Deathcore bands are like ice cream. Unless you have the fortitude for it eating a whole tub will make you feel pretty gross but sometimes on a shitty day a scoop just really hits the spot.

  • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

    Great review! Personally I’ve had a small rekindling of interest in deathcore lately, so I was expecting to REALLY like this album after reading at least 7-8 reviews recently that were slobbering all over it. Listened to it once, wasn’t super impressed. Listened a 2nd time and thought “Hmmm…is this even as good as Holy War?” Listened to it a 3rd time, then listened to Holy War again. Final verdict = it’s ok. A few good songs, but several very average songs. Not nearly as good as Holy War in my opinion. I guess I’m just missing what most of the reviews have been raving about.

    • Absolomb

      And Holy War was already just OK when compared to Hate. They’re going down like the genre they serve.

  • basstard

    Better than I thought it would be. At least their instrumental prowess has improved.

  • welyyt

    Deathcore is 99% garbage at this point*, but there are a few shining examples, this album included: I don’t completely disagree with the review (the production is indeed unremarkable, but the drums sound amazing), but this is easily a 4.0 in my books despite the B-side being significantly weaker than the A-side.

    It’s just so refreshing to see some deathcore with actual riffs, however unoriginal and some breakdowns that aren’t just open chugs (though this record has plenty, but they at least keep it to one-per-song). The “quick fix of decidedly modern aggression” remark is spot on; it’s just that, for some reason, this one works for me, big-time.

    *The new Fit For an Autopsy and Shadow of Intent are great though.

    • drug_genosh

      You just described a 2.5, tops. Not a 4

      • welyyt

        Nope, it’s definitely a 4 in my books: even though I acknowledge its flaws, they don’t bother me at all, and it hasn’t lost its luster after numerous spins.

        • drug_genosh

          There’s nothing wrong with liking an imperfect album but that’s no reason to throw 4’s around.

          • welyyt

            It’s highs greatly outweigh the lows, I really like it – 4.0. A good enough reason for me.

      • ToddRob64

        Exactly what i was about to post.
        There’s a massive difference between liking an album and it being a 4

  • Absolomb

    Thy Art Is Not Music

  • Goldicot

    It’s a 3.5. A-side fucking rips, B-side slacks but you still get 6-7 bangers and one of the best vocal performances deathcore has heard, ever.

    THINK FOR YOUR FUCKING SELF

    • Christopher

      This shit is garbage lmao

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    I don’t think 808s are commonly used in dubstep. You are thinking of trap. If I can’t trust you to use correct terminology when discussing electronic sub-genres, I have no idea why I waste my time on this website. You are a bunch of phonies!

    • Crunk the hall.

    • Spread Wide & Panic

      lol I just died

  • Nag Dammit

    Ah man, he only went and shouted “go” at the beginning of a song. Lame.

  • ben

    Surprised to this album covered here at all….can’t say I disagree with the review.

  • manimal

    Is the wolf male or female? Because that really changes the perspective on what the lamb is busy doing.

    • Gena Gorin

      It’s female.

      • drug_genosh

        Disagree

        • Nukenado

          I agree with the disagreement!

  • Slam Grandpa

    At this point with this OK Deathcore album having a .5 rating higher than the rating Kronos gave to the new Leprous album makes me sometimes question this website sometimes… I’ll take “poppy” ProgRock/Metal over this Deathcore album any day

    • Apple Tree

      Different reviewers, different tastes

      • Slam Grandpa

        You got a personal rating? I think the album is pretty good, some part of the songs tend to drag on a bit too long but there’s usually a point in some of the songs that tend to make it fresh again. 3.5/5 for me at best, I like the usage of synths and strings in the album, if I give it a spin a few more times I might give it a higher rating…

  • Me

    I first discovered these guys when I discovered Make Them Suffer. Reign of Darkness blew me away but the album as a whole didnt. I skipped the 2nd one but then I heard Son of Misery and was blown away yet again. And since when is Behemoth worship a bad thing?

    Some of the album is pretty cut/paste but there are flashes of brilliance and I hope the band continental to experiment.
    For once the 2nd half of the album is more compelling than the first. In particular Death Dealer. Lots of nasty atmosphere even if the riff at 1:40 is a direct rip off Dimmu’s “Allegiance”. Skin of the Serpent and Fire are also winners.
    Solid 3.5 for me.

  • Jeff Manteiga

    That snare sounds terrible imo, especially in the first 30 seconds, like it’s being farted out by a tired computer. It’s an OK song, unremarkable.

  • Morbidly Obese Angel

    Meh, I think it’s much better than 99% of the deathcore thats out there, but that isn’t saying much. I’d go with a 2.5

    • sir_c

      It’s what Clarkson once said, it’s like choosing what is one’s favourite eye infection.

      • Name’s Dalton

        I don’t see any gauges in earlobes in this band photo, so that’s worth a 1.0 for me.

  • Planex

    I don’t think I’d make a great reviewer. Every single time I hear a breakdown I turn off what I’m listening to and delete it if I downloaded it.

    • Nukenado

      …So no Beaten to Death?

  • Gena Gorin

    You know what, I like it. Vocal performance is really great and songs aren’t exhausting to follow. They’re going to be really devastating at the live shows.
    Well written review even through I disagree with many points. And this guy loves alestorm. ALESTORM of all things…

  • sir_c

    The thing with deathcore is that eventually you just grow up

  • herrschobel

    better late than never…but in this case better never — i all sounds so pressed AND compressed…those core people really have something stuck in the arse .. and it´s nothing good.