Thy Art is Murder – Holy War (Nuclear Blast)

Tuesday, 23rd June 2015
Rating: 7.5/10

Thy Art is Murder is a band that has proved themselves more in the live setting than on record. Being workhorses, the band has spent most of its time touring since the release of their last release, Hate. But every now and then, a band must pull off the road and record some new tunes to continue the cycle. Perhaps the band has soaked in some influences from their many touring partners, because Holy War seems a marked improvement from their previous offerings.

Like much of the deathcore scene, Thy Art is Murder’s previous material pandered to the breakdown crowd. Holy War still does this from time to time, but the most interesting thing that comes through the speakers is a higher emphasis on atmosphere. Cuts like the title track and standout “Emptiness” veers slightly from breakdown-fever and set up some darker melodies and sinister feelings. Some of this is accomplished through more genuine death metal influences rearing their head, with “Deliver Us to Evil” and “Fur and Claw” offering ample evidence of Floridian nods, alongside some snarling groove. Closing numbers “Child of Sorrow” and “Naked and Cold” even invoke a few moments of melancholy to balance out the breakdowns. All of these moments combine to create an album that feels much more fulfilling and enjoyable than most of the cut/paste deathcore crowd.

Holy War gives the impression that Thy Art is Murder isn’t done progressing just yet. While the breakdowns are still prevalent (see opener “Absolute Genocide” for definitive proof), there’s a bit less reliance upon them to carry the song. With a bit more balance (because let’s face it, they aren’t going to stop using breakdowns), Thy Art is Murder could really be on to something with their next go-round.

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