Thy Art is Murder – Dear Desolation (Nuclear Blast)

Wednesday, 9th August 2017
Rating: 7.5/10

It’s been an interesting progression for Thy Art is Murder. They are constantly pegged with the deathcore tag, which is certainly warranted for their first few releases, and they seem to embrace it, especially concerning merch. But the fact remains, that they aren’t limiting themselves to it at the end of the day, and Dear Desolation continues the steps taken by Holy War to provide a more balanced assault.

First off, the best way to describe Dear Desolation is that it’s damn heavy. No matter your extreme metal preferences, it’s nearly impossible to listen to the album and not at least think of the intensity that is brought to the table. Thy Art is Murder have always reveled in this area and it’s still a strong point. The modern sound can be oppressively heavy, and combined with CJ McMahon’s upfront roars, can have some devastating effects. Listen to the beginning of opening track, “Slaves Beyond Death,” and you’re likely to agree. If anything, the act has continued to push further in the tempo direction, with “Fire in the Sky” having some real blistering moments to it.

They’ve also continued to hone in on the atmosphere that has slowly crept further into their sound with each successive release. They don’t always go straight for the throat, and more regularly engage in some mid-tempo or eerie moments to help provide some change of scenery. Of course, the band does deliver when it comes to breakdowns – but the difference between Thy Art is Murder and the next deathcore band is that they’ve developed a method to introducing them into a track instead of just haphazardly inserted because of their necessity to the sound. Instead, rather organic (even if still somewhat predictable) rumblings infiltrate “Puppet Master” and “Man is the Enemy” in a way that feels more satisfying than one might think.

Balance is the name of the game when it comes to Dear Desolation. Thy Art is Murder stay true to themselves and what they’ve built up, but continue to push the boundaries when it comes to atmosphere and progression. A combination that long-time fans, as well as more of the extreme metal crowd, should find enjoyable.

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