Australia has many deadly things – spiders, jellyfish, sharks, crocodiles – but thankfully it keeps most of them in-house. However, occasionally one escapes. Such as Thy Art Is Murder, a bunch of brutal musicians who together produce a noise certainly dangerous to the unwitting, unwilling and grannies.
Amazingly Human Target is my first real encounter with the band, who have been making waves for some time now (including opening for Parkway Drive on their recent tour). I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the title track didn’t so much surprise me as jump out of the speakers and beat me in the face relentlessly while I begged for more. I’m strange that way.
Huge down-tuned chops form the basis of the rhythm, actually quite ponderous in nature, while the drums rattle out a steady pattern. Guitars don’t so much wail and scream as tear at you like chainsaws, and the vocals are as guttural as you would expect from a deathcore band.
While the first track is a relentless battering, it’s “New Gods” which I first picture as being an immense live song. It’s just structured to encourage crowd interaction. And by that I mean dance floor carnage. Hell, it’s even got a Pantera-esque sing-along chorus… kind of. The bass drop halfway through is the sort of thing Psychostick take the piss out of (“There’s no such thing as H-flat!”, but if there was then TAIM would have found it by now).
The onslaught continues with “Death Squad Anthem”, the intro to which reminds me of more recent Slayer offerings; “Make America Hate Again” with its cry of “Your leaders are now your enemies”; “Eternal Suffering” which has a very atmospheric opening leading into a positively black metal styled main body… and we’re only halfway through at this point. Hell, I’m exhausted listening to it. How the hell they manage to play this stuff live is beyond me.
Listening through a couple of times, I think what Thy Art have is a knack of tearing holes in the fabric of the universe, but managing to temper it with little touches. Take “Eye For An Eye”. Blast-beats ahoy, but the opening melodic guitar work continues throughout and cushions the blow somewhat. There are examples everywhere of this technique, either with little breaks (which make the heavier parts all the heavier when they come back at you) or where layering is used to give you something to appreciate technically while the rhythm section is separating your ears from your head.
Human Target is not for the faint-hearted, but you probably guessed that from the band name and the album sleeve. For those seeking something punishing yet with depth, this is definitely an album to consider.
Human Target is out on July 26th