Thy Art Is Murder


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Rare is it for a band to live up to their name so profusely. Since their formation in 2006, New South Wales’ Thy Art Is Murder have made killing their business… and as ol’ Dave would say, business is good. Their nightmarish void is one where resistance is futile – you can but sit helplessly as the relentless blastbeats and gut-ripping guitars pummel you sideways. In the best possible way, of course.

With 2012’s riff-shitting monolith, Hate, the Aussie death crew made history: being the first ever extreme metal band to crack the top 40 on home soil, and in the process sit proudly at the top of the Australian Independent Record chart. It was a cycle that would see them play a colossal 342 dates around the world, butchering crowds in each corner of the globe and touring the US more times than every other Australian band out there. Their appearances on touring megafest Summer Slaughter – as well as dates with Suicide Silence, Born Of Osiris and Emmure – soon became the stuff of legend. Like we said, resistance is futile…

“We weren’t surprised by the success at all,” deadpans guitarist Andy Marsh. “I knew it was gonna be crazy… I think I have a sixth sense for things! We were all living together as the album was being written and talked about combining elements of depressive hardcore with death metal. We didn’t want to write stuff that was like, ‘I’m gonna kill you’ or ‘Satan this’. We wanted more intelligent lyrics focused around deeper levels of human suffering. That felt more evil.” And if you think Hate was a facemelter, just wait ’til you hear third studio album Holy War, produced by Will Putney and set for release this June through legendary metal label Nuclear Blast. The juggernaut grooves heard on tracks like Absolute Genocide, Fur And Claw and Emptiness will snap your neck like a swarm of beers engulfing you. And the increased dynamics of haunting synth textures and moody strings will simply add to the confusion: it’s more uncompromising, more unsettling and more bloodthirsty in its own unique way – something which the band were keen to explore right from the off.

“The one thing the metal scene is lacking right now is… Holy War,” continues Andy, with a devilish grin. “Seriously, we’re trying to fill in the gap of what we’re not getting out of metal. We create a sound we wish we could hear from other bands. Between all our members, the only other bands we can all agree on are Decapitated and Behemoth! Other than that… there’s not much out there that excites us. I maintain that kids can smell a fake, industry-pushed or backdoor-moulded project en masse! ‘Your label gave you a million dollars or someone else wrote your music or you don’t play everything live … we don’t like you anymore, next!’ We write everything, don’t use backing tracks or take large sums of money… we paid for our records with cash in brown paper bags! It’s real shit and I think the kids know that.” He’s definitely not one to mince his words. Just one glimpse at the lyrics to Holy’s War title track, and there’ll be little doubt as to what grim disturbia the band took influence from. Deeper levels of human suffering, indeed. And perhaps that is the most standout thing about Thy Art Is Murder – beyond all their technical brilliance, visceral brutality and frontman CJ McMahon’s signature barbaric roar – their music comes from a very real place. It’s the nightmare we all share. The one we are all living in. The social, political and environmental injustices of the world we are destroying, one day at a time…

“We’re the kind of people that have questions to ask,” admits the guitarist. “Whilst most others choose to avoid religion, politics or money. So Holy War has songs about religion, a break up I had last year, animal rights, the environment, child abuse (like Reign Of Darkness on our last album), misinformation from all the click bait on the internet… all the things we feel passionately about. No one else is talking about religious nutters killing all these kids! And our fans can tell that from how we are as people, the music we write, how angry we are when we play. I see other bands writing with other people, phoning it in and not even being ashamed of doing it! And you know what? Anyone that understands us will know we will never do that.”

He’s not kidding. 2015 will be the year Thy Art Is Murder drag extreme music kicking and screaming to new and unchartered heights. And the best bit of all? They’re only just getting started…