Dear Desolation - Thy Art Is Murder
Artist: Thy Art Is Murder
Album: Dear Desolation
Genre: Death Metal/Deathcore
Review by Steve Jenkins
Thy Art Is Murder have always released extremely solid albums since the very beginning and this time around is certainly no different. To put it simply, I could not have been more impressed with Dear Desolation. It is in every sense an improvement from their previous album Holy War, which by no means was a letdown; everything from the sinister, cold atmosphere to the varied, brutality of their perfectly executed guitar work and incredibly fast and skillful drumming. Start to finish, this is something special, and that has never really generated this type of feeling concerning a deathcore record for me personally ever before. Dear Desolation see Thy Art Is Murder dabble and flirt with the evil roots of traditional death metal, adding some complexity, but keeping things sounding raw and powerful with a bit more of a stripped back production from Will Putney. One of the most noticeable improvements concerns the lyrics. Most deathcore I avoid reading the lyrics; more often than not they consist of repetitive edgy, needlessly profane lines; being honest most lyrical content in the genre is quite laughable. While Holy War was a step up, with at least slightly poetic nihilism for lyrics, Dear Desolation is their best effort yet, being a bit more relatable for the average listener and easier to remember due to the proclamation and delivery which is also a bonus. While the lyrics remain dark and sinister, they tackle themes and controversies no "core" band dares to embrace to my knowledge. While there is still the atheist edge and thoughtless attack on religion, there is so much more here, its all covered. Topics that revolve around death, anxiety, anarchy, environmental issues and other serious topics. Thy Art Is Murder are leaving no stone untouched, and it gives a great variation of lyrical content, and is surprisingly tasteful. I can't begin to tell you how good it is to have CJ McMahon back, as I feel if they did record a new album with a different vocalist, it just wouldn't be the same. His intensity, darkness, aura and performance on this album has stepped up in a way that can only benefit the band. Also notable is his improved ability to enunciate with the level of aggression he exerts unlike many extreme metal vocalists.
As for the instrumental parts; all brutally efficient and, oddly emotional. The overabundance and reliance on savage breakdowns on previous albums is replaced by a slower approach, many songs begin slow and atmospheric, and slowly grow to a climax that makes it all the more impactful. The solo on title track "Dear Desolation" was something I've been longing to hear from a Thy Art track, I know they've always had the potential to shred and lean more towards the traditional death metal spectrum, but hearing this made me so happy. Of course, one of the most devastating breakdowns I've ever heard happens almost straight after this to keep the deathcore kids happy. The eerie guitar tones heard throughout Dear Desolation are enough to send chills up your spine, it gives the tracks like "Death Dealer" and "Man Is The Enemy" extra atmosphere and overall it shows a real growth in song writing, and it's a mature growth from the constant pounding brutality. I hate to compare well established bands to other well established bands, but there definitely is some serious Behemoth vibes going on in this album. Behemoth with breakdowns one might even say, which in essence sounds amazing, and yeah it really is. "The Final Curtain" see Lee Stanton showcase one of his best drumming performances ever, with one of the coolest drum fills I've heard in a very long time and you'll know it when you hear it.
On Dear Desolation, Thy Art Is Murder have crafted one of the most devastatingly intense death metal albums of the year. Aided by great production and a perfect run time, as well as some of the best instrumental and vocal performances to date, Holy War was an amazing showcase of deathcore with relevant and political lyrics, but Dear Desolation is absolutely a step up and clearly positions Thy Art Is Murder as the band to beat. Repeated listens seem to only increase my fondness of this album, each listen revealing more depth to these tracks, new moments that get stuck in my head or having me find a moment worth skipping back for, this album has my complete attention for start to finish and there aren't many albums that can do that. This is the record that I've been waiting to hear from Thy Art Is Murder and I'm beyond excited for what this will do for modern day death metal as a genre.
9.5 out of 10 stars.
Watch the video for the track 'The Son Of Misery' below: