Thy Art Is Murder – Human Target review

A relentless and thoughtful, modern death 8.5/10

Thy Art is Murder Band Photo. The band are all dressed in black standing in frond of a building while their lead singer holds a molotov cocktail (a glass bottle filled with petrol with a burning rag pushed down the neck).
(c) Jake Owens

The Aussie deathcore band Thy Art Is Murder return with their fifth full length album Human Target and their first album with drummer Jesse Beahler (Jungle Rot, Black Crown Initiate, Rings of Saturn) following the departure of Lee Stanton. Guitarist/cofounder Sean Delander and  guitarist/lyricist Andy Marsh apparently wrote the songs in just a few weeks, welcoming the return of producer Will Putney to complete the package.

Fusing death metal with chugging riffs and chronic breakdowns and nihilistic angst they are a force to be reckoned with at home and globally. With a focus on current affairs and the horrors of the modern world, the matters described are as varied as they are troubling. I suppose there is sufficient material being proffered by the world to ensure further education of the masses, through extreme metal. The album art says more than I can.

Opening with their title track, which was the first single released Human Target makes no bones about the shocking and true revelations of organ harvesting in China. Where huge discrepancies were discovered by the World Health Organisation between the number of volunteered organs from donors and the actual numbers of transplants into wealthy citizens. This is not a dystopian horror story, this is the twenty-first century in which we live. Bleak, brutal and claustrophobic.

Unholy masochists
Feeding on the weak
Population control … Everyone is a fucking target

Comparatively more upbeat and melody driven, New Gods is a pummelling diatribe about the role of social media in the mental health epidemic.  As liberating as it is astute, audience participation would be compulsory in this revolution. The empowerment continues with Death Squad Anthem which champions the youth who are fed up with the current system and are prepared to resist and stand up for their beliefs.

Make America Hate Again ironically released on the 4th of July is with it’s celebratory groove, is somewhat reminiscent of 2017’s Puppet Master. Despite the playful substitution of hate for great in that ubiquitous Trumpism, apparently this (* TAIM inserts disclaimer) isn’t intended to alienate any of the leftist band’s more right leaning audience members; it’s an attack against the entire political system, satirizing the expectation that any government will make things “great” for the masses.
Guitarist Andy Marsh comments,

“Polarizing leaders like Trump are, in part, a result of who we have become. Disconnected.”

With lyrical parallels to the infamous and inflammatory rivers of blood speech presented by Enoch Powell in 1968, despite the accessibility of this track. It is hostile.

 

Infinitely darker, Eternal Suffering channels a more deathcore vibe than the previous tracks, despite its melancholia the blast beats rapidly fire  with the pained desperation of McMahon’s vocals and a distorted end.

Melody takes to the fore for Welcome Oblivion; inspired by a line from the late philosopher,  Christopher Hitchens. Likening humankind to a cancer upon the planet. A creeping death, the horror is consolidated by the repetitive ‘welcome oblivion’. This is the soundtrack to nihilism.

Trepidation commences Atonement, before the infliction of merciless aggression. Tackling both past and present, the atonement in this instance is in regard to the lyrical content of the fledgling band (which may now be perceived as less than considerate) and the global scourge of sexual violence, most of which goes unreported. It’s punishing, a form of self-flagellation in a wall of sound which finally offers redemption with an incredible end.

Without letting up, Voyeurs Into Death contemplates institutional enslavement in this surveillance state in which we find ourselves. The increased public numbness to human rights atrocities in a track as uneasy as it is barbarous. Know your place. Sinister, determined and surprisingly calm, Eye For An Eye  is a hymn of doom with gloriously frantic episodes which build the tension and apocalyptic feel of a mother earth awash with blood, but one that will survive the plague of humanity. Chemical Christ closes the album with an observation on the religion of addiction, from pharmaceuticals to technology in a track as relentless as the marketing with which humanity is bombarded. Slower, but with punches that reverberate deeply and moments of sinister melancholy in which to reflect this a wonderfully written and executed track.

Thy Art Is Murder deliver non-stop ferocity, with a humanitarian warning in unremorseful style. Taking the ugliness of our present time and delivering thoughtful extreme metal as a result. Leaning more towards the death side of metal on this offering, it demonstrates further maturity without alienating the core hardcore fanbase. 8.5/10


Tracklist:

  1. Human Target
  2. New Gods
  3. Death Squad Anthem
  4. Make America Hate Again
  5. Eternal Suffering
  6. Welcome Oblivion
  7. Atonement
  8. Voyeurs Into Death
  9. Eye For An Eye
  10. Chemical Christ

 

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