ALBUM REVIEW: Thy Art Is Murder – Human Target

Release Date: July 26th 2019
Label: Nuclear Blast Records/Human Warfare Records


Vocalist CJ McMahon‘s split from Thy Art Is Murder in 2015 seems like a distant memory now, and here we are with ‘Human Target’, their second album since his return, and the first to feature new drummer, Jesse Beahler.

For their fifth album, we pretty much know what to expect from the deathcore stalwarts; meaty riffs and McMahon‘s signature growl. On this album in particular, Thy Art Is Murder seem pretty pissed off with the world at large, and landing somewhere between deathcore and straight-up death metal, they’re sounding as angry as ever here.

The opening title-track sets the scene, and what follows is a very consistent album, and certainly a heavy one for sure. Thy Art Is Murder are no doubt a band who are moulded from the deathcore scene, yet they’ve always been among the bands making this style of music to the highest standard.

‘Death Squad Anthem’ contains many crushing moments and mosh calls, railing against societal ills. The political narrative is heightened further for ‘Make America Hate Again’ (no prizes for guessing who that’s about), and no doubt there’ll be a frenzy in a live setting with this politically charged mosh call.

There’s a few signs that they can switch things up a bit too, which is another factor in their solid grasp of their craft. ‘Eternal Suffering’ places emphasis on a more subtle and tense approach. It builds nicely to the crushing ending breakdown, and is a reminder of how they’ve built upon the approach their previous record, ‘Dear Desolation’.

‘Welcome To Oblivion’ is another track that goes in many directions, and it’s safe to say that the album peaks at this point, and that’s not to do a disservice to ‘Atonement’, which brings us straight back into first-gear with a striking use of a blast-assisted intro. ‘Eye For An Eye’ also places further reliance on less stereotypical deathcore riffing in places, which is certainly very welcome.

The tension-then-release approach is further used for ‘Chemical Christ’, and this has a particularly impactful ending, making for a great finale. Whilst a portion of this sounds like deathcore as you’d expect, you’re kept firmly in your seat. This album’s strengths are also brought to the fore by Will Putney‘s production, showcasing yet again why he’s a go-to producer for angry, pissed off albums like this.

The qualities that may tempt new fans may be a little fleeting, but if you want chunky, no-nonsense deathcore that hits you right in the gut, you could do a lot worse than ‘Human Target’.