Music Review: Thy Art is Murder – The Adversary (2009)

With the departure of the original vocalist shortly after the release of their EP, the future for Thy Art is Murder is looking a little bit hazy. As with most small local bands, a hazy future means no future. This was not the case for Thy Art is Murder, like a phoenix from the ashes they found a replacement vocalist and helped boost the Deathcore genre to new heights of popularity. 

Warning: This album contains themes that could be considered VERY offensive to some and should be ignored by anybody who is easily offended. 

Let’s start off by saying that whenever a band replaces the vocalist, the results are not always amazing. Sometimes replacements go too far out of their way to emulate the old sound and sometimes the results are bad and almost cringeworthy. Luckily for us this is not one of those cases.

Starting off the album, ‘Unholy Sermons’ is mainly comprised of a bunch of ominous whispers and quiet words, ending with a low groan before silence for 2 seconds. It isn’t exactly a track of its own however so I’m going to class it as track 0, or the intro track (which I will do with all my future reviews), and say that the next song is the first track.

The 1st song, ‘Soldiers of Immortality’ shows us a Thy Art, that we are totally unfamiliar with, sounding nothing like their previous work, and heading more towards the Brutal Death Metal sound instead of the Deathcore that we’ve been used to from them up to this point. A fantastic showcase of the evolution of sound, slowing down makes this unrecognisable from their earlier material. The vocals here are outstanding, and a real standout amongst other bands with a similar sound. 

‘Lacteration Penetration,’ the 2nd track is my favourite song on this album. The unrelenting beat is as dark and morbid as the lyrics for this song. The drum solo and guitar solos in this are also amazing and a really great display of technical skill in my opinion, and they only get more intense and powerful towards the end of the song, ultimately coming to a close the most fitting way; fast and powerful.

The 4th song, ‘Furnace of Hate’ is another track that spends no time beating about the bush, when the song has started that’s it, it’s a nonstop locomotive action. The beat playing throughout this whole song does feel a little bit reused at parts but it’s short enough that its recycling that I am able to deal with, to an extent the overwhelming majority of this album gives me a sinister and dark vibe, this song is no different in that regard either, and I would even go as far to say that parts of this song have got somewhat of an evil sound. 

‘Flesh Oracle’ is another amazing song on this album. Once again super dark and sinister sounding, and the guitar solo that happens pretty early in the song only helps to reinforce the point that this album is all about improvement and evolution. A repetitive tune that weaves in and out of sections that change the rest of the song up, this song also is the first instance of strange and irregular shifting tunes on this album. One odd thing about this song that I don’t particularly like is that halfway through it sounds like it has ended and is changing over to the next track, but then it just goes back to the same song. I’m honestly not sure why they did that but I don’t really feel that it adds much to this song.

The eponymous track is finally upon us. With self titled tracks, it’s often most important to make a song that helps to cement the theme and direction of the album, and ‘The Adversary’ does that rather well. It starts out very strangely but but normalises right afterwards. The tune sounds a little weird at times as it drastically shifts before going back to a somewhat similar version of the previous tune. My main problem with this song lies in the same thing that most albums seem to get wrong; the mixing puts the drums way to far back for most of the song. 

The 7th song on this album is a song that seems to have a conflicting name depending on where you look. On youtube its called ‘Decrepit Putrefaction’, if you look in iTunes its called ‘Decrepit Purification’ and the back of the CD agrees with the iTunes name and as such so do I. When this comes on I often get confused and just think the previous track is still playing, but we get a few seconds and they couldn’t be more different. This song being a great deal more aggressive than the one that came before it, and also being a lot more technical than its predecessor. It speeds up and slows down at odd times but towards the end, the song finally finds its identity and gives us a very memorable send off to the next track. With the deep and dark chanting of “The death squad hunts you” ending this track as fittingly as it began; very aggressively.

‘The False Prophet’ just sounds plain weird the whole way through, and loses major points in my opinion due to how similar it sounds to the previous track. The strange part is, this isn’t even a bad song it’s just too similar sounding to the other 2 songs that came before it for me to really consider it a standout or  have any sort of individual value. It makes a little more sense if you consider this part of a trilogy of songs starting at ‘The Adversary’ and ending here, but otherwise it almost feels lazy to an extent. 

On the other hand, the 9th song ‘Engineering the Antichrist’ starts out about as one of the most unique songs on this album, other than it sounding like it came from Infinite Death it also puts more emphasis on the importance of the drums, with the drums setting the speed and tone for most of the song. My only problem with this is the high pitched guitar solos, I’m not a huge fan of those, mainly due to how ear-splitting they get. I’d say that this is a song that should never be overlooked and its this album’s no-skip song for me.

The second to last track ‘Requiem’ is an instrumental song that shows quite well the talents of all the musicians in the band. Easily one of the best Extreme Metal instrumentals that I’ve heard. This without contest is up there with Meshuggah’s instrumentals (and seeing how they are my second favourite band, that is quite a feat). If you want to show a friend something from Thy Art, then I would probably start with this, as it is their softest track and the easiest to get into.

‘The Cowards Throne’ is the final track on this album. It begins with a distinctly different sound to the rest of the album, this in my opinion is probably the biggest peek we get into the distinct evolution of their sound. As a final track/sendoff I would class this as the Deathcore equivalent of ‘Would?’. There isn’t much to really say about this song other than small words like “amazing” or “incredible”, its something that really should be experienced first hand in my opinion.

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