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Whenever I feel like ripping something to shreds I turn to Thy Art is Murder, and lets face it, they always deliver. This Australian band is one of the worst deathcore bands I've ever heard, and although The Adversary is being lauded as a commendable deathcore release I personally don't see it. Okay, so it's not as annoying as Infinite Death, they got rid of the old vocalist and hired a new one so it seems like they're actually trying to do something with their sound. There's far less random technical noodling on display here which would be a good thing if the rest of the music was actually, you know, interesting.
The Adversary is boring, unbearably so. Songs follow the same structure, there's an abundance of breakdowns and palm muted riffing. Vocals are tolerable, the high screams are thankfully more bearable than those found on Infinite Death, but they lack character and sound weak. The low growls have more power behind them but they too lack character, he sounds like plenty of other deathcore vocalists and he adds nothing to the music.
Vocals are never the most important aspect of an album, so I'll focus on what matters the most; the instrumentation. The guys in Thy Art is Murder can handle their instruments well, that's pretty obvious, but they can't write cohesive material at all. Breakdowns are placed frequently and randomly within the music, there's no flow between each riff with each transition being rough and unpolished. The lead work ranges from technical leads, solos to palm muted riffs. Each one is uninteresting. The technical leads are well written enough but each one sounds the same, there's no variation between each riff and thus the whole album blurs together. The breakdowns are by far the worst part of this album, being frequently used, they add nothing to the music and make me hate it a whole lot more. There's easily more than 2 breakdowns each song, always popping up in the most predictable places. That sums up the whole album perfectly; predictable. Each song follows the same format of technical lead, breakdown, solo, another breakdown, rinse and repeat.
Not much of anything happens on The Adversary, the riffing is diluted and sterile, vocals lack character and the breakdowns are among the worst I've ever heard. Infinite Death was atrocious but at least it had more character than The Adversary. What this is is a pathetic attempt from a band trying to gain some credibility after releasing an absolute shambles of an ep and completely failing in the process. The fact that I've reviewed this album means I've listened to it all the way through, twice in fact, and I will never forgive myself for that. Avoid at all costs.
If you like Slam/Brutal Death Metal or Deathcore this is definitely a must album to listen to. If you're a fan of Devourment or Rings Of Saturn this is definitely an album for you, it has technically brilliant riffs and solos, brutal vocals and superb drumming (minus the triggers). The album doesn't have the atmospheric qualities found in their later album 'Hate' but it does have redeeming technicality and original song writing. If you come to this album to look for quality lyrics, you're in the wrong place. The lyrics in my opinion are "try hard", they don't have the brutality found in most Death Metal, and don't have the typical Deathcore lyrics but a failed mix up of both. But who here cares that much about lyrics? Certainly not most of us Brutal Death fans!
Adding a new vocalist was one of the best decisions the band made, they are now brutal as all fuck with some of the best highs and lows found in Deathcore. Some of the over laid vocals work, but than some don't and become to much at once. I feel as if the vocals have had some heavy effects put on them. The song writing is a lot better than on the previous music and is not as repetitive as on their latest album. The guitars blaze through the album with insane riffs and have some beautifully melodic yet technical solos that show that not all Deathcore bands are just Chugga Chug. The drumming is awesome but some of the triggers let it down slightly, sadly the bass guitar isn't prominent enough and takes a back seat compared to the rest of the instruments.
In comparison to their older work it is definitely a major step up and the album can be appreciated by Death Metal and Deathcore fans alike. Sadly only one track stands out to me and this is 'Cowards Throne', the rest of the album to me is great but personally none of the other songs are as memorable as this one. The breakdowns in the album are tasteful and brutal, unlike quite a few of the Deathcore bands out there now. The album gets stale and most songs are very boring in comparison to a lot of other Brutal bands out there.
I personally prefer 'Hate' over this album purely for the vocals being far better and crushing atmosphere it holds, but from a musical and technical standpoint this album is far superior.
Possibly one of the most mocked deathcore bands of recent generation, Australian born group Thy Art is Murder got off to a turbulent start at the beginning of their formation in 2005. Often scorned for their Mitch Lucker-esque vocals and Suicide Silence rip-off tendencies on 2005's This Hole Isn't Deep Enough for the Twelve of You demo and 2008's EP follow-up, Infinite Death, original vocalist Brendan van Ryn found himself replaced in time for the act's 2010 debut full-length album, The Adversary. Was introducing a new vocalist into the mix enough to pull this under-par deathcore band from the depths of the generic sea?
Forget everything that you may know about Thy Art is Murder, because The Adversary distinctively sets the band apart from any of their previous endeavors. Long gone are the chug-a-lug breakdown riffs, whiny screamo vocals and soulless solos. In their place are enjoyably original breakdowns, deep vocals that verge on the brink of gutturals and hints of melodic technical death metal scattered pleasingly throughout. The band have undergone a style change of epic proportions, a quicker turnaround than what most unsubstantial bands see. What lies beneath the mere album art deserves an in-depth look and listen, audiences may find themselves satisfyingly shocked.
"Unholy Sermons" serves as a corrupt introductory track that causes the listener to feel awakened, due to the gasping breaths at the beginning, and then as if they're being transformed into a demonic entity from the incoherent satanic styled prayer that ensues; resulting in an explosive fray that leads effortlessly into the next track, "Soldiers of Immortality". What follows are ten gravid, dynamic tracks which sound heavily influenced from early Cryptopsy works, but with enough of their own originality to make them stand on their own. The content is barbarically fast, dripping with a conglomeration of technical prowess and creative breakdowns that are tactfully incorporated to suit the material when it actually needs to slow down. It also helps that the band stepped up their lyric writing ability, a good portion of the songs rival that of brutal death metal lyrics in perversity and gore while still wielding anti-Christian themes.
Vocalist Chris McMahon makes a huge impact throughout the material with his talented assortment of fiendish vocals that range from near guttural gurgles to death metal growls to semi black metal shrieks. At some points these styles find themselves overlaid, making it sound as if more than one vocalist is present on the content, and it works well; quite often the beastly growling is backed by animalistic highs, both compliment each other with a variety of opposite octaves and it keeps the vocal track from becoming monotonous. Another huge improvement for Thy Art is Murder are the guitar skills and composition writing that is present on The Adversary. The generic and all-too-familiar riffs found in the band's older material has completely vanished, replaced by deep and groovy string bends, innovative polyrhythmic triplets and melodic, technical solos that make an appearance on nearly every track, sometimes more than once; these solos also integrate sweeps, tapping and swift hammer ons/pull offs. Another unique feature that makes its way into the realm of the guitar tracks is the mixing that sweeps them from the left speaker to the right speaker and vica versa; this gives the material a more potent sense of depth, especially during "Cowards Throne". The drums aid the unholy album with vehement double bass kicks that are blatantly triggered, but this attribute does not hinder the entertainment value of the overall content. The drums are driven, energetic and they provide a perfect backing soundtrack to each song; often the hand drumming finds itself slowing down with the breakdowns while the feet action still provide pummeling double bass kicks.
Comprehensively, the most outstanding tracks on The Adversary are "Soldiers of Immortality", "Laceration Penetration", "Furnace of Hate", "Flesh Oracle", "Decrepit Purification", "Engineering the Antichrist" and "Cowards Throne". As one can see, very few tracks on this album fail to greatly impress but that doesn't mean that they're terrible either, they're just not as attention grabbing as those listed above. If it has to be boiled down to a top three, "Laceration Penetration", "Flesh Oracle" and "Decrepit Purification" find themselves to stand glamorously on top. All of the aforementioned songs have incredible, ear-catching song compositions that showcase an array of melodic, technical solos, blasting drum beats and soul butchering vocals. "Cowards Throne" is the most melodically influenced song of the eleven song track-listing and is the only one that incorporates a slightly melodious vocal bridge.
The Adversary should not be passed off as your typical deathcore release based upon knowledge of Thy Art is Murder's previous releases. It is in fact completely the opposite, and stands out exponentially in the field of deathcore. The band have improved themselves in every aspect on this record, from instrument skill to writing talent. The band's choice to induct a new vocalist proves to have been an invaluable decision that brought this material to new heights. A must listen for anyone, especially those that enjoys their metal extra heavy with tasteful breakdowns, melodic hints with their technicality and zesty bridges. You will surely not be disappointed.
- Villi Thorne
Why did I not review this album earlier? I can tell you right now The Adversary is not only one of my most favorite extreme metal albums ever, but also probably the best deathcore release of 2010 coming from a year filled with the likings of the insanely great Hell Chose Me by Carnifex along with other contenders including A New Era of Corruption by Whitechapel, Desolation of Eden by Chelsea Grin, Proprioception by And Hell Followed With, America's Most Haunted by King Conquer, Malevolence by I Declare War and numerous others. But if I could pit any of those up against this record, it would probably have to be Hell Chose Me, I enjoy that album to a big extent. However, The Adversary is just... too damn good. Everything that should be deathcore is this album and they couldn't have done this better. Not only did they acquire a better vocalist who suits the band much more and putting Brendan van Ryn's overly whiny deathcore voice aside, but also upped the death metal influence by about 5 times, leaving the metalcore on the backburner (although still peaks in the music sometimes i.e: breakdowns and screamed vocals).
Every song on the album feels like it has its own memorable parts, I can easily distinguish each track from the other and they never blend in or sound tedious which is the most amazing part when hearing an album in this genre. I can enjoyably listen to this record all the way through on a regular basis. The songs, while usually fast, all have their own trademark parts, interesting moments and fun magnitudes to their own respective gratitude. Also the lyrics have also ditched away the misogynistic and pointlessly violent theme; this time focusing only anti-religion. Yes I am aware this was a topic covered in one song on the band's Infinite Death EP on the song "I'll Show You God". But here, it feels a lot more captivating and better put; more mature than that of anything lyrical spoken on the EP. Take it like this, would you have some kid screaming at you that God isn't real, or have a grown man give you numerous points to his own perspective on why he has no faith in any religion whatsoever and that it's destroying the world? I'll just leave that question to you.
Another topic I wanna cover is the drumming. One of the sweetest and sickest things on this record is Lee Stanton's absolute sick skinswork. He was ONLY 19 ON THIS ALBUM FOR FUCK'S SAKE; the youngest member of the entire group and he's just as talented, if not more talented than the whole band. The ferocity of his blasts in-combination of the aggressive and shredding dual guitarists creates this whirlwind of brutality which I can modestly say, is death metal done right. But this isn't even a death metal album; it's deathcore! A lot of death metal bands alone can't even master this type of ruminative eccentric teamwork, but yet a deathcore band can? Surely shows the haters of the genre what they're missing out on. Speaking further; the breakdowns on this album are never overdone, everything breakdown is maybe once or twice a song and placed almost perfectly. Never any forced "throwdown mosh" parts anywhere here until it totally feels like it should be done. Also guitar solos are a very frequent thing here too, heck, the band even throw in a Nigel Thornberry SMASHING instrumental piece right before the final track entitled "Requiem" which is technically just one big 2-minute solo.
Finally the vocals; I already spoke of these in-contrast to the band's original vocalist but I just have to say it again; McMahon is simply so much better than Brendan van Ryn. He's best suited and described as a real death metal vocalist that I would even compare to Frank Mullen or Ross Dolan, just with a slight Aussie accent on the overtone. His growls are not only ferocious, but he also alternates this vocal style with of course the screamed vocals (usually almost always dual tracked with a growl) and of course the insanely deep gutturals which are about as brutal as they are completely understandable in contrast to his usual growl which actually remains pretty understandable sometimes without even the need of reading the lyrics.
All in all, this album is a near-perfect deathcore album. Everything you liked about Thy Art Is Murder previous to this is here but on steroids and grown up. Gary Markowski's laster-fast sweeps, Mick Low's bass rumbles and Lee Stanton's blast beats are all here but this time fronted by an even better vocalist. This album is amazing. That's all I need to say.
Come on, as they'd only previously released a demo and an EP. You have to give them the band a chance, even though the two previous releases were boring and plain with a total of about 2 decent tracks, they still deserve a chance. The Adversary shows why. It’s fast, aggressive, and technical, I don’t know of any band that has changed their style for the better so quickly. Going from a below average whiney core vocalist, they got a new vocalist. Thy Art now has a lot more to the band, making them more interesting.
Now I’ll talk about the album itself. The first track (excluding the intro ‘Unholy Sermons’) ‘Soldiers of Immortality’, starts off with some nice guitar work, but then speeds up with some technical riff-work and some powerful growling from CJ. You can hear right from the start the amazing work that Lee Stanton has done on the drums, fast and aggressive, the whole album progresses like this, with technical guitaring, fast drumming, and brutal growls. Another thing to mention about the new and improved Thy Art Is Murder is that they actually have PROPER guitar solos, gone from s***ty core solo rip-offs to proper, technical solos. Next song is ‘Laceration Penetration’ which is probably my most favourite of the album, which starts with some chugging along, but then again CJ’s brutal vocals kick in and speed everything up. Lee’s drumming is perfect for the song (and entire album for that matter), with some fast double-bass and speedy drum rolls. About 1:30 into the song is where things start to get insane, Lee’s drumming, technical guitaring and some of CJ’s best vocals following a nice little guitar solo.
Skipping to the end of the album I’ll talk about ‘Cowards Throne’ which is another masterpiece from The Adversary. Starting off great, to ending great; the whole song is technical and brutal from start to finish. CJ’s vocals speed up and down, suiting the music perfectly. Lee pulls off some more amazing work with his drumming, and makes this song even more aggressive. Again, with the guitars, aggressive and technical, changing from your occasional –CHUG-CHUGGA-CHUG-CHUG-CHUGGA-CHUGGA- to your more technicality with the higher strings instead of the lower strings.
All in all, Thy Art Is Murder has done a MASSIVE change from your generic deathcore to some technical death metal/deathcore. The lyrics are the best they’ve written and the vocals bring out the brutality they have put down on their paper. Personally, Thy Art Is Murder done one of the greatest changes I’ve noticed. This album is a definite 9/10 effort.
This is just...wow. I have never seen a shitty band change their act so quickly. What the fuck happened? Last time I checked, these guys were playing Suicide Silence-worshiping deathcore with insipid breakdowns and constant blasts with riffs so downtuned they were impossible to pick up. Now it's...old-school Cryptopsy with breakdowns, I guess. Think of it as a perfection of the formula used on The Unspoken King. And the odd thing is - it fucking works. This album is not great, no, but it's a good example of how deathcore should be - fast, brutal and relentless, with the occasional, djent-influenced, mid-pace breakdown.
Let me first call out this release on its shining element - the fucking speed of these compositions. It surpasses Brain Drill, Fleshgod Apocalypse - hell, I haven't heard death metal riffs this fast since Cryptopsy's None So Vile. The riffs themselves are slightly melodic tech-death numbers, and they're usually made faster by a constant snare beat behind them. Sometimes the band even combines deathcore chugs with these fast riffs (like at 1:23 in "Laceration Penetration", which is similar to the infamous blast riff in Cryptopsy's "Phobophile"), and despite all laws of how music should sound, the band makes these riffs work somehow. The breakdowns are still there, but mind you they're placed aptly in the music, in places where the pace needs to slow down a bit. Besides that, they're just fucking good. Most of them consist of polyrhythmic djent triplets, and they're altered every so slightly every time they're used, so they're never truly boring. Indeed, these are some of the best breakdowns I have heard in a long, long time.
As I've mentioned before, the drums are almost constantly blasting to give the music a feeling of speed. Thankfully, unlike some bands (certainly none whose names rhyme with Freshmod Uhknockalips) the snare isn't intrusive in the mix. It's rather quiet, actually...maybe a bit too quiet. Great drumwork on this album, regardless. As for the vocalist, Thy Art Is Murder ditched their old shitty Mitch Lucker clone, and in his place is a guy who can best be described as Glen Benton in constant low-growl mode with a slight Aussie accent. The man's vocals have none of the distorted gurgly nonsense that most of his contemporaries do. There are also brutal death metal-esque gurgles every now and then, often used on dual-track vocals on this album to accent whatever other vocals are going on at the time. Sadly, they're rather weak-sounding (but what was I to expect from a deathcore band?), but I suppose they make the cut. His screams are deathcore shrieks, but they shed away most of their whiny -core tone, and instead opt for a rather black metal-esque rasp. Neither the growls or screams are mindblowing (though I was impressed with the dual vocals at the start of "Soldiers of Immortality"), but they fit the music and aren't offensive either way.
My gripes about this album are small. For one, this release is very single-minded - two songs in, the listener knows more or less what the rest of the album is going to sound like. The production job could use a good amount of bass added to it, a la new Job for a Cowboy, and while I'm bitching about how things sound, the cymbals on the drumkit are hollow and annoying, particularly the china. Finally, the drums could be just a bit louder in the mix; the guitars seem to overpower them more often than not.
But those complaints are pretty much nitpicking when one considers the overall quality of this album. I'm not sure if anyone was expecting this from the people who released Infinite Death and presumably got egged off every gig they tried to play. This is exactly how The Unspoken King should have sounded, and if you don't mind continuing to label Cryptopsy as a deathcore band, feel free to think of The Adversary as a muscial progression from that album. All in all, this is a great technical death metal album with some nice, legitimately catchy breakdowns, and I'd recommend it to fans of Brain Drill, new Job for a Cowboy, and Origin. I'd also recommend it to people who wanted to find a reason to stop mocking one of the shittiest deathcore bands to ever exist.
Thy Art Is Murder in their early days were little more than an uninteresting Suicide Silence clone. Their vocalist sounded like a whiny little 5 year old on helium and their music was little more than repetitive breakdowns. 2 years after their EP "Infinite Death", they found a new vocalist and started work on a full-length, and what an improvement. Long gone is those horrible whiny vocals and irritating CHUGGA CHUGGA breakdowns, replaced with genuine death growls and more solos than you can shake a stick at.
The guitars on this release are really fantastic. Nice heavy tone. The riffs are very heavy and very interesting, and the solos. Man, the solos. These aren't dry, soulless solos that every deathcore band has mastered. These are genuine technical solos that bring thoughts of Necrophagist or a similar band. These mini shredfests pop up several times, usually in the same song, but each time sound different. Some of them are memorable, others not so much. This album also has breakdowns, but they sound more tech death based than metalcore based, which should please anyone who would rather hear shades of Suffocation than Suicide Silence.
The drumming on this album is also great. It's blatantly triggered, but if you can look past that, then you should enjoy them. Perfect blast beats, solid fills and skull smashing double bass a-plenty. Again, nothing original. Just good enough to do the job.
The bass guitar, predictably, cannot be heard, unfortunately. This sadly loses the album some points.
Finally, the vocals. Like I said before, the old vocalist was trying to channel Mitch Lucker of Suicide Silence fame, and doing a much worse job of it. He sounded like before his performances he sucked a load of helium out of a balloon. Fortunately, TAIM got a real vocalist to replace him. He has a reasonable range, nothing extraordinary. He uses standard death growls, a fewer higher pitched screams and occassionally some guttural slam gurgles. Not one style is overused, so the vocals never got boring, a problem that affects most deathcore these days.
The only real problem this album has is the useless intro. It fails to set an atmosphere or prepare you for what's to come, and could've quite easily have been left out
Overall this is just over 37 minutes of quality technical death metal with some deathcore elements. A must-have addition to your collection if you're interested in tech death, deathcore or both.
What a huge improvement these guys have made with this album. No more generic sissy deathcore bullcrap and certainly no more annoying angry kid vocals. Perhaps a few breakdows are present but they actually sound good and memorable. This album has nothing I haven't heard before, since many of their riffs sound very similar to other bands. But hell, just ignore that and you'll have a very memorable, brutal and enjoyable moment while listening to these Australian fellows.
First of all this album has no more angry kid vocals, meaning the annoying ultra high pitched voice has been dropped and instead they have an actual death metal vocalist that knows how to deliver very brutal sounding growls a la Decapitated. I BULLSHIT THEE NOT. No pig squealing either, so you can feel relieved now.
You will also enjoy the guitars, having memorable riffs and something I've never thought... solos. Yes, and not the typical forced bad sounding guitar leads that pretend to be solos like the ones Job For A Cowboy has mastered. Instead Thy Art Is Murder incorporated proper sounding solos with a punishing guitar tone that will almost bring Behemoth to your mind. Again, THIS IS NO JOKE
Lately the metal scene sees no importance in the bass guitar and these guys have done the same thing. The bass sounds deep but it's nothing that Alex Webster would acclaim.
Last but not least, you have triggered yet very astonishing drum patterns with furious double bass and very solid blast beats. Some breakdowns may appear as well but they don't predominate, so do not worry.
Reluctant tracks: Laceration Penetration, Engineering the Antichrist and Cowards Throne.