Thy Art Is Murder are extremely good at what they do. With each album, they effortlessly prove that they have the consistency and skill to strike with absolute precision while adding just a little bit more to the formula to keep them from getting complacent atop their duly earned throne. With the release of their new record, Human Target, the Australian death machine seek to deepen their carved out position in the current lexicon of deathcore/death metal greats and add another clean kill to their record. In the case of Human Target, it feels much more like a deepening of the lore than a relentless expansion into new realms to be conquered by their deadly aim.
Human Target is not a messy or uninspired album by any means. However, in light of everything that has come before, it just barely misses the mark to be the band’s next great work. It’s an album that works as far as staying the course and making sure you’re satisfied at the very least, but doesn’t do much else in terms of evolving the TAIM’s sound. It functions as an excellent stopgap between what has been and what will be for the band. It sounds like a slight, but for this band it’s not necessarily a negative. In cases like this it’s better to be wanting more than to be disappointed in everything present.
That being said, some of the band’s best material to date is on the front-half of this album. The first half of Human Target is a decent chunk of TAIM’s heaviest, tightest and most focused compositions. ‘Death Squad Anthem’ is just that: an anthem to be screamed at the top of your lungs when you see the band live. It’s got the bounce to make you move and relentless forward motion that pushes you to keep getting back in the pit no matter how many times you get knocked down. ‘Make America Hate Again’ takes what sounds like and appears to be an incredibly trite statement and turns it into a rallying war cry against manipulative tactics to divide a nation that supposedly stands united.
Those songs represent the best of what TAIM can do and just how high they can reach. These songs are more than just deathcore/death metal that you can nod your head to, but rather compositions that reach out and grab you with their sheer propulsive power. Yet, as you get deeper into the album, this power is slightly diminished. The music begins to blend together, becoming just more music on the newest Thy Art Is Murder album. The songs identities become obscured beneath the banner of what the band represents, for better or for worse.
Is Human Target Thy Art Is Murder’s crowning achievement? At this moment, it doesn’t seem like it meets all the criteria to be the bands magnum opus. Is it a great record that you can put on from time to time that you can enjoy when you’re looking for something heavy to enjoy? It absolutely is and will surely see plenty of play time this year. If anything, it is the album that let’s listeners know that the band can hit their mark damn near every time, regardless of whether or not it’s the most jaw-dropping and creative shot they’ve ever taken.
Human Target is available now via Nuclear Blast Records.