Each Thy Art Is Murder show on their upcoming Life In The Crosshairs tour should come with a disclaimer, one that advises that people attending should bring their own neck braces; they’ll need it for the self-induced whiplash they’ll incur from rocking out to the brand new sound the death metal outfit are bringing on the road.
Chuckling, guitarist Andy Marsh says, “I mean, maybe?” He knows what he did. New album Human Target will be Thy Art Is Murder’s most brutal release to date, far out-stripping the angst-ridden lyrics and cataclysmic melodies of its predecessor, 2017’s Dear Desolation. “I claim absolutely no responsibility for what people do to themselves,” Marsh says, enjoying the joke.
Thing is though, there’s not much Marsh can report on from the last two years that can be called a contribution to this release. Things for Thy Art Is Murder have been pretty cruisey. “We started writing the album last November and didn’t feel very pressured at all – not that we did with the last one – just more comfortable.
“I don’t know if there were any external factors [contributing] aside from being a little further into our careers and feeling less like an idiot!”
And yet Human Target has an oddly specific theme of political angst coursing through it, though Marsh reiterates that’s merely a timestamp of what he found himself thinking about back in November, and those momentary ideas are what the songs became about. “‘Are you having a good month? Are you having a shit month? Are you thinking heaps about this or that?’ It just comes through accidentally in the album.”
It’s not that Thy Art Is Murder are complacent, but they seem comfortable, particularly as Marsh isn’t giving in this conversation as much as what people will get when they hear the album. Dragging his response, he says, “Yeah, I don’t know… there’s chaos inside of everybody and we prefer to let that manifest in the records rather than have our lives fall to pieces and stress out all the time.”
Comfortable on all sides of life, chaos isn’t a welcome companion to Marsh, particularly where his family are concerned. Father to little Arrow, almost four years old, family, it transpires, help shift the band’s sense of importance. “CJ just had a baby, my little girl has a birthday this September, family life is super important to me – Kevin will never have a kid. Sean, probably the same thing – but for CJ and I, we’re on a similar wavelength.
“We are very lucky to be able to do what we love for a career – that’s not to say we haven’t worked super hard to earn it but there is a lot of luck – and so, we’re the kind of parents where we wouldn’t want to give up chasing our dreams. It sets a bad precedent.
“I want my little girl to not think that anything’s impossible and not let anything hold her back. It’s a balancing act, but we have a lot of quality time together. Giving up your life to raising your child, I think that’s super important, but also trying to be an inspiration for your child at the same time is very important as well.”
It’s important to note, too, that as soon as the discussion turned to his daughter, Marsh became very animated. It’s funny how our focuses shift when our children come into the world. Agreeing, Marsh says, “You can just be in a particular frame of mind and certain things dominate where you’re at and that’s how the record gets stamped on.
“You might be away from your child for a certain amount of time and that anxiety gets stamped onto the record. When I’m at home with her, generally I don’t feel anxious and probably the music wouldn’t be as good!”
With political grievances at its core, family was certainly stamped onto Human Target when Marsh considered as he was writing, the world his daughter will grow up in. “’Row is a constant source of inspiration and dread, really. I was against having children for a very long time – I’m a secular atheist and believe that in a lot of parts of the world they’re reproducing at a rate that isn’t sustainable and creating values that aren’t constructive for the future – then I had my kid.
“I was like, ‘Well, you are the shining light of the future!’ That sense of worry about what she’ll have when she’s older, and her kids if she has any, what will be the set-up?
“Not to say I’m constantly thinking about her whilst writing the songs, but it adds a level of complexity to those issues that already bothered me. Now you have a child, you can’t be as nihilistic, you have to be more constructive.
“Whilst I’m still quite happy to get burnt into oblivion I’d much rather that didn’t happen to my very pretty little girl – I don’t know, I don’t overthink the cognitive process in my mind that might subconsciously lead me to those points of inspiration.”
Release: Human Target is out July 26 via Human Warfare.
You can pre-order the album at www.thyartismurder.net/store/#humantargetpreordertaimnet
Written by Anna Rose
Photo by Jake Owens