In my eyes, Thy Art are the ‘Men In Black’ (the best of the best of the best) of Australian Death-metal so what an absolute treat it is to see the Sydney based act sell out the Corner Hotel.
Whilst a lot of Australian metal acts seem to attain rather rapid success, Thy Art have put in the hard yards with this sell-out show being the response of well over 10 years of hard work slogging away at the Australian metal community. Their response couldn’t have been more deserved; the same can be also said about the tours main support act Justice for the Damned.
I first caught Justice for the Damned playing at Wrangler Studios with Polaris and Pridelands a few years back and since then have kept an eager eye on what they’ve been up too. Performing as if they were the headliners Justice opened with black-metal tinged ‘Dragged Through The Dirt’ which garnered an immediate crowd response. Busting through tracks like ‘No Brother, No Friend’ and ‘No Flowers On Your Grave’ the Sydney five-piece highlighted exactly why they are deserving of their freshly announced Australian headliner tour later this year. With mic-grabs and crowd-surfers in-toe, the punters were loving it. As was the band, who seemed genuinely stoked; with the group’s powerhouse of a vocalist Bobak Rafiee stopping to reflect; “When we first met CJ he said, mannnnn there’s nothing like Melbourne and I want to let you know that he’s right.” A sentiment which the crowd wholeheartedly responded too.
Finishing their set with the brutalising ‘Please Don’t Leave Me,’ Justice highlighted how truly great they are as an act. Unfortunately for them they may not have the commercial appeal of acts such as Polaris and Northlane and may not foster as much of the ‘Triple J’ crowd within Australia but their music is technical, their talent is immense and their breakdowns are the biggest since Parkway so I can really see them blowing up over the coming few years, especially in Europe. Wait to see all the Australian publications try and play catch up when that happens…
Thy Art is Murder can’t play a bad show. I don’t know how they do it but every single time I see them they seemingly get better and better. Opening with two of the groups newest singles, ‘Death Squad Anthem’ and ‘Make America Hate Again’ they immediately solidified why death-metal within Australia is their kingdom. Stopping briefly to reaffirm that Melbourne is CJ’s favourite city in Australia to perform in, Thy Art then before lead into ‘The Purest Strain of Hate’ and ‘Shadow Of Eternal Sin’ off 2012’s ‘Hate’ LP, two songs which were clearly crowd and personal favourites.
During ‘Holy War’ I found myself admiring how Thy Art seems to construct their tracks- for starters, CJ’s vocals are honestly unparalleled. Secondly, their percussion is technical and elite and for that I commend Jesse Beahler who did an incredible job replacing Lee Stanton and thirdly, I want to highlight their riffs.
Now, you’re probably thinking ‘oh a death metal act with good riffs-no shit’ well shut up for a second because I want to highlight something that I think is pretty bloody neat. Obviously, I understand that they are doing their job…but, Thy Art’s ability to lead with these incredibly complex, intricate and ominous riffs whilst maintaining constant heaviness in the rhythm section blows me away every time, I could only compare it to Lamb Of God with how well they execute this. ‘Dear Desolation’ was dedicated to CJ’s five-week old son Dante, ‘Coffin Dragger’ scored a guest vocal spot from Justice’s Bobak Rafiee, ‘Reign Of Darkness’ had one of the loudest singalongs I’ve ever heard in a closed roof venue. Finishing off the set with ‘Human Target’ it occurred to me how unique it is that seemingly every fan in the crowd had a different favourite song, it really highlights how solid a catalogue they do possess. And if CJ’s word is anything to go by, their best material is still yet to come.
When: Saturday, July 13
Where: The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Reviewed by Alex Callan
Photo by Thomas Savage