w/Thy Art Is Murder

Lisa Sanchez
Thy Art Is Murder stopped in Cleveland for the second time in less than six months on Thursday, November 6, at the Agora. The four-piece Australian deathcore band just visited the Agora in August on the Summer Slaughter Tour, now they've stopped over again on the Tomorrow We Die Tour with Born of Osiris. On their constant tour cycle, bassist Sean Delander made time to speak with me about their upcoming 2015 album, the band's live show, and their evolution as a band.
Thy Art Is Murder executed an impressive wall of death when I saw them at Summer Slaughter Tour, which is par for the course for the band's shows. Interaction is a deeply ingrained part of a live performance, especially at metal shows, but sometimes excitement can turn into a frenzy. "We've had some crazy crowds this tour," said Delander. "I don't like to say the crowds get violent. I like them being active, but I don't like the tough guy stuff, but it happens."
In February of this year, Thy Art Is Murder experienced this delicate balance first hand at their set during Soundwave Festival in Brisbane, Australia. After encouragement from vocalist CJ McMahon, dozens of fans rushed the stage while the band was performing. "That was a bit of a realization," said Delander, "luckily no one got hurt." In that situation the band held more sway over their audience than they may have expected. "CJ [McMahon] was able to command and encourage the crowd more than he meant to. Especially for thousands of people, if you tell them to do something and they actually do it. We can see how far we can take it. Maybe we can get everyone to get naked," suggested Delander. Unfortunately, this experiment was not conducted at the Agora show. Much to the chagrin of Cleveland metal heads everywhere.
The concern for the performer comes into play considering the recent incident at a NoFX show in Australia where bassist Fat Mike kicked a fan who came onto the stage. Thy Art Is Murder have plenty of experience dealing with surprise visits from overzealous fans, so I asked Delander his opinion on how best to handle the situation. "Well, I'd never strike a fan. Although, it may take the edge off of it if it's someone you admire."  Apparently, Australia has a bigger crowd problem than stage divers, "There's always drunk people getting on stage and trying to hug you. It's always a concern," the bassist laughed.
In between their numerous live shows, Thy Art Is Murder was able to take a brief break in New Jersey where they worked to record their third full-length album, currently untitled. The band is recording with Will Putney, who also recorded their 2012 album Hate and has worked with numerous metal bands, including The Acacia Strain, Upon a Burning Body, and Fit for an Autopsy. Thy Art Is Murder's new album is currently scheduled for release in the beginning of 2015.
Thy Art Is Murder has consistently evolved their music since their creation in 2006.  2012's Hate painted a picture of an apocalyptic wasteland, and detailed the suffering of the human race in vast swaths of disgust. Of course, the band fits its death metal moniker with bleak content and chugging, heavy, breakdowns and blasting drums. Delander promises the new 2015 album will keep on that upward trajectory but put a new edge on their sound. "The new album is a little different. Hate was broad, sort of non-specific. This new album is more particular, we talk about anti-religious topics, environmental issues, and misinformation. You just don't know what to believe anymore in the news. You just don't know what's reliable."
This isn't the first time Thy Art Is Murder have tacked political or societal topics in their music. Delander said the band helps act as a catalyst for the members to express their distaste and disgust for the world they live in. "The stuff we sing about isn't really positive, but it's uniting," said Delander. "None of us are religious, and the band just happens to be what we stand for, which is humanism, not letting a shitty book tell you how to live your life. It's 2014, we should be past that now."
When asked if there was a chance for the world to redeem itself, Delander answered, "I think it's beyond fucked. But, who knows? We may destroy ourselves or survive. It's a very exciting time to be alive." The bassist and I then basked in the positive possibilities of a Mad Max-style societal where everyone fights for race cars. When the world finally does nuke itself, Thy Art Is Murder will make a killing narrating the downfall, they already have an entire discography worth of practice.
With each album, Thy Art Is Murder has honed their musical and lyrical skills. When the band began in the mid-2000s, their lyrics centered on extreme violence toward women. This was mostly influenced by former singer Brendan Van Ryn, but Thy Art Is Murder still perform the songs occasionally. However, Delander makes an effort to distance the band from their old sound. "We were young when those songs were written. At the time, I thought 'That's a bit full on.' I didn't know how to feel about it. But, now we'd like to sing more about things that matter more in the real world. [Singing about violence against women] it's just a gimmick."
Thy Art Is Murder have proved to be a simultaneously massively popular and polarizing band. Either because of their lyrics, or their Deathcore designation. "Deathcore was like a naughty word. But, we didn't care," said Delander, "We're more of a death metal band, and we love breakdowns. I guess that makes for a deathcore band. Everyone else [other deathcore bands] seem to have dropped off, there's not really that many others. The ones that are still around, they're not like us."
Cleveland marks the tail end of the Tomorrow We Die Tour with Born of Osiris and Betraying the Martyrs. Starting November 14, Thy Art Is Murder is at it again, lending direct support to Suicide Silence on their European tour.