On a night celebrating “hate,” there was plenty of love shown. Thy Art Is Murder is celebrating the 10th anniversary of their breakthrough album Hate, released in 2012. The first touring cycle for this record included 342 shows across the world. While this anniversary tour is not replicating those numbers, the Australian deathcore pioneers are trekking across several countries to perform the entire record from front to back. After completing an Australian run in January, next up was a coast-to-coast run in North America. Accompanying the band was a set of heavy hitters, Kublai Khan, Undeath, I Am, and Justice For The Damned. Over 700 fans came out to Mercury Ballroom on a Monday in Louisville, KY, to witness one of the heaviest tours of the year.
Opening a tour like this is not a small task, but Justice For The Damned was up to the challenge. Hailing out of Sydney, Australia, their ferocious sound and on-stage energy turned quite a few heads. Vocalist Bobak Raffiee was persistent in encouraging more movement.
“I didn’t come all the way from Sydney, Australia, to watch you watch me,” Raffiee told the crowd. This was the band’s first North American tour; Raffiee explained how Thy Art Is Murder has taken several bands into new territories, including Europe and Australia.
I Am from Dallas, Texas, is fresh off the release of their 3rd album, Eternal Steel. Fusing electric thrash metal and relentless death metal, they have created what they call “Texas Death” The energy in the room continued to climb to the sound of their intensity.
The only band that was not from Australia or Texas was Undeath from Rochester, New York. Unfortunately, they played an abbreviated set due to the absence of their vocalist. Even down a member, they gave a flawless performance showcasing classic death metal. They even treated the crowd with an unreleased track.
Kublai Khan continues to rise in the rankings as one of the biggest hardcore bands on the planet. Not only have they earned this direct support slot, but they also opened up for Thy Art Is Murder a decade ago on the original touring cycle for Hate. As much as the fans of Louisville love Kublai Khan, the band shares the same love. They’ll be returning to the city for LDB Fest later this month. Nic Adams of Justice For The Damned has been stepping in on guitar for the sidelined Nolan Ashley. But that didn’t stop the intensity of the mosh calls from vocalist Matt Honeycutt to everyone on the floor belting out the lyrics from their latest single, “Swan Song.”
Thy Art Is Murder took the stage to play through their groundbreaking record with very few frills in between. The band did bring up two fans on stage for a special moment. Lead vocalist CJ McMahon handed off the mic to Destiny, who then proceeded to ask her boyfriend, James, if he would do her the honour to be her [husband] “for the rest of their goddamn life.” James gladly accepted the proposal.
“Congratulations to the young couple; I’m married. It’s pretty cool,” McMahon told the crowd. And then ended with, “Alright enough with this loving, kissing, and rings, and shit. We got work to do.”
For a band that has been perfecting their sound for over a decade, it is no surprise Thy Art is superbly tight on stage as well. From speed, technicality, and heaviness, this band is merciless. McMahon’s vocal technique is unrivalled and almost looks effortless.
“This record changed our fucking lives,” McMahon said, “we toured the world.” “America is a really hard place for foreign bands to make it…for some reason, all you fucking American motherfuckers got behind us from day 1.”
After the record playthrough, a three-song encore included their biggest hits. “Death Squad Anthem,” “Holy War,” and “Puppet Master” with assistance from the crowd as well.
Up next for Thy Art Is Murder is a trek through Europe in April. New music is also on the horizon. In late 2022, the band hit the studio with producer Will Putney to begin what will be “LP6.” A six-song mini album, titled The Aggression Sessions, releases on April 7th, 2023. This EP features Fit For An Autopsy, Malevolence, and Thy Art Is Murder, including a new original track and cover by each band.
With their increasing dominance of the scene, Thy Art Is Murder are only able to hit certain regions once a year. The next time they are in your proximity, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity.