Live Review: Thy Art Is Murder – 29/7/2017 – Max Watt’s, Melbourne

Melbourne’s Max Watt’s was well and truly torn a new one with this hectic bill of Deadlights, Cursed Earth, Alpha Wolf & Thy Art Is Murder. 

After my friends and I were accosted on Swanson Street by a New Yorker tourist who would just not shut up about his sexcapades in Brazil and how he likes to fuck with Melbourne taxi drivers like some kind of commuting gangster, all I could think was how I’d like nothing more than to listen to Deadlights. And after finally getting away from this jovial yet highly insufferable American traveller, I was finally met with Deadlights set down inside Max Watt’s.

Running through select songs of this year’s debut album, ‘Mesma‘ – from ‘Wavelengths‘, ‘The Mad Scientist‘, ‘Invisible Hands‘ and my personal favourite song of the lot, ‘Saudade‘, among others – the Brissy four-piece performed to what was their biggest audience yet. While the band’s collective energy at first felt a little stunted, they grew into far more kinetic movements as their set went on. Even if the crowd didn’t respond the same way, sadly.

The last time I caught this post-hardcore group live was back in June under their label mates in Belle Haven at a much smaller venue, but one thing that struck me on this night was how much rawer their sound is live when compared with say, Alpha Wolf or the night’s headliners. Because with Deadlights, what you hear on-record is exactly what you hear live. From Tynan Reibelt’s impressive singing to the way bassist Sean Prior harmonises with his fellow bandmate, from Josh O’Callaghan’s solid drumming to Dylan Davidson’s throaty screams; this band’s sound is authentic in the live setting. (And that’s not at all to say the other three bands on this tour aren’t authentic or faking it.). However, even with a precise sounding set, what Deadlights really do need moving forwards are a few “hits” – a few bonafide bangers to bolster their repertoire – and they’ll be getting some greater, more involved responses from audiences; from not only their own fan base but that of the uninitiated and newer crowds they’ll play to as well.

From Deadlights opening set, the least heavy band on the bill, this night of Australian heavy music just got progressively heavier and more devasting.

Dylan Davidson, Deadlights.

Dylan Davidson, Deadlights.

To say that Perth’s Cursed Earth are on a fucking high and a half right now is a gross understatement. Whereas Deadlights set was received completely static from the large, ever-growing crowd, Cursed Earth’s stage time was a whole other story. Seriously, the only thing deadlier than this band’s live sound was those pesky fucking pair of steps near this venue’s main floor section.

Speaking of which, said section was basically pit central from the moment this five-piece began their short but intense set with the recent dual single of ‘War March‘ and ‘Broken‘. With the unrelenting drumming of Sam Forward and the intimidating but captivating presence of vocalist Jazmine Luders keeping the band’s indomitable, riff-heavy set primed to the max, the Western Australian heavy group also ran through two new songs – ‘Discarded‘ and ‘Violated‘ – from the soon to be released EP, ‘Cycles Of Grief Volume 1: Growth‘ (out this Friday via UNFD). They also delivered some of the stronger cuts from 2016’s ‘Enslaved By The Insignificant‘ such as ‘Suffocation‘ and ‘Degenerate‘ and their abrasive live sound and solid response from the crowd was further living proof of how far this band is coming of late.

Now, this show was actually the first live show of the hardcore and metal variety that one the friends that had come along with me had experienced. When I later asked her what her favourite band of the night was, she said Cursed Earth and added that she could watch the band and Luders play forever. Normie converted. Nice one Cursed Earth.

Jazmine Luders, Cursed Earth.

Jazmine Luders, Cursed Earth.

When speaking with KYS’s on-hand photographer Owen Jones following Cursed Earth’s wicked set, he made mention to me that the friends he had here tonight were all here to mainly see Alpha Wolf and to be honest, I didn’t quite believe him. After all, taking one look around at all of the Thy Art Is Murder T-shirts floating around the room, it was obvious that this tour’s headliner was on everyone’s minds. But boy, was I fucking wrong.

Acting as a killer warm up for their sold out Melbourne show at Wrangler on the following night, Alpha Wolf took their ARIA chart-storming debut album, ‘Mono‘, to the stage with the LP’s first two songs – ‘Ward Of The State‘ and ‘No. 2‘ – kicking things right off. Cursed Earth may have knocked the nights mosh pit meter up high, but Alpha Wolf pushed it even further, giving the headliners a real run for their money with one slick, tight set. From the band’s in-sync on-stage mosh moves to Aidan Ellaz’s powerful vocal delivery (those lows, though), Alpha Wolf looked and sounded badass; a far cry from their awkward beginning years. Outside of their set’s pit action, however, the mighty crowd sing-along’s during both ‘Golden Fate: Water Break‘ and ‘Golden Fate: Gut Ache‘ (even with its backing vocal track) were triumphant, and the utterly rowdy crowd response the band got for the incendiary ‘#104‘ was physical proof of their recent and continual success.

While I quite enjoyed ‘Mono myself, seeing most of the album performed live has now given me a deeper, new found respect for that record.

Sabian Lynch, Alpha Wolf.

Sabian Lynch, Alpha Wolf.

I think that the real start of Alpha Wolf’s popularity and musical transformation first began with their 2016 single, ‘Nail Biter‘, so perhaps it was fitting to end such a solid set with that very song. And upon wrapping up that track, something amazing happened. The crowd – a crowd that was mainly there for Thy Art Is Murder – than chanted “Alpha Wolf” over and over, with the band looking on dumbfoundedly humble at the immense reception as they disembarked the stage to calls of one more song. Very briefly chatting with guitarist Sabian Lynch and Ellaz after their set, both were blown away at that kind of response. Well, there’s your ARIA #29 spot on in tangible form, guys.

With another national support tour under Make Them Suffer still to come in September, after their recent ARIA success for what was their debut motherfucking album, and after a damn strong set like that, one thing is crystal clear: 2017 has been and will continue to be Alpha Wolf’s year.

Aidan Ellaz, Alpha Wolf.

Aidan Ellaz, Alpha Wolf.

After touring Australia under Sweden’s Meshuggah earlier in the year, Thy Art Is Murder have here stepped out into their strongest realm; the headlining position. Marking their first national headline tour since their loveable, hoodie and windbreaker frothing frontman CJ McMahon returned to the band at this year’s Unify, Thy Art Is Murder is essentially running on a victory lap right now in the lead up to the release of their fourth album, ‘Dear Desolation‘.

You know who this is.

Come on, you know who this is.

With their fiery red logo brightly displayed on the screen behind Lee Stanton’s imposing drum kit and with the stage bathed in darkness, the deathcore quintet began their 45-minute set with the bouncy, groove-laden anti-religious assault of ‘Holy War‘. From that first banger, Thy Art ran through what was a sonically sharp, instrumentally clean and monstrous sounding presentation of their best material; ‘Violent Reckoning‘, ‘Dead Sun‘, ‘The Purest Strain Of Hate‘, ‘Coffin Dragger‘, ‘Doomed From Birth‘, ‘Shadow Of Eternal Sin‘. Of course, the rhythmic instrumental marathon that is ‘Slaves Beyond Death‘ was also present early on and fans ate it and everything else up; whether by screaming the lyrics or moshing their collective hearts out. It was a consistent set that could be best characterized as pure, unadulterated hit after hit for the Aussie metallers, just with a few glaring absences of ‘Deliver Us To Evil‘ (arguably one of the best song from from 2015’s ‘Holy War‘) and ‘They Will Know Another‘. Also, the band’s more recent single ‘The Son Of Misery‘ wasn’t found within this night’s setlist, which was a little odd all things considered. Then again, their breakdown, blast beat and riff quota had been more than met without it so no blood, bo foul.

Thankfully for my own personal tastes, however, there was zero ‘Infinite Death‘ material in sight for this show. That’s right – nothing as fuck awful as ‘Whore To A Chainsaw‘ got played. It was a Christmas miracle in July, folks! Hopefully, with their new album just around the corner, that era of their career is shut off for good; a cringy, bad opening chapter that will be forgotten to time by the better infinitely works that followed it.

Andy Marsh, Thy Art Is Murder.

Andy Marsh, Thy Art Is Murder.

Wrapping up their tight set with ‘Light Bearer‘ and exiting the stage for a quick break, I took out my ear plugs and waited to bear witness to the (quite obvious) following encore of fan-favourite ‘Reign Of Darkness‘. After all, there’s something really quite special about seeing what is still the band’s biggest pit call to date – the deafening cry in ‘Reign Of Darkness‘ of “You will see the true face of panic!“. Even with this being the sixth time seeing the band live, it still gets me each and every time. Ending their set with the aforementioned ostensibly modern classic that opened 2012’s ‘Hate‘, the killer record that first set the local metal band down their now grand path to fame and success, Thy Art Is Murder left the stage having fully torn Max Watt’s a gloriously gaping new one.

And to be fair, they had some fine help from some of Australia’s best up and coming heavy bands too!

Thy Art Is Murder.

Thy Art Is Murder.

Thy Art Is Murder and their three tour buds will be touring Australia throughout the first half August, catch them at the below dates: 

Wed August 2nd – The Basement, Canberra ACT
Thu August 3rd – Uni Bar, Wollongong NSW
Fri August 4th – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW
Sat August 5th – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW
Thu August 10th – Crowbar, Brisbane QLD
Fri August 11th – Villa Noosa, Sunshine Coast QLD
Sat August 12th – Miami Tavern, Gold Coast QLD

PC: Digital Beard (Owen Jones). Find more of his snaps from the night below!

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8 Responses to “Live Review: Thy Art Is Murder – 29/7/2017 – Max Watt’s, Melbourne”

  1. Firey

    What a fucking show….and that thy art firey backdrop was something else…the intense colors were amazing.

    But fuck me…were you there Sievers?

    • Alex Sievers

      Yeah, I was there, man! Where were you at? I always chill on the left side on the floor area for Max Watt’s shows.

  2. Firey

    2 other things…

    I couldn’t get over Cursed Earth being a chick…sounds don’t come out of chicks like that…was insane…fuckin good on her.

    Secondly….that SARS mask on the alpha wolf guitarist HAS TO GO.
    It’s so dumb.


  3. Firey

    Oh fucking hell…woulda finally bought you that beer!
    I was on left too probs a tiny behind you.
    Also went in the pit for a couple of songs…chucked a couple of surfs.

    Shitters…youre in for a treat mate…shits was off the hook

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