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[Review] Thy Art Is Murder @ Roundhouse, Sydney 13/01/2023

We are not spoiled with a four-band line-up of top-tier talent every day. Tonight’s show is just that. Extreme metal, western Sydney titans Thy Art Is Murder are accompanied by three international heavyweights, Spite, Chelsea Grin and Whitechapel. Strap yourself in, we’re in for a night of heavy riffs and even heavier vocals! 

Californian hardcore/deathcore/downtempo maniacs Spite are kicking off the festivities, and the band I am most looking forward to seeing. As they take the stage, the sun is still in the sky leaving the Roundhouse more illuminated than usual. Frontman Darius Tehrani commands the stage with energy too large for the small space, as being the first band on the bill their drumkit is in front of another. Half of Spite’s 8-song set is taken from their latest release Dedication to Flesh, a heavy-hitting no holds barred album that delivers from opening to closing track. Lord of The Upside Down, Caved In and IED give the crowd minimal recovery time, only a chance to warm themselves up for a huge night of moshing.  

I’m happy to see just how many punters came down early to catch them! Rounding out Spite’s set is Kill or Be Killed and Crumble, two monstrous songs that showcase their sound perfectly. I’m a big fan of deathcore, but there’s something about Spite’s dash of metal in the mix that really makes them stand out. Their set is far too short, although as this is only their first time in Australia, I’m hoping it’s the start of a beautiful relationship that results in many frequent visits. 

Just as I’ve had time to purchase a Spite shirt from the merch booth, the lights dim for Utah’s Chelsea Grin. The last time we saw them was with Born of Osiris in 2019, and in such time they’ve released two new albums, Suffer In Hell and Suffer In Heaven and I’m looking forward to seeing them again. Opening with Recreant, we get a sense that they did not come to mess around. Desolation of Eden, the album Recreant is taken from, had a very different line up, one of the most notable is frontman Tom Barber (ex-Lorna Shore) who’s been with the group since 2018 and is one of the most talented vocalists in the scene. His ability to jump from screams and lows is seamless and astonishing, all with a smile on his face. New track The Isnis gains a great crowd response as horns are cast in the air and pits are widened. Stand outs of Chelsea Grin’s set for me personally are taken from 2018’s Eternal Nightmare, Dead Rose and Hostage.   

As for Spite, Chelsea’s Grin only really tickled their catalogue of music. I sure hope next time Chelsea visit, they have a longer set to really get into how great this band is as their popularity is soaring. 

I’m already beyond happy with tonight’s performance, as Tennessee’s Whitechapel arrive. I’ve been a fan of theirs since 2007’s Somatic Defilement and they will always hold a very special place for me, the excitement has gone up a notch! In the last few years, their sound has expanded from the heavy deathcore flavour we know and love. Clean vocals have seeped through the mean demeanour, as showcased in their opening track When a Demon Defiles a Witch. Phil Bozeman has a very distinctive voice and evokes monstrous growls from such a small frame with ease.  

Bassist Gabe Crisp provides the low end on the strings with force while all three amazing guitarists Ben Savage, Alex Wade, and Zach Householder give their own personal touch to the songs that make Whitechapel one of the biggest heavy bands around. They steamroll through a selection of hits such as Brimstone, Doom Woods and Black Bear which gets the floor bouncing and is impossible to keep out of.  

This is Exile makes us long-time fans happy, even my brother with short hair can’t help but attempt to headbang to this Whitechapel classic! A Bloodsoaked Symphony and The Saw Is The Law round out their blistering set, 8 years in the making.  

The exhausted punters head to the bar and outside area for one last breath before the headliners arrive to take what’s left from this crowd’s energy tanks. 

We Like To Party by The Vengaboys fills the venue, making the metal crowd laugh and dance unaware Thy Art Is Murder lurk just behind the stage. Opening with Reign of Darkness the crowd pushes out a monstrous circle pit to the dark red lights only just illuminating the band members. The crowd scream ‘You will see the true face of panic’. 

Vocalist CJ McMahon’s skeletal mic stand towers over him and the front centre of the stage, forcing him to sing upwards similar to Lemmy. Tonight’s performance is a truly special one, the 10th anniversary of their second full-length album Hate being played in its entirety. The mad crowd barely have time to hi 5 their mate before we’re cast into The Purest Strain of Hate. Drummer Jesse Beahler is a madman behind the kit and keeps tempo with precise concentration. I spot him looking into the crowd and smiling at the response his band is getting from the wild Sydney crowd.  

Songs such as Immolation, Dead Sun and Defective Breed annihilate the Roundhouse still cast under dark lighting and smoke, adding to the drama of the undeniably heavy music. CJ is belting out some exceptionally heavy vocals, but that doesn’t stop him from having a bright smile across his face for most of the night. The band are truly appreciative of the reception and the love is sent back in droves. Doomed From Birth rounds out the Hate album and the band takes a short break backstage, while the crowd calls out for more!
Thy Art return to the stage for 3 encore tracks, which must have been hard to choose from their catalogue. Death Squad Anthem, Holy War and Puppet Master wrap up tonight’s gruesome events. TAIM consistently delivers goods in a way that inspires unending mayhem and fan love with horns raised as they scream out the lyrics until the last note. 

I feel very proud to see an Australian band reach the success that Thy Art is Murder has garnered, especially headlining a tour in their own country with three international supports.
The entire east coast run of this tour has sold out with very limited tickets left for Adelaide and Perth. Do not sleep on this tour. 

With 4 spectacular deathcore acts, there really is something for everyone and even if you head down for one band, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with another. 

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