There’s a bit of a political tenor to Australian deathcore troupe Thy Art Is Murder’s upcoming fifth album, Human Target. But know that guitarist Andy Marsh is no mere foreigner poking at the United States and the Trump administration from afar.
“The band is Australian, but I’m also an American citizen and live in the States primarily and have a daughter growing up in there,” Marsh — who penned lyrics for such songs as “Make America Hate Again,” “Death Squad Anthem,” “New Gods” and more for the new record — tells Billboard. “All these issues in America — health care, education, gun control — deeply affect me and the way I feel about my child’s potential in the world. So there are songs that are about politics, about privatized prisons, about how we treat the environment and our planet, human organ harvesting, the pharmaceutical industry.” Because Denver is his U.S. home base, Marsh notes that “these sorts of anxieties are on my mind on a daily basis, and those ideas come to the forefront.”
He does acknowledge that a song like “Make America Hate Again” is purposely — and purposefully — “inflammatory,” but Marsh also wants to make clear that he’s not unreasonable. “The song isn’t necessarily an anti-Republican song,” he explains. “I consider myself a left-leaning centrist, so obviously I’m not really on board with [Trump]. But I think that regardless of whichever side you fall on, the main result that I can feel from the most recent presidential election was that it turned Americans against one another. The left has as much to answer for as the right in that respect. When you have regressive leftists attacking all conservative people, saying they’re all racist, all homophobes, it’s going to widen that divide as well.
“There’s a saying that no moderate position is ever equalized by an opposing moderate position. They all have to be radicalized. I’m not sure if we’ve reached the pinnacle of that yet, but we definitely saw it on the rise in this last election.”
Human Target (which arrives July 26 on Nuclear Blast) finds Thy Art Is Murder, who again worked with producer Will Putney, further embracing and refining the more spacious and dynamic approach it introduced with 2017’s Dear Desolation, with greater use of ambience and less of a full-on fusillade heard on previous albums. “With the last record, we did open up a lot of space,” notes Marsh, “and the result was fans and critics alike said the record gave them more space to pay attention rather than being obliterated by this wall of sound, and that was a very specific decision on our part. With this record, I feel like — and again, on purpose — we were able to take another little leap. It’s a little more dynamic and progressive. We were a lot more open-minded to letting in new ideas and we let them lead us, whereas before we would try to lead them. So that made it a very different record for us.”
Adding to that is new member Jesse Beahler, the former Black Crown Initiate and Jungle Rot drummer who joined Thy Art Is Murder prior to sessions for Human Target. “He hasn’t been defined by our previous work despite having played with us on and off for a least five years,” explains Marsh. “He knows enough about the style of the band but isn’t as restricted and confined to the previous works as we might be as writers. He gave a lot of really fresh ideas as far as how to push and pull with the verses and incorporate some groove-y elements and breakdowns. He adds this technical, Meshuggah-esque element that was really exciting.”
Thy Art Is Murder will follow Human Target’s release with a European tour that kicks off Aug. 1 in Germany, just before the Wacken Open Air festival. The trek will run until mid-August, after which the quintet will do a fall tour in North America supporting a headliner that hasn’t been announced yet and late-year dates in Australia. Returns to Europe and the United States also are slated for 2020. “We’re pretty much penciled-in to about 2021 right now, and I love it that way,” says Marsh. “This is music we’re really going to enjoy playing live a great deal.”