Thy Art Is Murder – Gig Review 18th May @ Drifters Wharf, Sydney NSW
Thy Art Is Murder
Drifter’s Wharf, Sydney NSW
May 18, 2023
Supports: Lune, To The Grave, Justice For The Damned
Could there be any greater setting for a night of deathcore than upon a twinkling wharf-like venue? This question was soon to be answered as Gosford’s Drifters Wharf hosted the first show of Thy Art Is Murder’s regional run. Littered with some of Australia’s finest talents as guests, it was a show not to be missed (even if it meant a two-hour journey)! Walking to the venue, the piercingly cold breeze was soon to become the last intake of fresh air and a non-sweat-drenched body for quite some time- of course, all the trademarks of a great show. As the night of the 18th of May was soon to unveil, the collaboration between Lune, To The Grave, Justice For The Damned, and Thy Art Is Murder was not just another regional feat, but a celebration of Australia’s thriving heavy music scene.
Unfortunately, the perils of public transport to regional shows played a catastrophic part in my night, causing me to arrive late to Lune’s set. As I was stamped in, the Melbourne band could already be heard shaking the walls of the confined space, a clear sign that they were doing their job of opening incredibly well. Upon entering the sweatbox, it was clear to see other patrons thought so too!
As I finally entered the room, drifting quite easily through the open middle section (of course a sign of respect to the carnage yet to be encountered), the anticipation began to finally hit. Donned in a ‘Cut Off The Head’ hoodie and a poorly yet personally made To The Grave beaded bracelet, it was safe to say my sights were fully on the spectacle of the self-branded Sydney horror icons. With a slurry of well-loved releases under their belt, it was a battle to showcase both the band’s established hits, and grimy slithers off their recent album release, Director’s Cuts – a body of work that personally lingers in contention for my album of the year.
Not merely entering the stage, but commanding the room with theatrical sirens, screams and piercing red lights, it was clear TTG were not here to muck around. Within their seven-song set, the band captured so much more than a performance, but instead a display of all things grotesque and jarring- an exhibition of their personal mantra. This, of course, can be largely directed back to vocalist Dane Evans who tore through both the stage and barricade, ripping off his signature mask to make a piercing connection with those in the front row. This commanding energy was maintained throughout the entire set, with the band trancing the room into a flurry of spinning circles and body pile-ups. Sharp and raw vocals, combined with To The Grave’s brutal instrumentals made for nothing short of an awe-inspiring set that truly didn’t feel long enough! Lucky for some of us, the band shortly embarks on their East Coast tour which is sure to be a greater display of their years of growth and unwavering solidification of their presence in the Australian deathcore scene.
Despite having to pull out due to a personal emergency, Justice For The Damned made a gracious effort to honour the many fans that turned up for their set. I took the opportunity to meet up with some of the band at the merch table, and of course, uphold my duty of purchasing some of their always awe-inspiring threads. Regardless of the circumstances, the band stood there with a smile and genuine interest in those who came up to wish them well or simply say hello. Not many other bands would tolerate a twenty-minute conversation about how well their slides uphold, yet for a moment, it was the most important topic of conversation to be found that night. The last time I saw JFTD was at Sydney’s Roundhouse- a larger-scale venue that is menacing to the average eye. Whilst seeing them at this smaller location would have been an unmissable and intoxicating feat of energy and power, I am left with anticipation to see them next time (and yes, I am still kicking myself for missing their Crowbar appearance).
As the stage became occupied by the grand and beaten skeleton microphone, there was a palpable excitement embodied by a small push toward those leaning on the barricade and shoulder shakes beaten by those brave enough to take on the pit. This was a feeling that didn’t cease until Thy Art’s final track… and by final I mean NO encore! My friend and I have always joked to avoid anyone wearing a Thy Art Is Murder shirt as they usually mean business, and the Gosford crew certainly showed up for the band tonight. However, there was also another side shown, that being the genuine connection between the band and fans. Taking elongated moments to talk, and not just the scrappy “how are you all doing tonight”, but on a colloquial level, sharing their stories of the day and interactions that happened just moments before taking the stage. What perhaps best articulates the nature of this relationship was the enduring call and response, at times, the crowd being even louder than the sobering cries of CJ McMahon.
From the haunting and disembodied guitars of ‘Reign of Darkness’ to the unrelenting ‘Puppet Master’, Thy Art Is Murder crafted a memorable setlist that paid homage to their long journey as a band and tales as ever-developing artists. Better yet, it was a catalogue that barely let the room rest. Ripped shirts, swung hands, and a shaky floor all became the trademarks of this by-the-sea show; a juxtaposing ambience that hit like a freight train when departing from the venue.
As the lights flickered on and SPEED rumbled over the speakers, it became noticeable that night was a not-so-subtle reminder of the long-time and upcoming talent that has emerged from Sydney’s Western suburbs (a topic of conversation that of course, had me cheering). Greater yet, it was a bigger reminder of the homegrown legends that have fostered and continue to alter the music landscape of both the Australian realm and outer.
Here’s to homegrown talent!
Gig Review by Georgia Haskins @ghaskins2002
Thy Art Is Murder‘s Regional Tour continues…