Thy Art Is Murder have released their third album ‘Holy War‘ this week via UNFD.
The new album follows the massively successful ‘Hate‘ album from back in 2012.
The three years since that album have been a blur for the band, barely off the road, they’ve toured internationally and locally more times than you can count, and are expected to announce their next run of Australian tour dates next week. Stay tuned.
For now, Andy from the band has taken time out to run over our On The Record questions. Press play below to listen, while you read about the album.
Well it was about time right? We had been riding the Hate train for almost two years when we went into the studio to record Holy War and the timing finally felt right and we had the songs we felt we needed. We went into this one similarly to Hate in that we had no artwork or album title in mind and we waited for it to make itself apparent to us. There was never another title, just like there was no other title for Hate. The preproduction song titles were all Daniel Day Lewis and Jean Claudde Van Damme movie titles.
Tell us about the artwork.
I acted as the art director for this one as I had the idea for the confronting image. I decided to bring in my friend and long time band photographer Thomas Savage to shoot a photograph series for the artwork to add another level of realism and impact to the cover. I think he did a great job along with Sebastian Lux from Germany who handled the layout. The album tackles many topics that people are often afraid to speak about publicly and the image was to be something real that happens that maybe gets swept under the veil of media. Religions around the world do strap bombs to children for agendas that they cant yet comprehend and people need to know that, and maybe they need to see it too.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
Its currently up for preorder through all of our merchandise and record label channels with various vinyl colorways and 6 panel digipak along with itunes.
Who will it be released through, and when?
We are releasing the album through UNFD in Australia on the 26th of June and the rest of the world through Nuclear Blast Entertainment. It will hit stores in the UK on June 26, Europe June 29 and the USA on June 30.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
We recorded the album at the Machine Shop in New Jersey, which is in the process of being renamed. We recorded with the same producer as Hate, Will Putney, who has become like the extra member of the band. Working with Will is very natural for us and we are all great friends so we can’t imagine recording with anyone else. It’s not so much about the studio space or equipment but about his brain and his ears. He understands our vision and really helps focus our energy into the songs.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
The only direction we had in mind was onward and upward, aside from that, not much else. The songs themselves on Holy War have a lot more variation in our opinion but together sound a lot more focused than on Hate. Lyrically we had a more focused idea with this one and the concepts we wanted to tackle so that made things a lot easier, and better too.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
We didn’t listen to anything out of the ordinary really. We always jam a lot of Behemoth and Decapitated on tour but at the same time the guys blast a lot of dance music and rap which I hate. Sworn In were recording their new album while we were writing the month before we started tracking so we were hearing that all day everyday.
Were there any albums you were referencing in the studio to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
Production wise, no. When we were mixing we referenced Gojira’s ‘The way of all flesh’.
How long did you spend in the studio recording?
We spent the month of August last year after a US tour writing at the Machine Shop and then recorded it the month after.
We went in a month early to finish writing and to squeeze out a couple extra tracks. Sean really got into the zone then and wrote probably half of the albums music in that time. Will was recording Sworn In at that point but would pop into our two preproduction rooms that were opposite another to give feedback or critique riffs that Sean, Lee and I had been working on. After that month we spent a couple of days together with him all day finalizing the songs, structuring them and adding riffs or spicing up bits that had become boring but we didn’t really know what to do with them. After that we took a long weekend holiday down to Orlando to hang out with Jason Suecof and Mark Lewis at audiohammer studios. We got so written off that when we got back to Jersey we did no work for a few more days so we actually ended up tracking the album in about 15 days. We had built the structure of the songs in the 2 or 3 day prepro sessions so the plan had been laid and we just need to record the parts. We recorded guitars through amps with no reamping to the programmed drums that had been written as a guide and we would hand them to Lee to practice along to with the click and no drums so he could have more time to compose his parts. Oddly we recorded drums last.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
Capturing the guitar tone we wanted from day one and recording it as is was different this time. Normally we just record a DI and the guitar is then reamped during mixing. We also recorded drums last this time so Lee had more time to practice and come up with parts. The album is very dynamic so it was cool to give him time and space to spice up his playing.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
We wrote a song called Coffin Dragger which we reckon is the circle pit anthem of the year and it had this very Parkway Drive melodic part. I mentioned at one point that even the lyrics sounded like something Winston might write and how cool it would be to get him to do the vocals over it. CJ messaged him straight away and he got back to us very quickly and said he would love to do it. We were so pumped when we got his tracks back.
When it comes do naming the tracks, is there any particular approach or process to it all?
Will and I named the tracks in about 5 minutes after we had finished mixing and we had to take the songs to mastering. We just scrolled through the lyrics and thought of the song meanings and the titles made themselves apparent to us pretty quickly. We had forgotten to name them all at about 7am (we’d been up all night finishing the mix) and our mastering session with Ted Jensen was at 10am. We didn’t want him receiving song titles like ‘there will be blood’ and ‘last of the mohicans’.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
We used the same guitar for rhythm guitar tracking as we did on Hate, a mahogany bodied Ibanez J custom with Dimarzio blaze custom pickups, which are the same that Sean uses in his live guitar. We used my live guitar for all the leads and overdubs which is an Ibanez Prestige RGD 2127 with dimarzio evo and air Norton pickups in the bridge and neck respectively. We still used a 5150 for our guitar sound as well as Seans Bogner Uberschall from our US touring rig but we did blend in a PRS archon that Will has which is something we don’t normally use.
Any memorable studio moments?
Sean cracking during the writing sessions and finding him in the middle of the night in his writing room lying on the floor shirtless playing Jeff Buckley on guitar and singing.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
There’s a few extra ones actually. We had the ten tracks we wanted on the record but we also recorded three extra. One of them, Vengeance, makes an appearance on the first pressing digipak as a bonus track and the other two don’t have vocals on them yet. Maybe they’ll see the light of day next year.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
Coffin Dragger, Holy War, Light Bearer and Absolute Genocide. We really can’t wait to play all of them to be honest. Even at sound check this tour we’ve been jamming a bunch of them and we really love all of these songs, they’re so much fun to play live together.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
Every band always says their newest album is their best but this one truly is. We all grew closer as players and as friends touring the world on Hate and we came together to put in such a cohesive effort on this one and I can hear the difference. We are all so proud of each other and of the record that we made together.
1. Absolute Genocide
2. Light Bearer
3. Holy War
4. Coffin Dragger
5. Fur and Claw
6. Deliver Us To Evil
8. Violent Reckoning
9. Child Of Sorrow
10. Naked and Cold