Following the release of their latest album Godlike, the rescheduling of their previous UK tour and the controversial firing of their previous vocalist CJ McMahon, Thy Art is Murder returned to Manchester with one of the biggest deathcore bills of the year. Whitechapel, Fit For An Autopsy and Spite opening seems like something any self-respecting deathcore fan would wish for, unfortunately, this wish was made with a monkey’s paw…
Spite was first on and it didn’t take long for the biggest problem of the show to rear its ugly head: the sound was awful. Likely the worst I’ve heard at the Academy which is typically a great venue. Spite were full of energy, their frontman Darius Tehrani had this malevolent and unhinged stage presence, he stalked around the stage making these bizarre faces while erratically jerking around.
The drums were so much louder than anything else, particularly the cymbals, it made for a rather dull listening experience but having listened to the setlist after the show, I can confirm that they have the songs to back that formidable stage presence. ‘Kill Or Be Killed’ was the only song that cut through the bad mix due to the slower pounding drumming.
Next up was Fit For An Autopsy, there was hope that the sound would improve but those hopes were quickly destroyed. Having seen Fot For An Autopsy previously, I can confirm they have the ability to command a crowd with devastating intensity.
Once again, the higher register was gone and it all sounded like absolute mush through ear defenders and without them. For those suggesting to just move, that’s not an option for some people and it’s unreasonable to suggest that when a massive section of the room has the same sound problems. The only place with decent sound was by the mixer but if there’s only one point in the room with good sound then what’s the point in even having a mixer?
Fit For An Autopsy once again did a stellar job, a particular favourite was the melodic track ‘Far From Heaven’ with its ambient legato-driven intro. It would have been nice to hear it live but for now, I’ll have to settle for just hearing the drums and bass.
The final support was Whitechapel, the band I was most excited to see, very little had changed in terms of sound. This show had quickly become one of the most frustrating shows of the year with very few songs actually cutting through the mix.
Phil Bozeman is one of the most powerful vocalists in deathcore and even he couldn’t get through it. ‘Doom Woods’ was a welcome addition to the setlist due to its slow hypnotic nature and ‘This Is Exile’ was also fantastic to hear but that is largely because I knew the song from beforehand.
Finally, the last hope for the show was taking to the stage; Thy Art is Murder opened with the bombastic chugs of ‘Destroyer of Dreams’. The incredibly low slamming palm-muted chords were building tension, the crowd was at boiling point, everyone on my side needed this drop to be the most colossal drop of all time and when the drums kicked in… It was still inaudible mush.
The majority of the set was centred around Godlike, perhaps due to Tyler Miller needing more time to learn the songs but he still did a good job at imitating CJ’s songs. His stage presence was on point as he ripped through classics like ‘Holy War’ and ‘Make America Hate Again’.
At some point during the set, I moved towards the mixing desk which is typically where you’ll find the best sound at the average show. The sound was average at best there as well and it seemed like even the people mixing the show were commenting on how bad the sound was on the side.
Godlike has been divisive amongst fans but they translate well in a live setting, ‘Join Me In Armageddon’ and Keres got many people moving in the centre of the room. A personal favourite of the new album is ‘Bermuda’, with its slow-crushing atmosphere and shoegaze style droning which added some variety. A number of people were heard saying “It’s not CJ” before leaving and that just speaks to how much of a split there is amongst fans and also shows how little some people have researched the issue before making knee-jerk reactions.
It’s incredibly frustrating that this show had such bad sound because to accurately review a show, you need good sound. Even after making so many changes in location and listening devices it was unsalvageable. No disrespect to the bands who played tonight, they all did their jobs perfectly and were only let down by an awful mix.
Thy Art is Murder are a fantastic deathcore band and put all the effort they could into making an engaging show and overcoming issues that could kill a lesser band. Hopefully, they return with a much better sound mix.