CJ McMahon Quits Thy Art Is Murder

Chris "CJ" McMahon of Thy Art Is Murder. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada.

Chris “CJ” McMahon of Thy Art Is Murder. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada.com

In a post to Facebook, CJ McMahon has quit his band Thy Art Is Murder. Citing too much time spent away from his fiancee and money woes as the main reasons, McMahon wrote that he “won’t live this way anymore.” The band has announced Nick Arthur of Molotov Solution as their fill in vocalist for their upcoming tour with Parkway Drive. As part of TAIM, McMahon released Holy War (Nuclear Blast) earlier in 2015, toured the world, including this past summer’s Mayhem Festival.

 

With a mix of both negative and positive emotions, I inform you all that I have parted ways with my band Thy Art Is Murder. It has been a wild ride I have travelled to over 40 countries around the world and played alongside some of the worlds biggest and best bands, it brings me great sadness knowing I will never perform again for my amazing and supportive fans, this will be the hardest thing for me to deal with. My reasons for leaving: I spend too much time away from my fiancé , family and friends, touring has taken a massive mental, emotional and physical toll on me. One of the biggest reasons is money, I / we have been broke for years and being 32 years old I can’t live like this anymore. I am getting married next year and plan on having a family, these things cost money, to put the finances into perspective for you I /we have earned between $16k-$18k each over 6-7 years, I feel there is something massively wrong with this, I will not live like this anymore. I’m sorry to my fans that I have to go, I have loved you all and I thank you for believing in me supporting me. The money made from my closing down sale of my clothing label will be going to my wedding, I will also be selling my Northface stage jacket I have worn the last two years on stage via eBay soon to try to pay for my wedding for the people interested, again thank you for the love and support, Your Prince Of Darkness Cj 

 

The band offered their own take on CJ’s departure

After much conjecture and ambiguity on his behalf, it is with a heavy heart that we must announce today that CJ is no longer a part of Thy Art Is Murder. We have worked so hard from day one to make this band what it is now, and develop the reputation that we have and he had been there with us every step of the way. We like to think that even if someone doesn’t like our music that they can at least respect our work ethic. This band has taken us to places we never thought we would see and to share stages with many bands we never thought we would get to play with or meet, let alone call friends. It is unfortunate that with our best year to date and our biggest paved out before us that he has decided to leave.

All this being said, touring as hard as we do does take its toll on you physically, but more importantly mentally and emotionally. We are an underground metal band, and have been so fortunate over the last two years to carve out a small income thanks to so many dedicated and generous fans around the world. For some people, it comes to a turning point in their life where that income is no longer enough for their personal goals, and that point has come for CJ. We would like to wish him all our best as he leaves the band and moves onward to start a family and new life with his loving fiancée.

The four of us are continuing forward into 2016 for some of the biggest and best tours of our lives. We won’t be slowing down or missing any shows. We head back out next month with Parkway Drive and Architects throughout Europe and the UK and will be taking one of our favourite vocalists with us, Nick Arthur from Molotov Solution. Thy Art is what we have done with all of our adult lives and we have put absolutely everything we have into the band and the friendship between the four of us. That friendship and drive to create extreme music is what has kept us together through thick and thin. Unfortunately not everyone can share this fire.

Andy, Kevin, Lee and Sean – Thy Art Is Murder

 

 

After much conjecture and ambiguity on his behalf, it is with a heavy heart that we must announce today that CJ is no…

Posted by Thy Art Is Murder on Monday, December 21, 2015

 

 

 thy-art-is-murder_holy-war-cover_H_0415

With a mix of both negative and positive emotions, I inform you all that I have parted ways with my band Thy Art Is…

Posted by CJ McMahon on Monday, December 21, 2015

[amazon asin=B00XC868LM&template=iframe image1]

Cognitive – Cognitive

cognitive-cogitive-review1

Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Can idol worship be metal’s most potent catalyst and yet be its biggest inhibitor to musical progression?

Let’s look at two of the most weight-carrying names in the genre, Slayer and Metallica. While their musical endeavors have led many a longhair to pick up an instrument and write their own metal, they themselves got a little inspiration from the likes of Venom and Diamond Head respectively. I guess what I’m getting at is that good musicians will want to play music like their heroes, but the truly great ones will take those lessons and create something fresh with it.

Venom makes future members of Slayer want to play guitar really fast. That vicious form of shred in turn inspires kids in Brazil to start Sepultura and play something even more ferocious.

Jobstown, New Jersey death metal quintet Cognitive fall under that good musician’s category. Obviously talented players that in the span of three years have released an EP and now a full-length self-titled album. That’s without mentioning that they’ve shared the stage with the likes of Broken Hope, Cattle Decapitation, and Wretched, to name a few. Most regional bands at that tenure are still struggling to put a recording together.

My issue with Cognitive is that they’re not doing anything we haven’t heard Whitechapel or Oceano do three albums ago. Its an LP that likely would have gotten them signed to a Century Media or Earache Records during the great deathcore scramble of 2007.

I say this because a track like opener ‘Cut the Fuck Up’ while very enjoyable and most definitely moshable sounds too much like it came off Whitechapel’s (very underrated) The Somatic Defilement. Then you have the more generic cuts like ‘Worlds Beneath’ that sounds like a song Carnifex decided to pass on. That’s not to say there isn’t a market for the stuff, i.e. notice the wave of success currently enjoyed by Thy Art is Murder. You just don’t want to get comfortable in that zone. To stay in that deathcore gray area lumps you with the Winds of Plague and Suffokate’s of the world. You do not want this.

But there is a silver lining here. Potential. Vocalist Jorel Hart sounds like a rabid bear and the real star is lead guitarist Jake Iannaco who shines brightest when tinging the songs with semi-melodic leads like in ‘Willingness of the Weak’. If Cognitive decides to blaze their own path instead of following the worn deathcore trail, they’ll cease to be good and become great.

6/10

Cognitive on Facebook

HANSEL LOPEZ

The Acacia Strain – Coma Witch

TheAcaciaStrainComaWitch

 

Ostensibly genreless Chicopee demolishers in The Acacia Strain has been on the warpath since 2001, consistently releasing music that front man Vincent Bennet insists isn’t deathcore, a label which has, as recent internet history dictates, become one to avoid. Indeed, in a world of 7 billion people, originality is hard to come by. This being TAS’ (un)lucky seventh studio release, they’ve shown that there’s more than one way to skin a human alive, persevering after the loss of faithful six-string executioner DL Laskiewicz. With a title and cover art that could very well belong on a sludge/doom metal album, though following with the recent theme of morbid birds, it was hard to predict how the band could follow up the impossibly heavy Death is the Only Mortal, a veritable feast of down-tuned, low tempo aggression at its meanest. With Coma Witch, we’re still in dangerously heavy territory, and, as proven by a track record of inventive metal/hardcore bruising, there’s some actual music churning ‘neath the chugs.

When one thinks of The Acacia Strain, it’s hard not to immediately recall their famous, though thankfully terminated, beef with Emmure over who came up with drop-B misogyny first. If anything, this has taken away from a truly objective look at the band’s music, which is miles beyond what Emmure and their cuckold fascination can be worth. It doesn’t matter who made it up; TAS is doing it consistently better. They’re essentially regarded as hardcore’s answer to polyrhythm polymaths in Sweden’s Meshuggah, and Coma Witch does little to quiet this discussion. ‘Send Help’, much like ‘Woah! Shut it Down’ from The Dead Walk, opens with a killer off-kilter groove, accented by eerie leads, a technique that the band seems to be experimenting with more than ever. Continent and Wormwood were a successful welding of beatdown brutality and enough melody to taste, so it was a good move on their part to pursue this direction. ‘Holy Walls of the Vatican’, one of the overall fastest psalms, even shows Vincent Bennett channeling the bark of Travis of Cattle Decapitation alongside his usual roar.

While the mainly exploring TAS’ versatility, it’s easy to hear the callbacks to previous works; the aforementioned ‘Send Help’, and ‘VVorld Demise’ (feat. Brendan of Incendiary) bringing in a leitmotif of sorts by altering the tempo and pitch of the chorus from Continent’s ‘Skynet’, to pleasing results. The lyrics, if you’ve listened to any other release by TAS (seriously, pick one) haven’t changed much; Vincent still hates everyone and wants them to all to suffer. Any of their lines could go on the back of a shirt as a quote, really. The use of bone-chilling, nihilistic and murderous samples is still effective as it always has been in framing the violence the band embodies. None of the songs are too long or too short, and not hurting for variety either. Disc 2, featuring the 28 minute epic ‘Observe’, is like ‘Tactical Nuke’ from Wormwood had a bastard child with Pig Destroyer’s ‘Natasha’. Massive breakdowns, though now swimming in light leads,with world-ending clips of dialogue, ambient passages, and a sorrowful string quartet to conclude the proceedings. One-dimensional meathead hardcore, this band is not.

8/10

The Acacia Strain on Facebook

 

SEAN PIERRE-ANTOINE

Job For A Cowboy Returns With Sun Eater This November

jfac new album cover

 

Job For A Cowboy will release their new album Sun Eater this November from Metal Blade Records. The band has spent over a year writing and recording the new death metal opus. Since the departure of Jon Rice, the band has been working with extreme drumming virtuoso Danny Walker (Exhumed, Murder Construct, Intronaut) who laid down the drums for Sun Eater. The band promised a new sound and even more growth from the band that began as a tech death sensation, and morphed from death core to true death metal over time. The new album was produced by Jason Suecof who has a long history with the band. You can hear the new song ‘Sun of Nihility’ now:

 

From The Press Release:

 

Job for a Cowboy have wrapped up music and art on their fourth full length album, “Sun Eater.” Along with producer Jason Suecof, vocalist Jonny Davy, guitarists Al Glassman and Tony Sannicandro, bassist Nick Schendzielos, and session drummer Danny Walker have crafted a cerebral and accomplished piece of technical death metal. Job for a Cowboy wrapped up touring in 2013 as part of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival that summer. Following that performance, the band collectively decided to sharpen their focus and set an intent on cooking up a record that encompassed their full dynamic range of talent. The group had all agreed on the main course being a desire for futuristic tones, a wider spectrum of textures and tempos, and an emphasis on slightly more ancestral song construction. The result, “Sun Eater,” does not just sound like a new record, it sounds like an entirely new band.

Listen to “Sun of Nihility” and pre-order the album now at metalblade.com/jobforacowboy.

Following the departure of long time skins-man Jon Rice, Job for a Cowboy, cognizant of the size of shoes that needed to be filled, in addition to the depth and versatility demanded by the new material, enlisted the services of Danny Walker (Intronaut, Murder Construct, Exhumed, etc). Walker’s mastery of his craft, coupled with his creativity and enthusiasm for the material, strongly influenced the outcome of the record, and it only takes a few minutes of listening to hear this is Job for a Cowboy at their finest.

Regarding composition, guitarist Tony Sannicandro recalled: “This album came together very smoothly. We had the concept before hand and I took it upon myself to try and portray that concept through the music. I took a much more melodic approach than “Demonocracy”: focusing on the structuring and the layering that would complement the story to my ears.” The other half of the guitar duo, Al Glassman, continued to be a driving force behind the band’s sound. Bassist Nick Schendzielos added that “Al riffs long and hard for greater the good of everyone involved. He really used a lot of foresight in his revisions during the writing process, creating ample room for me to mood-out the tracks with bass that you can actually hear. in the end I think we really brought the character out in each and every song.” Indeed, composition and songwriting was the focus here. With this new album, the band had the luxury of relative longevity in the core of their songwriting lineup. This led to a far stronger vibe and a much more realized final product.

Audiohammer producer Jason Suecof, whose first bout with the band was 2009’s “Ruination,” has now worked with the band for over six years. Few are more familiar with how Job for a Cowboy operates in the studio than Suecof, and he was also feeling the “vibe” on “Sun Eater“: “This band is composed entirely of top notch musicians all the way around and they are clearly at the top of their game. This new album is a stellar combination of everyone’s efforts and what we have now is something that conveys everyone’s musicianship without being techy for the sake of being tech. This album has got feeling and it is fucking brutal!

Sun Eater will be available via Metal Blade Records on November 11th in North America and November 7th/10th in Europe/UK

Follow Job for a Cowboy online:
http://www.facebook.com/jobforacowboy

Up For The Challenge: Zach Householder of Whitechapel

Whitechapel album cover

 

 

Over the past eight years, the six members of Whitechapel have been on a tear, pushing the boundaries of extreme music and drawing new fans along the way. Their time spent touring has helped them build quite an extensive following and winning over legions of fans everywhere they play.

 

Their latest release, Our Endless War (Metal Blade), was eagerly awaited by their fans and the metal scene in general. The result was a first week charting in the Top 10 US Charts their first week of release, a rarity in recent times and especially in the metal world.

 

We’ve always been pigeonholed into deathcore. Whatever. If you like to pigeonhole bands that’s cool. Deathcore has such restrictive boundaries and we said fuck it. We just want to write whatever we want – just a good collaborative album without having to worry about what people expect us to write. Fuck that. We write what the fans who have grown with us and are singing with us. We’re not writing for any one person,” explained guitarist Zach Householder, talking about their the outcome of the album.

 

He explained the band’s approach upon Our Endless War, once they began the writing process. “The writing process is pretty streamlined. This is the fifth album and we had two work stations set up at Alex’s [Wade, guitarist] house. We had a lot of material to begin with because we always recorded demos and passed it around through email. When it came time to writing, we sifted through it and started writing skeletons. We had two work stations so it was twice the productivity. Not to mention it was a collaborative effort as far as everybody putting their heads together. All of us always write but sometimes if I write a whole song, it ends up being by me. This time, it seemed like everyone put in their effort in each song.”

 

Having three guitarists in Whitechapel has been somewhat of a unique aspect of the band. They found ways to utilize each member into their music and making it a vital part of their overall sound.

 

We’ve had it for so long now. It’s something we’ve used to our benefit and learned how to work out. It’s not three guitars and shred fest. It’s three guitarists on stage working together and laying stuff for live sound and making a huge wall of sound. With writing, it’s not a lot of bickering. It’s just three heads writing instead of one or two. It makes for a better collaborative input as far as writing goes. We make it work to our advantage.”

 

 

Reaching album number five is a milestone for many bands today, since many do not make it this far. But Householder does admit there are some challenges towards the creative process into writing Whitechapel songs. “I’m sure it’s the same for all of us. We always have the drive and always something new we want to try. The writing process is pretty streamlined for us now. We know how to read each other and work with each other. It’s stressful but not difficult.”

 

Whitechapel band 2

Over the years, Whitechapel has found itself in front of vast audiences, ranging from Trivium to The Devil Wears Prada to GWAR, as well as stints on the Vans Warped Tour and the Rockstar Mayhem Fest. The band is up to the challenge of playing in front of any crowd and winning over new fans.

 

We’ve done GWAR and Asking Alexandria. That’s definitely our demographics. We did those tours for a reason because there’s always kids who will never wind up hearing us before or had heard of us, and end up liking us. I think that’s helped us a lot. You have to try it out. You have to stretch your legs and see what happens.”

 

While they are up for the challenge, they also realize reactions may be mixed towards what they do. “It’s mixed. Sometimes we’re too extreme for some people. I think for the GWAR fans they’re there to see some raunchy metal anyways. It was easier to appeal to them because they were there to have a good time. They liked what they heard.”

 

Householder spoke about the deathcore genre tag that Whitechapel often gets lumped into. While this semi-new moniker that has taken the metal world by storm, the band claims to not let it hinder its creativity or interfere with its growth process in any way:

 

I think it’s a lot more metal and some of our older releases are coming into it more. Once again, I said deathcore is just a certain genre we don’t want to stick by. It’s just boring. I’m sure we’ll always be labeled that. I guess that’s where we come from. I’ve never heard the term deathcore until I started playing for Whitechapel and it’s a sub-genre of a sub-genre I could give a fuck. The fact is we’re doing what we’re do. We weren’t sitting there writing to saying we need to do this to sound like this. It’s just what came out. It’s what gradually what’s grown as time went on.”

 

While the band tours a lot, they always find time to work on new material: “Winter time we’re home a lot,” he said. “Like I said, writing’s a year long process. When I’m at home, I’m in front of my computer every day. It’s not finding time. We always find the need to do it because we always want to be ahead of it. When it comes time to writing the album, we want to have a jump start on it. Half the time we’re on the road and half the time we’re at home, we’re constantly building up material.”

 

Whitechapel on Facebook

 

REI NISHIMOTO

Carnifex – Die without Hope

Carnifex - Die Without Hope album cover

 

It doesn’t seem all that long since American deathcore artists Carnifex announced they would be taking an indefinite hiatus and dissolving back into the obscurity they came from. Just two years later the band are back ripping their way onto the scene again with their fifth studio album Die Without Hope. The time away has obviously had some impact on the band, announcing a fresh sound that sees a distinctly heavier touch of death metal and a shiny new deal with metal label giants Nuclear Blast.

 

Although this album does see a move away from the more generic deathcore traits that were prevalent across their earlier work, it is still littered with a distinct core sound that it never quite shakes off. Traces of melodic death creep through, but dissolve back into generic breakdowns and unimaginative vocal lines. This is matched by the production; some parts dazzle with rich guitar tones and symphonic promises, but the drums click their way through the album, often sounding more like a machine than a kit. There are hints and promises of experimentation and fresh ideas but the ceaseless focus on heaviness leaves the album lacking any real emotional depth, and the squeaky clean sound sucks any grimy pleasure out of the violently unrelenting brutality.

Despite this, Die without Hope shouldn’t be totally dismissed. Smaller surprises lie between the stuttering riffs and uninspired screams, with ‘Dark Days’ containing an almost Dimmu Borgir-esque intro and ‘Condemned to Decay’ throwing in some death metal grooves. This album will still appeal to those with a softer spot for the likes of Whitechapel or Chelsea Grin, but for the more seasoned death metal fan it still falls a long way off the mark.

 

3/10

Carnifex on Facebook

 

CAITLIN SMITH

 

Review by CAITLIN SMITH

I Am Heresy – Thy Will

i am heresy thy will album cover

 

The term metalcore has been bastardized beyond the days when it applied to bands like Stampin’ Ground, who espoused the virtues of hardcore with a huge metal bent to now mean any band that combines shouting verses with clean choruses and/or with widdly leads (to show their love of metulz) and breakdowns (to be down wiv da kidz) as interchangeable as the slew of bands that play them. I Am Heresy, the brainchild of vocalist Nathan Gray (Boysetsfire) and featuring his son Simon Gray on guitars, belong in both camps: that which “metalcore” used to encompass, and parts of what it does now, equal parts metal, hardcore and a mix of melody and aggression and sound like what I always wanted Architects to sound like, but is the better for the fact that Architects don’t actually sound like this.

Thy Will (Century Media) kicks off with punchy and violent ‘Rahabh’, 3 minutes of what Slayer should have sounded like on Undisputed Attitude, before ‘Our Father’ punks out open chords in a Bring Me The Horizon fashion, moving into the more melodic ‘March Of Black Earth’ where Gray Sr opens up his clean vocals for the first time. ‘Destruction Anthems’ returns to the temple of Slayer, all Seasons In The Abyss being covered by Sick Of It All, ‘Thy Will II (Black Sun Omega)’ is a mix of As I Lay Dying and Killswitch Engage and tasteful mid-album break ‘Alarm’ would sit beautifully on an Ancient VVisdom release.

But at 13 tracks, they spread themselves too thinly with too many fillers for one record and their potential and sound isn’t fully realized throughout (for example ‘Blasphemy Incarnate’ is stock, ‘As We Break’ is all chorus and no song, the riffs of ‘Hinnom II’ close in on Avenged Sevenfold territory and serves as a weak closer). But make no bones, when this melodic metal/hardcore mesh works, it shows I Am Heresy are capable of creating some engaging music, at times aggressive, at others catchy and often both, with personal favourite ‘Seven Wolves And The Daughters of Apocalypse’ a nice summary of the whole.

 

7.5/10

I Am Heresy on Facebook

STEVE TOVEY