Anyone that caught the Aussie crew’s tent-filling smackdown on the Download third stage last year knows that Thy Art Is Murder are finally starting to put together both shows and crowds befitting of their almighty, breakdown-driven death metal racket, and with a killer undercard also on the bill for tonight, Reading looks set to be in for a helluva treat. Arriving to a relatively sparse but interested audience, metalcore mob Feed Her To The Sharks  suffer from a poor initial mix that grants them a slow start, but once they settle into their groove a bit more, the promise shown on this year’s ace Fortitude begins to shine through. Get their stage patter on point and beyond the usual “let’s open this place up!”-isms, and they could yet be something special.
Aversions Crown , on the other hand, almost bring the roof in. Closer in tone to death metal’s founding fathers than tonight’s marginally more hardcore-oriented headliners, their gruelling, groove-laden assault has the (now considerably bigger) Reading faithful bouncing around the joint like jibber-jabbers (remember them?) on pogo sticks. There’s a sinister edge to their modern DM onslaught that should see them readily embraced by extreme music’s old school contingent and young upstarts alike, and this tour could and should be the start of great things.
Thy Art Is Murder  waste little time in decimating the tiny Sub 89 stage, smashing their way through a carefully-picked “greatest hits” set that has everyone in the place roaring, air-punching and windmilling along to iron-clad bangers like Defective Breed, Reign Of Darkness and a crushing The Purest Strain Of Hate. There’s no material from imminent newie Holy War on display, with frontman CJ McMahon curiously noting that any such debuting of new tracks could see them faced with “law suits” (really?!), but there’s more than enough material in the bank to make this another triumphant showing for a band whose rise out of the underground seems to be very much on track. Death metal is on the march again, ladies and gentlemen, and it is rising from Down Under.