Review Summary: Grindcore being played exactly as it should be.
Grindcore is a genre that is hard to nail. So many bands these days have been slapped with the Grindcore label when they don't even play Grindcore. What happened to the Napalm Death influence, the kings and creators of the Grind sound? Well, it's all right here in the form of an album by the name of "Prowler In The Yard" which was released by Virgina based group Pig Destroyer. Their name may be somewhat silly and tongue in cheek (the meaning behind it is killing cops) but the music is not. They are a three-piece act that lacks a bass player. Scott Hull, of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Anal Cunt, is the guitar player and fills out the line-up with J.R. Hayes taking the vocal duties and Brian Harvey pounding the drums. If you know anything about Scott Hull, he is an extremely technical and fast-paced musician that, obviously, doesn't need a bass player trying to keep up with him. Somehow the absence of low end is not missed and is what makes these guys such a unique outfit.
I usually give examples of the quality of music by referencing certain songs in my reviews but that will be few and far between here because most of the songs on "Prowler In The Yard" clock in at less than a minute making many of them hard to remember considering you're being pummeled with razor sharp riffing right out of the gate. Pig Destroyer have taken an unsettling approach to their music lyrically and with their intro and outro of the record. Addressing themes of murder, trauma, pornography, violence and religion, they refer to themselves as "Pornographers Of Music" which is a term they rightfully deserve. J.R. Hayes has a distinctive scream that has yet to be imitated combining death growls, yells and high pitched shrieks.
A generated voice that sounds like it's coming from the speech feature of your computer kicks off the album with a twisted story about a girl named "Jennifer" (yes, it is also the name of the intro) and how she begins licking another girl's eyeballs while a crowd gathers to watch the spectacle. While this is going on, guitar feedback and the sound of laughter are heard in the background, filling your ears with an uneasy feeling of dread. They don't even wait for the last word to fade before assaulting you with "Cheerleader Corpses". This is a common formula utilized throughout. As soon as a song ends another begins so you really have to pay attention to your stereo's track counter or you might think the same song is still playing.
Even with the issue of everything blending together it doesn't take away from the sheer ferocity violating your ear canal. There are some songs that have upbeat, catchy guitar parts that help you remember them amongst the thirty second songs that seem to be thrown in at random just about everywhere but "Prowler In The Yard" relies on everything flowing together seamlessly so the less memorable tracks could very well be filler to the next attack. One note I must make is the insane riffing of the song "Hyperviolet" which is almost without form and has a killer drum groove at the end that actually makes up most of the songs length. You might be asking "If all the songs are short and some of them aren't even memorable, why are you giving it a 4?". I'm giving it a high rating because of its consistency and attention to detail. The music is vicious and very well written. The songs I don't find to be up there with the others are still little bursts of violence and chaos with never a dull riff and always outstanding drumming. The production is gritty and fits the style they're going for in more ways than one. Grindcore has always been about combining Punk ethic with the metallic overtones of Metal and these guys have pulled it off with ease.
With 22 tracks clocking in at just over 30 minutes, the album takes no prisoners and always rushes to the next disgusting vision. You won't be able to understand anything Hayes is saying or even make sense of most of the song structures, including the hyper speed guitar parts written by Hull, but that is what makes this such a diamond in the rough. By keeping you guessing it will keep you listening for fear of missing something. Reading the lyrics along with the album helps give you a grasp on their approach and will actually help you appreciate it for what it is instead of dismissing it as "just another Grind record". If you're into Grindcore at all you will eat this *** up like a pig being led to the slaughter. Short songs, fast tempos, nothing's-off-limits lyrics. *** yeah.