Review Summary: My knuckles are bleeding on your front door, and these flowers are wilting in the rain. They were for you and now they are for no one.
It’s unbelievable just how much Pig Destroyer
have evolved from their first attempt at music in the form of their 1998 debut album, Explosions in Ward 6. Hailing from Washington, these lunatics first played a cacophonous, albeit primitive and undeveloped offshoot of this brutal metal subgenre before really coming into their own with their genre-defining sophomore offering, Prowler in the Yard. With the band adding its successor and superior Terrifyer to their extensive discography 3 years later, fans were starting to wonder if Pig Destroyer would ever run out of their sick, perverse ideas. If Phantom Limb
is any indication, they’re not even close to showing any signs of slowing down. At all.
is the band’s most mature and dynamic record to date, while remaining magnificently disgusting. Buried in a noticeably improved production, Phantom
Limb is 30 minutes of nonstop, pounding grindcore that will leave your head spinning. The thrashy, hardcore riffs born in the sick, twisted mind of Scott Hull (arguably the genre’s most prominent guitar player) are infused with intensity last seen on a Carcass or early Daughters album. While being as angry as ever, Pig Destroyer also seem to be gravitating more towards death metal in terms of tempo and overall compositions. The vocals are still ear-piercing and injected with emotion, pushing the boundaries of the genre even further in terms of personality. Moreover, Phantom Limb
sees the band improving the dynamics of their songs, giving them more room to breathe. Rarely resorting to endless blast beating, the album switches between aggressive breakdowns, eerie samples, groove-y passages and even some ambient sections, constantly keeping the listener on the edge of his seat. As with most grindcore albums, lyrics in Phantom Limb
play a prominent role in instilling horror and disgust in the listener, yet Pig Destroyer continue the trend of eschewing traditional gore subject matter in favor of introspective, political messages. Lines like ‘a self-imposed quarantine from diversity only serves to restrict our capacity to evolve; nationalism is a malignant cancer which must be carved out by the blade of individualism’ give Phantom Limb
a large (but not surprising) amount of depth, rendering the album highly replayable and intelligently brutal.
Pig Destroyer show that they’re currently one of the, if not the most mature and dynamic bands in the stale grindcore genre, further evidenced by the release of Natasha in 2008, an evil and ambitious mass of pulverizing sludgy ambient doom. Phantom Limb
shows that, as long as these guys are still active, the genre is alive and kicking.