What you're probably thinking right now is either excitement or disgust, because you've just had your attention drawn to the art that adores this album's cover. Whichever of the two suits you will stick with you throughout this journey of pain, obsession and, oddly enough, love.
Pig Destroyer, on this album;
Brian Harvey - Drums
J.R. Hayes - Vocals (Hissing Choir)
Scott Hull - Guitars (Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Enemy Soil, Treblinka, Japanese Torture Comedy Hour, ex-Anal Cunt)
The wise amongst you will recognise Scott Hull as the evil genius behind the grind-on-acid project Agoraphobic Nosebleed. He decided that a band needed to bring back "what grindcore should be", and this led to the formation of Pig Destroyer.
Hull obviously has a different definition of grindcore than the vast majority, then. When one mentions grindcore, the first things to come to mind are low, disgusting growls, thick muddy guitars and incessantly blasting drums. What Pig Destroyer offer is a frenzied, cacophonous collection of the most brutal, searing riffs to spurt out of an amplifier, drums that can articulate and alter their beat without losing the speed and energy, and fierce vocals that display that special, raw kind of emotion that you get when you feel like killing your girlfriend.
Each member of Pig Destroyer brings their immense talent to the fore and doesn't let down.
Hull's riffs are energetic and masterfully crafted, and also quite technical when they want to be. They surge out of the speakers, but as shown on Carrion Fairy and Downpour Girl, he also knows how to craft catchy and fun riffs. The absence of bass guitar lets his full tone show through, smacking the listener with distortion and plain power. The short times for the songs allow a lot of focus on certain riffs, which is a clever composition trick when used and adds that feeling that each song is different that you usually don't get with a grindcore CD.
Harvey's drumming is probably the most powerful human drumming I've heard on a grind CD, possibly even on any CD from any genre. He is extremely fast, yet also able to play very powerful and different beats. His rapid fills and plethora of different punk beats create a feeling of utter chaos and freshness throughout the album.
Hayes' vocals are, suffice to say, just plain hardcore screams. But the delivery is fantastic; I usually hate this style of screaming but he instills his chilling screams with true emotion and there are enough effects on his vocals throughout to stop them becoming stale.
The lyrics on this are absolutely brilliant. I don't think it's supposed to be a concept album, but all the lyrics seem to be talking about the subject having an obsession with a girl that causes him to become violent towards her. Cliched concept? Yes, but the strength of Pig Destroyer is not inventing new ways of making music, but keeping traditional and focusing on the actual content instead of how many times it's been done. The lyrics are extremely articulate, full of metaphors and emotions. Coupled with Hayes' screams, they are quite fierce and haunting.
This isn't usually what you'd say about a metal album, much less a grindcore album, but the production here is truly magnificent. Hull spent so much effort on the production that the computer he was doing it on crashed, and it shows. Each instrument absolutely blares out, there is no dull point in the mix. The drums sound deep and real, but also shred your ears apart, the cymbals are even too much to bare at times. The guitar is searing at times, crushingly heavy at others. The vocals are, as said before, given enough different effects and overdubs to keep them interesting and articulate.
A small section of this must be devoted to the wonderful ear Hull has for sampling and electronic elements. The track Gravedancer has a minute-long section at the end with no instruments, only haunting ambience and a conversation between a man and woman. Their voices jump around the speakers and mix, it's a very freaky experience and the fact that you can't understand half of what their saying adds to this feeling. The intro to the CD is a perfect lead-up, creating that haunting, serial-killer atmosphere.
This is a perfect album. It's so perfectionist, yet it displays an energy like no other. The lack of bass and perfect production give a very unique sound to songs that could sound like immature hardcore if performed by different people. Hull is a brilliant composer, but unlike Agoraphobic Nosebleed, each member of the group gets space to show their skills off and, most of all, belt the listener into oblivion.
Emotional without being emo.
Loud and noisy without being stupid.
Brilliant songwriting skills.
Some will find the "hardcore" nature of the band unappealing.
Not "grindcore" in the truest sense.
Some will just find it too much to take, it's a very noisy CD and never really relents.