Pig Destroyer – Head Cage

By Sean Lewis

Pig Destroyer dragged grindcore kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Establishing themselves at the turn of the millennium with genre classics ‘Prowler in the Yard’ and ‘Terrifyer’, they turned heads by introducing elements of death metal, noise, and metalcore, and running them through grindcore’s meat-grinder. After a six year absence, Pig Destroyer continue to place themselves ahead of the pack with ‘Head Cage’.

The most obvious evolution in their sound is adding John Jarvis, a bass player, to their line-up. The added low end makes Pig Destroyer’s sound almost overwhelmingly dense. On pure grindcore blitzkriegs like ‘Trap Door Man’, the combination of the guitar tone, blast beats, and low end create a wall of noise that could blast a hole in a bank vault door. Meanwhile, ‘Mt. Skull’ is a thick wall of sludge that hits you in the face full force.

This added weight to their sound is made the more impactful with the (slightly) slower tempos of ‘Concrete Beast’ and ‘House of Snakes’. Bordering on pure sludge metal, these songs prove that after 20 years, Pig Destroyer can keep up with youngsters like Conjurer in terms of making modern extreme metal. Its enough to make Eyehategod want a herbal tea and a lie down.

‘House of Snakes’ is a roll of the dice, but one that pays off. Purists may wince at the song’s seven-minute run time, but Pig Destroyer crawl from a punishing sludge stomp to a brutal death metal finale in what may be the band’s apex. It’s hard not to see any extreme metal fan at least begrudgingly acknowledge the talent on display.

‘Head Cage’ is yet another giant leap forward for one of the leading lights in boundary pushing extreme metal. Like the medieval torture device the album takes its name from, it’s skull-crushingly heavy. Try it – if you’re brave enough.

SEAN LEWIS

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