Pig Destroyer – “Head Cage” (Relapse Records)
6 years in the making, and Pig Destroyer’s 6th album is also their heaviest to date, not in the least cos it now features a bass player! Well known across the US for their grindcore and no less aggressive politics since their formation in the late 90s, these days Pig Destroyer may be more extreme metal in view of the incorporation of other styles along with a more structured approach, but they are no less savage on the 33 minutes making up the 12 intense tracks on this little piggie. Still with founders JR Hayes and guitarist Scott Hull (Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Anal Cunt), Pig Destroyer are equally content to blast beat merrily while lacquering on massive amounts of groove made all the more heavy now through John Jarvis’s (Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Scour) bass rumblings, along with guest vocal appearances by Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Richard Johnson and Kat Katz plus Full Of Hell’s Dylan Walker. Propelled by the nuclear drum work of brother Adam Jarvis, “Head Cage” befits its title derived from a nasty medieval torture device – which is how you’ll feel after this is all over heh heh! From the huge, stomping grooves on ‘Army Of Cops’ with its whirring guitars and hammering rhythmic drums before chundering monstrously mid passage, the pace slows to ultra heaviness on ‘The Torture Fields’ amid Adam Jarvis unloading some percussive brilliance before the detonation button gets pushed – and then they’re off to a fast groove riff sliding intensely on this very hardcore sounding track. With Katz unleashing screamo hell on the slower ‘Concrete Hell’ alongside Hayes like the gruesome duo from from the fiery pit along with feedback and heavy riff grooves starkly contrasted by hyper speed double bass drumming, this is definitely one of the more off the wall tracks. John Jarvis’s hefty bass lines come ominously into play on ‘The Last Song’ (which it actually isn’t lol) to introduce this roaring number with everything pushed into maximum overdrive, maybe not speed wise, but to the utmost playable intensity as a rager to please the moshers, which it most certainly does. With most of the songs being between 1 and 3 minutes long, ‘House Of Snakes’ is the odd man out at 7 minutes, and equally for its different style of being a dark, brooding number that builds menacingly through its heavy dervish riffs and evil twisting melodies. While not being grindcore, it still works as predatory beast in its own right to cap off this visceral album making Pig Destroyer still a name to be feared.