Genre: Grindcore / Groove Metal / Death Metal
Label: Relapse Records
Release Date: 7th September 2018
This is a band that doesn’t need much of an introduction. With two bona-fide classic albums and an insanely consistent discography, these merchants of extremity have subversively influenced the course of underground Metal in the 21st century.
“We will not be held responsible for any hearing impairment caused to you by excessive exposure to this sound.”
That ominous sample that begins the latest offering by Grindcore legends Pig Destroyer does a particularly good job of hinting at what you’re in for. Head Cage is primed to explode at any second. You don’t need to look much further than ‘Army Of Cops’, with it’s catchy scream-along chorus and one of the most earth shatteringly destructive mosh riffs released all year, revelling in disgusting groovy glory. The “Suck on this!” sample before ‘Circle River’ drops in seems fit to ignite every circle pit that’s ever existed with it’s rattling Hardcore beat and punishing delivery. If this hasn’t already obliterated your senses, wait until ‘The Torture Fields’ detonates with JR Hayes’ twisted lyrics and psychotic howls. For a band that have existed for 20 years, the energy level remains at the highest level possible throughout, never once dipping, lending an organic ‘live’ feel to the record. Slower cuts like ‘Concrete Beast’ seem to leak more putrid waste with every moment, utilising the inimitable shriek of Kath Katz of Agoraphobic Nosebleed to devastating effect. Seven minute closer ‘House Of Snakes’ seems to take influence from both Mathcore and Sludge Metal simultaneously before an insane panic-chord inflected groove rushes you in all its malevolent glory. It would be an insult to label Pig Destroyer as pure Grind. They have melded so many genres into their white hot ball of fury since day one, but never before has this diversity been so fully embraced than on Head Cage. Littered with textural electronics and a more rumbling, bassy mix, the band build further upon their work up to this point making this new release their most ambitious and varied to date.
It is difficult to find anything needing improvement across the entirety of this release. At 30 mins Head Cage doesn’t out-stay it’s welcome and provides plenty of twists and turns to ensure every moment is as blood-pumping as the last. It would be unwise to compare it to Prowler In The Yard or Terrifyer as this is easily the most mature and eclectic Pig Destroyer have sounded to date. However, if you’re after the wild, jagged riff-fest of those early albums then this may leave you wanting more, but if you’re open to all the exciting detours this record takes then you’re in for one hell of a ride. It should also be said that Head Cage works perfectly as a standalone release and as an ideal gateway for the uninitiated to learn more about this exceptional band. Once again the Virginia lords of audio-terrorism spit in the the face of anyone who doubted their relevance, and proves that their career spanning hot streak isn’t going to be over any time soon.
Recommended Track: ‘Army Of Cops’