Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Album Review: Pig Destroyer - Head Cage

Pig Destroyer
Head Cage
**** out of *****

Opening with soothing pianos the grindcore veterans Pig Destroyer expressly warn listeners from the get go that they are not responsible for any hearing damage that they may suffer at the hands of the bands sixth studio release Head Cage.  The noise, banging, rage, clanging, screeching and yelling begin shortly there after and don't stop until one of the best heavy albums of 2018 wraps up.

Metal has more sub-genres then you can shake a leather studded fist at and Pig Destroyer dips into all of them on this release; the band confidently expands it's sound on a hardcore groove based "Army of Cops" which feels almost mainstream. The track is a highlight on an album full of them with head banging, pit ready riffs and vocals which are recognizable, all layered around bassist John Jarvis and drummer Adam Jarvis flow.

The Jarvis squared rhythm section are an excellent new addition to the band with Adam joining half way through recording their last album and John joining the band here on record, the first time Pig Destoryer has ever recorded with a bassist. "Circle River" also continues this groove based thrash metal direction with pounding drums, screeches, well produced gang vocals and a swirling breakdown.

While long time fans may gravitate to the more clanging noise, blast beat explosions like "Dark Train" and "Terminal Itch" yet it is these more spread out efforts that lend texture and depth to Head Cage. "The Torture Fields" blends both of these worlds with screeching and off kilter expert drumming, that could just as easily move a live pit or be a theme song for a horror flick.

Pig Destroyer are alive with power and ferocity throughout, constantly twisting their sound to keep it fresh for both their fans and themselves. Including guest vocalist Kat Katz (Agoraphobic Nosebleed) who spices up "Concrete Beast" which thunders forward with crushing force while the blistering minute and a half "Mt. Skull" finds front man JR Hayes lamenting lost homes and lives. 

"The Last Song" mixes in digital samples from Blake Harrison along with a sludgy low end while Full of Hell's Dylan Walker adds more vocal dynamics as the beat trudges through swampy intros before exploding out of the depths splashing and descending from all sides. Guitarist Scott Hull is at the forefront of this record having recorded it and written multiple memorable runs.

The album closes with the over seven minute nightmare of "House of Snakes" adding another dimension to the group who are riding a late career high throughout Head Cage. Every sub-genre of metal the band tries out works winningly and while Pig Destroyer's newest clearly won't be for everyone, fans of adventurous heavy music need to give Head Cage a spin; it is some fierce shit. 
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