At the heart of Pig Destroyer lies a visceral, hateful rage that’s hard to deny. Although I’m sure that will never change, how this rage is expressed can, and on the band’s latest album, has.
Their first release with a bassist, (who also handles some vocal duties), Head Cage features 31 minutes of heavy extreme metal that sees Pig Destroyer diversify from their grindcore origins somewhat. Rooted in grindcore, but expanded to include wider extreme metal influences, the Pig Destroyer of 2018 is an evolved beast, but still a dangerous one.
Of course, Pig Destroyer have never been ones to stand still, and each of their releases has given us something different. Although they have dabbled with these wider sonic assaults here and there on previous material, it has never been as fully realised or as widespread in their sound as it is on Head Cage. Fear not – there are still blast beats and buckets of nastiness aplenty, but there’s generally more of a focus on groove and heaviness on these new songs.
The aspects of grinding punk in their sound that are pursued and executed with extreme destructive venom are still here, however, so don’t go thinking that Pig Destroyer can no longer grind it out with the best of them. Head Cage still contains enough classic Pig Destroyer to satisfy, but also offers more than just the sound of a band repeating themselves. Head Cage takes a sidestep into more hardcore/metalcore-influenced territories, but all realised and delivered in the inimitable Pig Destroyer style; mid-paced battery may be being explored more than previously on Head Cage, but this is still spiky, unfriendly, and ugly stuff. Pig Destroyer won’t be appearing on any commercial radio stations any time soon; groove metal this is not.
With guest vocals dotted around like scabs from members of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Full of Hell, they add to the festering mass of viciousness that is the total vocal assault. Pig Destroyer’s distinctive and charismatic singer is present and correct, and he’s backed up very well by his diverse colleagues.
Head Cage is a very enjoyable and satisfying slice of fierce intensity, dirty riffs, and murderous vocals. It’s unpleasant down to its rotten core, but as any fan of extreme metal knows, this is usually no bad thing.
A well-rounded and worthy addition to the band’s discography. Check this out.