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June 8, 2007

{     Pig Destroyer "Phantom Limb"     }    

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Pig Destroyer are the Luther Vandross of grindcore. Soulful ladies men of the most gentlemanly ilk, their grooves float through the air like April ambrosia. Their melodies bewilder and charm. Their rhythms: a tender pah-rum-pah-pum-pum on the heart.

They sing the body electric with lyrics whose eloquence tickle the spirit like so many of Whitman's "Leaves of Grass". As on the album's opener "Rotten Yellow" when singer J.R. Hayes croons:

"Now her skin is yellow,
like the wildflowers in July.
She asks me how she looks
and I tell her that she's as lovely as the vultures,
as pretty as the larvae of the fly."

or on "Deathripper" when he intones:

"I hold your hand in mine.
The rest of you is scattered all over,
Your rib cage is open like a great white shark's jaws.
Your legs look so sexy out of context."

Ahhh, what sweet, sweet twists of language! One can feel with inexorable immediacy the tenderness he feels for his beloved.

Such beauty finds rest in our ears with such infrequency one is cast into the transcendental realm when finally it is leavened into the dough of one's existence. And in the sample at the end of "Lesser Animal" when we hear the consoling words of a country preacher recant a tale of a man who saw,

"the screaming and the flesh burning, and he was running himself and he saw this young man who had mocked him so much. And he saw him on fire. And he pulled him away from the blaze. And he was nothing honestly but charcoal. His hands frozen up, he had nothing left but his eye balls, his ears were gone, his nose was gone, everything was gone..."

Oh ho! Ouchey Poo! You guys!!!!!

Out on a date with that new special someone? Leave the Colt 45 to the amateurs boys, "Phantom Limb" by Pig Destroyer will work every time....

Oh Goddamnit!!!!!! I can't keep my tongue in my cheek anymore. Pig Destroyer ripped it the fuck off. As a matter of fact, they ripped my entire head off, fucked it into a pile of pink shit and pickled it in bull piss.

This album is completely calamitous, from the feedback and sample of the priest giving communion (With the little girl whispering "Mommy they're Coming") at the beginning to the last locust leg twitch at the end of "Track Numero Quince." Pig Destroyer crush, grind, groove, and snarl with a caustic ferociousness that would turn a Tyrannosaurus Freddie Krueger into a thumbsucking bedwetter.

A few things that Pig Destroyer do, that have set them apart from the rest of the grindcore pack are taken forward on this album. First they are masters of the sample. On "Phantom Limb" we find the aforementioned sermon about the burnt man who had mocked the subject "so much" being found without ears or nose. Or the beginning of "Waist Deep in Ash" where we hear a shock treatment being administed. And on "Track Numero Quince" a sample of a mental ward nurse calmly but insistently chiming "Medication Time! Medication Time!" before we are given several minutes of the sounds of locusts in August trees while a country song about love betrayed plays out of a tin can speaker.

It's as though the preceding umpteen minutes of claustrophobic grinding finds it's resting place here at the end. We finally get all the space to breathe we want but it fucking stinks. This track makes me feel like I've been murdered and left to rot but I'm conscious in a field just behind the gas station in Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I can't move or scream or do anything. It's absolutely heinous in it's numb quietude. And at 7 minutes and 26 seconds it may just be the longest grind track ever.

Sure mental health, religious persecution and horror film tropes are and always have been standby subjects in metal but Pig Destroyer tweak the relevance of these targets with lyrics that match brutality with sentiment. This is no bluntforce Cannibal Corpse "Fucked with a Knife" nonsense nor is it some Converge style integritycore moral platitude bullshit. They take depravity into a sickly sweet place that is altogether darker, more mad and filmic without being B camp.

J.R. Hayes gives us a vision of the filthy love the killer feels for his prey. The victims, usually women, are torn apart but pined for, savaged but eulogized sometimes even metaphysically reanimated and sexualized in that sorrow. (Refer to the lyrics I quoted in the Luther Vandross portion of this review) And just when you think he's a misogynist, the killers become women as in "Machete Twins" or suicidally so in "Girl in the Slayer Jacket".

Let's not forget the music though. Pig Destroyer fucking crush. Their real gift is for turning the "perpetually in danger of becoming dada noise" genre of grindcore (think Discordance Axis, Agoraphobic Nosebleed or Anal Cunt) into something you can really bang your head to. And all without ripping off Tommy Iommi.

Their riffs, too numerous to count become an inventory of finger exercises and counting that spill over one another, race to pratfalls of brutal cachophony but ultimately repeat, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat at first as a singular drilling exploration but quickly turn into falling towers of monstrous metallic majesty. Never mathy or overly analytical with time signature changes like labelmates Cephalic Carnage, the venerable Aborted or anything resembling Dillinger or Botch, Pig Destroyer got that groove thang baby.

They'll turn your sex organs into cancerous pogoballs and cause you to bounce around on 'em while they demonstrate what it sounds like to have the rage virus. Case in point here are "Machete Twins","Loathsome", and my favorite track on the album "Thought Crime Spree". On this track in particular, space is created without sacrificing speed by alternating drumming and guitar as percussive devices, while lyrical delivery changes from clean to cookie (thankfully without melody) but still in the service of a blistering riff that will hook you hard. If the last 20 seconds of this track don't make you bang your fucking head you will never ever, ever, ever, ever, get it and you are not allowed in my room to play again. EVER!!! Do you FUCKING understand me!!!?

Ahem...excuse me.

The album sleeve art here is absolutely beautiful too. Done by Baroness's John Baizley, it combines Pushead's gnarley crusty punk line and stipling style with the Art Deco femininity of Mucha.

If you never ever buy a grindcore album I wouldn't blame you. It's traumatic shit, and complete noise to those attuned to pop. But if you're investigating the empty hallways of the high school where grind just went on a shooting spree you couldn't have a better make out partner show you your carcass being eaten by your friends than Pig Destroyer.


     » Pig Destroyer on MySpace
     » Buy Phantom Limb from Relapse

Comments

Speechless. Absolutely without words. That last paragraph.... Yes. So Yes.

Posted by: garrett at June 8, 2007 7:03 AM

+blush+snicker+

Posted by: Aaron at June 8, 2007 7:45 AM

Been a while since I had my head ripped off, sounds like a good ol' batch of grind core goodness! WRORRRRR!

Posted by: manuel at June 10, 2007 5:57 PM

...and the art reminds me of PUSHEAD... Thats a good thing!

Posted by: manuel at June 10, 2007 5:58 PM

Yeah, There's very little about this whole package that doesn't take grindcore into the future with wrecking ball force. If this is your introduction to Pig Destroyer please do yourself a favor and get their previous record "Terrifyer" as well. It is just as amazing.

Posted by: Aaron at June 10, 2007 11:25 PM

Clive Barker wrote a character into one of his novels (The Great and Secret Show?) who was missing an arm, but was still able to jack himself off with his phantom limb.
That (along with your glowing review) is why I can't wait to hear this album.

Posted by: Adam at June 12, 2007 9:57 PM

Let a listen to Pig Destroyer be your Great and Secret Phantom Limb Adam.

Posted by: Aaron at June 13, 2007 3:48 AM

lol! That is funny!
I took your advice Aaron and ordered "Terrifer" today. I checked it out online. The cover art of the battered chick with her chest hanging out was too good to pass up. Let's see what happens!

Posted by: Manuel at June 16, 2007 11:04 PM

Enjoy man.

Posted by: Aaron at June 19, 2007 5:52 AM

been listening to this again... so damn good!

Posted by: Garrett at September 30, 2007 9:45 PM

great review. very well-worded, especially the line about converge and the final paragraph. :)

Posted by: aaron at August 1, 2008 7:38 PM

Thanks!

Posted by: Aaron at August 1, 2008 9:16 PM
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