“Semen tastes like gunmetal, she said smiling”
“There was a rainbow like a halo over the world”
If metal were to be distilled into a single sentence, from its inception through every subsequent moment, it would be “the search for greater sonic extremity” and Pig Destroyer sets out on an iron horse with a fiery anus, east towards a burning sunrise looking for extremity more readily, frequently and consistently than almost any other band working today. Avoiding the black comedy and meaningless shock potholes that derail most of their contemporaries and striking at the heart of something deeply unnerving at the core of what ails us. In a frightening parallel universe in which the JFK politics of hope are twisted into napalm fire in the jungles of Vietnam and the grinding of tank tracks in Berlin, in the charred post-nuclear wastelands of the late nineties, a twisted militarised version of the Melvins appears, and call themselves Pig Destroyer. Taking the same Melvins invention, pitch black humour and obsession with riffs but turning it to nightmarish ends. The only band with a comparably gruelling aesthetic is the legendary sludge group Acid Bath, but Pig Destroyer take the cause to greater, unscaled heights.
The debut album feels like being in a lift with the cable cut. The first 28 second song contains more riffs and more ideas than the careers of lesser artists, and each is brought up unforgettably and then discarded with its dress pulled up around its head, tights laddered, mascara streaked down cheeks and blood bubbling from ears. There is an entire discography to be made by some ungodly doom band exploring Pig Destroyer riffs at quarter volume and dragging them out for fifteen minutes apiece in the light on an autopsy table. It’s this unparalleled riff density that gives Pig Destroyer their constant and relentless driving energy, with indecipherable vocals, the only differentiating factor is the riffs, and there are three or four in a minute. With repeated iterations, the orgasmic sickening jolt of Pig Destroyer records has rather stagnated and crusted, but their two essential records, 38 Counts of Battery and Prowler in the Yard are still unsurpassed in the grindcore oeuvre.
J.R. Hayes’ lyrics deserve special mention if only for their nonsensical, disturbing and poetic qualities. Only a step above the Melvins’ “doe ray me fa” nonlyrics, Pig Destroyer’s lyrics almost accompany the music in the booklet like small slices of deranged poetry. Frequently beautiful, frequently meaningless, frequently disturbing. The verses and lines compliment the songs in structure, far away from traditional lyrics, the almost feel like they have no consciousness at all, as if they were never meant to be read or understood by an audience. Refreshingly possessing none of the self-aware anti-establishment bluster or self-parody ‘serious’ metal lyric tropes but instead crafting snakelike tongue twists and vignettes from unspeakable horror.
In every way Pig Destroyer are essential. In the age of increasingly packaged rock and roll music pigeonholed and monetised, a band thoroughly kicking against any notion other than their own desire to make music is encouraging and thrilling. And more than personal pleasure, they offer a real alternative to the establishment candidates. Age has made them toothless, but they put together some records that will never lose their sting. Rock has been tot for years, Pig Destroyer just disposed of the body.
Written under duress by Steven.