Sixth album from the highly lethal Pig Destroyer. On Head Cage enact their brand of grindcore in a incredibly precise and hypnotic fashion. As a unit they are absolutely undefeated. Lyricist JR Hayes takes out his frustration on the darker aspects of our world, but I'm not sure what the band's problem with our snout-having earth-mates is.
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Feels pretty weird listening to a new Pig Destroyer on NPR First Listen but okay whatever. Grindcore is now overground, and I guess we have Pig Destroyer to thank for that. The genre has grown in size and stature since they started making it a tiny bit more artful; it’s become more political, more emotional, more everything, really, J.R. Hayes’ role as a frontman and lyricist an affecting moment in heavy metal songwriting. Six years out from his best work in front of a mic on ‘Book Burner’, they return with ‘Head Cage’, a record in which their repellent sound is afforded more time and space than ever.
This thing is intricate, and that’s weird in itself: Pig Destroyer continue to break the golden rule of grindcore by making songs over the minute mark, spilling over three on immense, multifaceted tunes like “Army of Cops”. Scott Hull’s guitar goes through the grindcore car wash on this one, its riffs splintering off in different directions as the vocals go harsh and clean and from dissonances to quasi-melodies. As far as I’m concerned, it’s grindcore gone prog; the versatility spreads through the record, Pig Destroyer bending guitar tones and set rhythms at will.
Pig Destroyer’s most focused record, it also houses some of their best, most purely fun moments: the riffs are so solid I can hear them playing in my head long after the fact, as with the elastic bounce of “Terminal Itch”; coupled with blastbeats worthy of Hull’s goregrind outfit Agoraphobic Nosebleed, it becomes a welcome return to rage. Amidst experimental songs that also feel like Hayes’ most serious work -- and that's in a long career of challenging and recontextualising the transgressive nature of metal lyrics -- ‘Head Cage’ just proves that the band are still really good at doing all the things grindcore bands do. Playing fast and mercilessly, they also rain down hooks.
10/10 Max Ellis Customer review, 8th September 2018
Down, napalm death and Ministry have a threesome and Pig Destroyer's album Head Cage is sloughed from the womb.
Muscle and groove. You can't not bang your head to this.
No padding no filler. Track after track of meaty magic.
The addition of John Jarvis on bass has revolutionised PD's sound. The bass led riffs swagger all over this masterwork.
Definitely a step away from pure grindcore, but taking it a step up and away from the competition.
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