Published Aug 31, 2018Virginia's highly influential grindcore masters Pig Destroyer return with a new approach for their latest album, Head Cage. The record comes six years after their acclaimed Book Burner, and finds the band switching things up by trading in their short and frenetic tracks for longer and more streamlined numbers. Head Cage is less chaotic than much of Pig Destroyer's previous catalogue and instead features a ton of harsh heaviness and more diversity between tracks.
"Army of Cops" is filled with catchy mid-paced grooves, and guest vocals from Agoraphobic Nosebleed's Richard Johnson add some hardcore vibes to the mix, while "Circle River" continues in the same vein with a dense low-end. It's clear on these two tracks especially that the addition of their first-ever bass player, John Jarvis (Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Fulgora, Scour), has made a huge impact on the band in terms of having a whole new range of sound to experiment with.
However, Head Cage is still distinctly Pig Destroyer, as tracks like "Dark Train" and "Terminal Itch" contain absolutely pummelling blasts and frantic riffing, nodding nod to their grind roots. Guest vocals from Agoraphobic Nosebleed's Kat Katz on "Terminal Itch" and "Concrete Beast" also offer some variety, as J.R. Hayes' vocals on this record are less high-pitched. Yet another guest is Full of Hell's Dylan Walker, who contributes harsh noise to "The Last Song," adding even more layers to Head Cage.
Ultimately, it's the divergent atmospheres and textures, the variety of the arrangements and the thoughtful song compositions by mastermind guitarist and primary songwriter Scott Hull that make Head Cage stand out. It's different from what fans are used to hearing from Pig Destroyer, but this kind of different sure isn't bad. (Relapse)