Album Review: Pig Destroyer - Head Cage
Artist: Pig Destroyer
Album: Head Cage
Review by Steve Jenkins
One of the most intense and manic bands in the heavy music scene since their inception back in 1997, Pig Destroyer have always been known to take things to the extreme, and Head Cage solidifies that fact.
Their music is short, fast and very loud. Pig Destroyer haven't released a new album since 2012's Book Burner, which received some mixed reviews. So, six years later, we have Head Cage, which is the bands sixth album, and first for bass player John Jarvis who joined the band in 2013. But, did you know that Pig Destroyer never had a bass player until now? Interesting huh. Well, it works, and there's definitely an audible difference in their sound after hearing this.
To put simply, Pig Destroyer aren't the same band they were 15 years ago, and you can't go into this album expecting to hear Prowler In The Yard or Phantom Limb. I'm not even sure if you'd call them grindcore anymore, this is pretty metallic, with elements of grind for sure, but there's more groove now, and a lot of experimentation. Don't worry, there's still plenty of chaotic noise and super fast paced riffs that will get you going, but Pig Destroyer seem to be a more refined band nowadays. Take a track like "Army of Cops", it's full of groove, catchiness and slow breakdowns, and one could even get away with calling this a metalcore song with a slightly more brutal spin on things. This is probably a good song to listen to so that you can get a gauge for the album and see whether you think you're going to be all about this sound or not.
I really like this album, it's actually quickly becoming one of my favourite metal releases of 2018. It's more accessible than their previous work, but to be fair, grind isn't really meant to be easy-listening, this is definitely a lot easier to listen to. I'm a big fan of their new groove orientated approach, and I think the addition of John Jarvis has obviously played a big part in that. There's thrashy elements to this, death metal, hardcore, and of course grind, and it all works perfectly together. If you didn't already like Pig Destroyer, I'm not sure if this album is going to change your mind, but it certainly might get them some new fans. It's still harsh and even unsettling at times, but the intensity and relentless music that they produce on Head Cage is just too good for someone like myself that loves extreme music.
The highlights for me are the longer songs, usually an average Pig Destroyer track will hover around that one minute mark, but there's some 2-3 minute tracks here and they sound great. I like that they took their time with this album, and I think 6 years is a good payoff and worth the wait when you release something this good. Head Cage is a strong album and it shows growth, diversity and utter rage that they're so well known for. Definitely check this out!
8.5 out of 10.
Head Cage is out now via Relapse Records.