Released: 2004, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
How does something so raw, ugly and cacophonous strike such a response as Virginia’s Pig Destroyer? Devoid of bass guitar, the music is heavy on the treble register and the intense grind/punk vocals of J.R. Hayes are almost totally indecipherable. The songs are typically a minute and a half long and virtually indistinguishable from one another. No one could possibly be into this band, right? WRONG! TERRIFYER is one of the most intense listening experiences I had this year. Pig Destroyer’s blend of thrash, punk, grind and straight up metal enraptures the listener and takes you to a very scary place. Visceral bedlam is the perfect description of TERRIFYER and the non-stop aggression for 32 minutes can be a bit daunting to some but upon closer listen, this album is much more than just a half hour mental beatdown. There are plenty of grooves, insane riffing and incredible drumming present to silence even the most jaded of metal fans.
If the heart-stopping scream at the intro doesn’t make you jump out of your skin, J.R. Harvey’s blood-curdling roar certainly will. At times off-putting, while always maintaining an unparalleled level of aggression, Harvey’s delivery is bested only by his lyrics. This is dark, frightening stuff and one has to question just what sort of maniac comes up with them. Brian Harvey’s drumming on “Scarlet Hourglass” and “Song of Filth” are among the most intense bouts of skin bashing I have ever heard. While fast can be impressive for only so long, the groove laid down by Harvey and guitarist Scott Hull on “Gravedancer” and “Carrion Fairy” show that he also has technique behind the obvious extremity. “Towering Flesh” is as heavy as anything the band has ever done and TERRIFYER’s clearer production over past releases is justified with this track. The slower middle-section of the song sees the band take their foot off the accelerator for just a moment before launching into yet another hate-filled marathon. Behind the schizophrenic mess, there is a lot happening and to break this up into a listenable experience cannot have been an easy task for Hull.
Pig Destroyer is a band whose success is driven by word of mouth, not pretty boy good looks or radio play (if the dead naked girl on the cover didn’t tip you off). Hell, these guys barely even tour yet managed to get the underground metal community buzzing about this album like it was the second coming of Christ. Quite an accomplishment—and every bit justified—for TERRIFYER is sicker, heavier, faster, uglier and more brutal than anything I heard this year. Brilliant. Period.
KILLER KUTS: “Scarlet Hourglass,” “Gravedancer,” “Towering Flesh,” “Carrion Fairy”