Released: 2012, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Let’s get this out of the way right now. F@#! whatever the internet trolls may have to say about BOOK BURNER. Whenever praise is heaped upon a release as highly anticipated as Pig Destroyer’s latest, there’s always a contingency that’s ready to shit all over it for no other reason than a lot of people seem to dig it. Some of the adjectives used by this congress to describe BOOK BURNER: “marketable”, “sterile”, “monotonous”. Are we listening to the same f@#king record folks? BOOK BURNER is full length number 5 from grindcore aficionados Pig Destroyer, and while admittedly it’s a less frantic release than PROWLER IN THE YARD or TERRIFYER, does that make it any less potent? Would I ever in my most inebriated state dare to label this release as “marketable”? Christ, no. It’s f@#king grindcore folks, wipe the Cheetos dust off your fingers and get over yourselves.
With 19 tracks clocking in at just around 31 minutes, the core of the Pig Destroyer formula is ever present on BOOK BURNER. Brief, caustic blasts of frenetic riffs and rhythmic timing woven across vocals drenched in paint thinner and razor wire make for at the very least, a satisfying base level grindcore record. But to dismiss it as such would be doing this record an injustice. The best grindcore albums are not only about speed and ferocity, they’re about making you feel uncomfortable. They’re about incorporating beats and directions that your peers wouldn't likely travel. They’re about taking a chance by slowing down a riff or a rhythm to lock into a groove for a fleeting moment before catapulting back into the maelstrom of musical chaos. They’re about concentrating a level of fury and antagonism into 30 second bursts that more traditional acts couldn't muster in 10 x that duration. Ask Napalm Death. Ask Brutal Truth. Ask Rotten Sound. Ask Pig Destroyer.
BOOK BURNER is certainly a more streamlined Pig Destroyer than you might be accustomed to, it’s no less volatile. The production is cleaner, the performances are tighter and more concise, and there’s very little breathing room across the record, but I found those qualities to enhance the end product in a way that kept me coming back for more. I really found myself loving the more drawn out tunes like “The Diplomat” (check out the video for that one), “Valley of the Geysers” and “Permanent Funeral”, but blitzes like the opening “Sis”, “Eve”, “Totaled” and the title track round out the album for a holistically caustic listening experience.
The core 19 track-version of BOOK BURNER is worthy enough of a purchase on its own,but if you’re willing to part with a few extra shekels I’d highly recommend the deluxe edition. This version of the album comes with a second CD of punk covers, treating classics from the Misfits, Circle Jerks, and Black Flag among others, as well as “The Atheist”, a short story penned by vocalist J.R. Hayes. There’s also a limited run of BOOK BURNER available on deluxe vinyl and cassette if you’re interested, how boss is that?
BOOK BURNER made my year end top ten list, but it’ll most certainly be on my personal playlists well into 2013. If you’re a self-respecting grindcore fan, chances are I’m speaking to the choir and BOOK BURNER already sits proudly in your music library. If you’re on the fence or think that this may be the album that Pig Destroyer sells out, to you I say “judge only with your ears.” BOOK BURNER is available now through Relapse Records.