Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
I am no stranger to Pig Destroyer and have, in fact, been listening to them since high school which, you know, was back in 2003 when I graduated. Yeah, I know I’m old, but I haven’t totally mellowed out just yet so, in celebration of these boys finally releasing another album, (we haven’t had one since 2007) I figured I’d take a moment or two here to offer my thoughts accordingly. For those uninitiated with Pig Destroyer they, as their name would probably imply, play rather abrasive music that is quite devoid of melodies and, as for genre-tagging, are essentially a grind band through-and-through. What sets them apart, then, from all similar bands? The music is clearly grindcore, yes, but the overall atmosphere and lyrical approach are both relatively unique. Pig Destroyer’s lyrical and musical expression is drenched in existential conflict and angst – there’s a certain amount of insecurity and self-consciousness in their creative essence that, in my opinion, not only sets them apart from other grind acts but puts them on a lone pedestal of emotional expression altogether (within the genre’s confines, of course). I value this highly in the band and really, it’s a big part of the reason I keep coming back after all these years.
Okay, on to the album, 2012’s Book Burner. I will fully admit my expectations for this release have been high; Terrifyer, the band’s 2004 effort, is one of my favorite extreme metal albums of all-time and Phantom Limb, the band’s last release of new studio material, (until now, anyway) was not a bad follow-up by any means. Where does Book Burner stand, then? After a few listens I have to say it’s slightly better than Phantom Limb but not as mighty as Terrifyer.
Before I discuss the music, I’d like to briefly mention the lyrical aspect of Book Burner. As the album’s title might indicate, there is clearly a literary influence here and it shines brilliantly. J. R. Hayes is known for offering (surprisingly good and compelling) short stories and write-ups included with Pig Destroyer releases, and the band’s 2012 effort is no exception. If this is something that’s important to your listening experience, then I would suggest at least giving the tremendously excellent, hand-drawn lyric video for “Burning Palm” included below a listen/watch. Musically, well, this is Pig Destroyer. Has there been any significant progression in the band’s sound? Nope. Has there been any? Well, no, not really. I find this to be slightly disappointing as, from Prowler In The Yard to Terrifyer and from Terrifyer to Phantom Limb there were some relatively significant leaps in the audible development of Pig Destroyer that, with Book Burner, seem to have been put to an end – this one basically sounds like Phantom Limb’s sequel. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great album, the songs “Valley Of The Geysers” through “Baltimore Stranger” being profoundly awesome and the closing track, “Permanent Funeral”, being just a crushing affair altogether. Pig Destroyer albums, however, are certainly meant to be experienced in full and I am happy to say there’s not one weak link amidst the nineteen tracks here – they’re all delicious and most worthy of consumption, indeed!
All-in-all I have to say I am happy with Book Burner although, as mentioned earlier, am disappointed with the lack of musical development over the band’s five-year period of silence. Fans of Pig Destroyer have not to worry though as they’re going to get exactly what they expect, and that’s angst-ridden, artsy, fantastically glorious grind that’ll go hand-in-hand with any Euro-horror movie night perfectly. Recommended to those with a taste for some musical chaos and lyrical trepidation.
Andrew Senkus’ Rating: 3.75 out of 5