(This is Todd Manning’s review of the new album by All Pigs Must Die, which was recently released by Southern Lord.)
Anyone who claims that Hardcore is incapable of reaching the levels of extremity produced by Metal obviously hasn’t heard All Pigs Must Die and in particular their latest full-length Hostage Animal. Make no mistake, the lines between Metal and Hardcore are becoming ever more blurry, but the roots of this album are unmistakable. Hostage Animal is born of pure Punk fury.
With a line-up boasting luminaries from such other outfits as Converge, Trap Them, and The Hope Conspiracy, All Pigs Must Die deftly combine an overwhelming sense of visceral violence with songwriting chops that successfully walk the tightrope between chaos and focused execution.
The album begins with the opening salvo of “Hostage Animal”, “A Caustic Vision”, and “Meditation on Violence”. These three songs blaze by in six-minutes and showcase the band’s ability to construct paint-peeling blasts that leave nothing but scorched earth in their wake. The fourth track, “Slave Morality” gives a brief respite with its opening of dark ambience, which then gives way to a punishing Sludge/Doom workout that shows the group to be equally effective at slower tempos. Rather than a completely peaceful break, it only provides another kind of punishment.
The album continues with this tug-of-war between the fast and the slow, the loud but sometimes quiet approach to songwriting, always finding one pole to react against another. There is a sense of unpredictability that keeps the listener hooked from one moment to the next.
The one-two punch of “Blood Wet Teeth” (a contender for my song of the year) and “Moral Purge”, each a masterful display of muscular Thrash and Grind, are book-ended by the slower moments contained in “End Without End” and “Cruelty Incarnate”. The latter track, though, does find its way back into speedier realms, but also shows a prominent feature of the last third of “Hostage Animal”, which is a Black Metal influence. While it never completely dominates the proceedings, the more blackened material allows a sense of melody to creep in, giving the listeners one more reason to stay on their toes.
Hostage Animal possesses a sense of immediacy that demands to be noticed. The first impression is one of pure ferocity. It’s only on repeated listening that one discovers that it is the way in which the songs are crafted that keeps pulling you back over and over again. This release just sounds so desperate and violent, and will grab the attention of even the most desensitized connoisseur of sonic extremity.
Love this band. They apply a feeling of urgency to the music that surrounds their nice nihilistic lyrics.