Category Archives: Grind

Pig Destroyer: Book Burner

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Pig destroyer: Book Burner
Relapse Records (2012)

I’m no Grindcore fiend by any means, but Pig Destroyer have always been different enough to appeal to a broader base of music nerds. When I saw them live back in 2007 there were kids in the crowd wearing Smiths t-shirts. At a fucking Grindcore show. Pig Destroyer have mentioned Bjork and Matthew Barney in their liner notes, and referenced the likes of William Burroughs and Bruce Springsteen in interviews. Despite looking like thugs, Pig Destroyer come from somewhere much more cerebral.

What Book Burner lacks in the bottom heavy production found on its ‘breakthrough’ predecessor Phantom Limb, it makes up for in dirty, grimy, puss infused, unwashed Hardcore infected Grind attitude. Personally I love Phantom Limb, it was such a leap forward in production and lyrical attitude, and while Book  Burner harks back to the lo-fi storms of earlier releases (great records in themselves) it’s still slick as fuck and rips through 19 songs in 30 minutes.

New drummer Adam Jarvis syncs blast beats and rollicking double-kick rhythms with machine like precision while Scott Hull’s spastic, atonal but somehow groovy riffing cuts like a knife (how do they sound so heavy without a bass player?). Noise guy Blake Harrison supports the mayhem with rogue crunch, clatter and snippets of eerie conversation.

But it’s lead screamer JR Hayes and his death-chic lyrics that bring it all home. His voice is less distorted on Book Burner but he loses none of his intensity. Personally I love that he avoids the guttural voice farting so prevalent amongst Death Metal and Grindcore bands. His raspy, hardcore squawk is intense as fuck, especially once you’ve decoded his Brett Easton Ellis fucking Jim Thompson lyrical world. “I never saw that girl again, and it’s a shame. I just wanted to hold her, like an Anaconda.”

Grindcore might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and to be frank there’s little point preaching to the un-converted. People either ‘get it’ or they don’t. And yet, the slabs of guitar-noise produced by bands in this genre  are often referenced by the noise mongers out there – John Weise, Merzbow, Lasse Marhaug have all mentioned Grind as an influence at one point or another. Pig Destroyer are at the top of heap – fans won’t be disappointed in Book Burner, and for the curious this is  a good place to start.

Digging: Agents of Abhorrence – Earth. Water. Sun.

Agents of Abhorrence: Earth. Water. Sun.
Numerical Thief (2008)

Too often people overlook the fact that as a genre, Grind (or Grindcore) is so fucking over the top that it’s actually hilarious. It’s ridiculously extreme, almost a hyper-parody of its own genre, like a Rodriguez movie or Tarantino’s Kill Bill. The blast beats are stupidly fast and the guitars are a blunt force trauma to the ears, a crazed and atonal mess of sound. Vocals buried deep in the mix and generally just another smudge in the blur. Grind can be so OTT that it crashes through the boundary between music and the idea of noise.

Take Agents of Abhorrence, which continues my trilogy of My Disco related posts by being yet another Ben Andrews side project. Again vastly different to any of his other work, Earth.Water.Sun blasts through 13 tracks in ten minutes. It takes the stinging shriek of Andrews’ My Disco guitar licks and mulches them into a relentless explosion of….well…noise. The drums are typically spastic and the screaming vocals could almost pass as another guitar. There’s no bass player but this is still heavy as fuck because it’s so goddamn angular and horrific. Like Merzbow, Kevin Drumm or even Wolf Eyes at their crunchiest and most brutal but this has been made with actual, traditional instruments.

And when it finishes abruptly after ten minutes, an incredible weight lifts off your shoulders.

Agents of Abhorrence aren’t your run of the mill ‘I’m going to stab you in the face and cut your vagina out’ Grind band either. There’s something distinctly Arty going on here; from the album’s title (yes, they refer to it as an album) which has to be a piss take of the music itself; the lush image of a flower that adorns the cover, right through to lyrics like “This is our love in song, we are deeply rooted by a timeless movement.”

Read into it all what you will. Whatever the case Agents of Abhorrence are a blast to listen to, and I’m telling you Grind is so much more than the sum of its parts.