• Pig Destroyer – Mass And Volume

    Pig Destroyer – Mass And Volume
    Released by: Relapse Records
    Released on: October 14th, 2012.
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    A little bit of background information about this latest release from Pig Destroyer, out next week via Relapse Records. The two tracks on this release (yes, there are only two tracks) were recorded towards the end of the recording session for the band’s Phantom Limb album way back in 2007. It was originally released via Bandcamp back in early 2013 as a benefit for the family of Pat Egan, a long time Relapse Records employee who passed away. Relapse is now reissuing it on CD (limited to 2000 copies) and on vinyl in various versions. You can find out all about that by checking out their site here.

    It’s an interesting recording not just for that reason, but because it definitely represents a different sound for the band. Given that Pig Destroyer are very well known for playing FAST, the two songs here – Mass And Volume and Red Tar – show a different side to the band’s musical abilities.

    The first track starts off with a droning, humming almost trance inducing tone. This is slowwwwww…… very slow. There are elements of doom here but it’s trippier than that, and it doesn’t get ‘heavy’ until about four minutes in. Feedback reigns supreme here, the guitar work from Scott Hull is way up front in the mix with Brian Harvey’s drums only occasionally rising up. Six and a half minutes in and it’s still more of the same, just heavy riffs with feedback blistering over top and occasional drumming to act more as punctuation than instrumentation. Crashing cymbals accents some parts in interesting ways but when the vocals kick in at seven and a half minutes, it’s just fucking insane. J.R. Hayes's vocals are almost completely indecipherable (a lyrics sheet was included with the MP3’s sent for review) but never lack for intensity. There’s a howling quality to them so that when the band goes full on heavy at the eleven minute mark, they rise above the crushing power of the instruments. Seriously, by the time this was over you almost get the feeling that you’ve summoned a dark lord from the abyss. Weird choral vocals just past the twelve minute mark add to this, as does the indecipherable vocal chattering in the background. Feedback rises to almost painful levels as things come full circle, we leave the constant pounding behind for a beautiful mess of feedback, drone and tone. It’s almost as if the song just beats the shit out of you and then leaves you for dead on some sort of alien landscape. It’s very powerful stuff and at just over nineteen minutes in length, there’s a lot of it here.

    The second track, Red Tar, is actually a little bit longer, if only by a few seconds. It too starts off with some doomy/droney instrumentation, the bass, courtesy of Blake Harrison, is way up in the mix to the point where it might just rattle your speakers in interesting ways. Feedback rises in the mix as this alien soundscape is laid bare before us. The levels spin and dive in the mix, swirling around our ears and becoming almost hypnotic until the guitars blend with the feedback, the drums kick in over top of the bass and things go from surreal to thickly layered heaviness in their intensity. The vocals on this track as just as indecipherable as the first, but they add that extra layer of evil to the track that it needs to really work as well as it does. By the twelve minute mark we’re punished again, slow and grinding guitars and slow, rhythmically pounding percussion combine with such intensity that the weirdly artificial choral bits and samples over top as the track starts to come to a close almost seem like an afterthought. As the track slows down, it almost seems like it’s trying to put us to sleep, waves of sound washing over us from the front channels with such power behind them that it’s pretty much useless to resist.

    There are shades of Sleep and the almighty Black Sabbath here but Pig Destroyer are not content to simply borrow from the masters. They put their own spin on this and these two tracks really show a welcome diversity to their more typical grindcore material. For a band fairly well known for songs that are more short, barely controlled bursts of sonic violence set to some of the fastest playing you’ll ever here, this is an amazing diversion of sorts. Don’t sell these guys short, they’re a lot more diverse and interesting than you might at first expect them to be, the two songs on this album being absolute proof of that.

    Give part of Red Tar a listen by way of the video below!