Pig Destroyer Challenges Your Intellect And Indulges Your Inner Brute

Nov 27th, 2007 // 10 Comments

Because some of our readers may, in fact, be so full of vitriol that the combination of Justin Timberlake and Paxil just isn’t doin’ it for them anymore, we bring you our bimonthly metal column, “Angry Music for Angry People,” written by MetalSucks‘ Axl Rosenberg, a.k.a. Matthew Goldenberg. In this installment, he’s caught between the intellectual and face-smashing impulses of grindcore giants Pig Destroyer:

Band: Pig Destroyer
Sub-genre(s): Grindcore, death metal
Best known for: Having the most awesome name of any band in any musical genre, ever.
For people who like: Intellectual conversation, dumb animalism, bacon
Most interesting member: Guitarist Scott Hull: Aside from being in Pig Destroyer, he has a multitude of side bands (most famously Agoraphobic Nosebleed), produces and engineers other bands’ albums at his own studio, Visceral Sound, and maintains a day job doing mysterious computer work for the government.
Fun fact: The band has no bass player. Hey, they’re just like the White Stripes!
Overview: The fact that Pig Destroyer’s name is so laugh-out-loud obvious in its machsimo, and at the same time intended as a political statement–it’s a euphemism for “cop killer”… Ice-T must be so proud!–perfectly illustrates this Virginia quartet’s central dichotomy: How can anything so violent be so high-minded?

Grindcore, the particular metallic subgenre in which Pig Destroyer specializes, is a loud, aggressive, hook-less, and often atonal form of music, and the genre’s drummers, like PD skinsman Brian Havey, specialize in “blast beats” played as fast as humanly possible. The music is ridiculously speedy in general; with some notable exceptions, songs rarely hit the two minute mark. To the untrained ear Pig Destroyer’s music may sound like little more than noise, lacking any melody whatsoever. The lyrics often indulge in violent and misogynistic fantasies, and grindcore concerts can likewise turn into appropriately violent affairs. The audience for music like this is so small that there’s nothing boardroom-tested about it; these guys do it out of genuine love, especially since there’s no chance of there ever being any real money in grindcore, ever.

And yet Pig Destroyer are as provocative and intellectual as they are indulgent when it comes to the listener’s inner big dumb brute. The music’s bizarre time signatures and rhythmic shifts attract a hearty amount of music-theory nerds, and screamer/shouter/barker/schizo-dude-on-the-street impersonator J.R. Hayes’ lofty language (on “Terrifyer,” he screeches “She moves across the rose garden suspended in a dark cloud of flies”) allows for hours of scrutinizing. The push and pull that comes from having a post-graduate degree and still wanting to hit someone in the face is what makes this band so fascinating. Pig Destroyer’s music is something of an acquired taste, to be sure, but that’s part of the point: everything about Pig Destroyer is intended to challenge you, shock you, shake you, violently wake you from your stupor.

  1. Ned Raggett

    God I love Terrifyer — you mention that the band specialize in something that’s hookless, but I’d argue that in fact they have perfect hooks, though. (Or at least perfect riffs, actually memorable ones.)

  2. Hamster-Style

    I actually had one of my teeth broken at a PD show. During the sick breakdown at the end of Trojan Whore, I got popped right in the mouth by some karate-kick douchebag.

    And yes, this band rules, and they write some badass riffs (like the one I got my teeth messed up to).

  3. SuperUnison

    Grind and its compatriots (skramz, etc.) are about moments, not hooks. If the musical landscape wasn’t so pop weaned and small minded (even metal-centric discourse like this discusses hooks as an irreducible unit) people wouldn’t be nearly as prone to dismissing this kind of thing as noise. Part of the point of this kind of art is to create a time-dialated landscape that’s more about strange orders of magnitude and novelistic density. Discussing whether or not it gets over the same bar that would be set for American Idol Winner is silly. To extend the metaphor, they’re not really even playing the same sport.

  4. SuperUnison

    @Hamster-Style: Yay for show injuries. I got windmilled in the eye at a Locust show. There was about a half hour of “Shit, am I going to see out of this eye again?”

  5. musicquizking

    Scott Hull was also in Anal Cunt and Japanese Torture Comedy Hour which also had cool names.

    -carlos (ex-Black Army Jacket)

  6. KurticusMaximus

    Anal Cunt wrote some of the best song titles of all time. It’s worth having one of their albums, just to show people the song titles. Of course, it can then be equally amusing to play said songs for them, especially if the person is someone who enjoys American Idol.

  7. jt.ramsay

    i’m pretty sure that pig destroyer are verging on becoming the new Sunn.

  8. skweetis

    The new Pig Destroyer and the latest Cattle Decapitation make me want to throw all of my other metal records away.

  9. skweetis

    The new Pig Destroyer and the latest Cattle Decapitation make me want to throw all of my other metal records away.

    I hope this isn’t a double post.

  10. Silverfuture

    Doesn’t bimonthly mean every other month?

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