Pig Destroyer – Phantom Limb

Pig Destroyer is yet another band that I like more in theory than in practice, at least as of late.  ‘Prowler In The Yard’, granted, was a pretty great album; but as it stands, it’s Pig Destroyer’s ONLY great album and the rest of their work ranges from fairly decent to decidedly mediocre.  After 2004’s ‘Terrifyer’, an above average album crippled by utterly retarded production, the Pig (that’s what cool people call them) churned out ‘Phantom Limb’, with the notable addition of Blake Harrison from Hatebeak (yeah) on noise and samples.  This is primarily notable because there are samples on like three tracks plus an ambient outro.  Not sure what all the fanfare was about, but okay.

To be honest, I can’t find anything particularly wrong with ‘Phantom Limb’, but it totally fails to excite me also, which is amazing since the band seems to be trying to desperately hard to impress the listener.  The main issue is that this doesn’t seem to have nearly the subtlety of earlier Pig Destroyer work.  The grinding yet melodic riffwork and tension-laced song structures are mostly gone in favor of a very straightforward approach to modern grindcore, and I think the band is worse off for it.  It feels dumbed down, like the band somehow got the impression that they didn’t sound ‘tough enough’ so they turned all the riffs into noisy tremolofests instead of the rhythmically and melodically unique ones from before and just filled any empty space with blast beats.  The production is better than that on ‘Terrifyer’ (thank god), but it’s gone bad in a different direction.  There is no ‘guitar tone’, just noise except for the most coherent and expressive riffs, and it sounds like Hayes’ voice was recorded through a cheap microphone.

It’s not like this album is unlistenable; far from it.  But the problem might be that it’s TOO listenable in too easy a way; I can mostly ignore this while it’s on which isn’t a good thing for grindcore.  It doesn’t make me want to move along with the music, even with the bizarre, shoehorned ‘breakdowns’ they decided to put on this album for no reason at all.  Really, they just pop up in utterly random locations, and weird groove riffs don’t really fit with the abstract, introspective lyrics of Hayes (which are good as ever).  Overall I just keep listening to this album and wondering what the POINT is, because everything seems to be less than the sum of its parts.  How can music with so much going on sound so simple and trite?

In the end, it seems that most Pig Destroyer fans like this, so this isn’t really for them.  It’s for people like me who don’t follow the band closely but do moderately enjoy their older work.  Unless you’re part of the band’s legion of obsessors, I don’t think you’ll really find a lot of enjoyment in this; it’s too still and primitive for its own good.  The lyrics are freely available online, so I don’t see a point in buying this.


~ by noktorn on May 21, 2008.

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