Head Cage

Sept. 3, 2018


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The Pitch: 6 years in the making, grindcore legends Pig Destroyer fully embrace the groove on their latest album Head Cage via Relapse Records.

What I Like: Fair warning: if you're a grindcore purist, it's time to reprioritize your expectations. Pig Destroyer have always been a band to incorporate Southern-inspired riffs and groove into their sound, but never before to the degree found on Head Cage. In fact, I would go so far as to say the groove/grind ratio is 50/50 if not 60/40 this time around. Tracks like "Mt Skull," "Trap Door Man," and "Dark Train" are still sure to satisfy your appetite for raging, noisey violence; but by and large, I find myself comparing the riffs to the likes of Lamb of God. Just listen to the bending and harmonies on "House of Snakes" and tell me I'm wrong. There's even a hook on "Concrete Beast" that sounds very similar to the Deftones/Max Cavalera collab "Headup."

I realize that this is going to turn some fans away, but when it comes down to it I welcome the shift. Hell, when I look back at the band's previous discography, it was always the groovier tracks like "Gravedancer" and "Trojan Whore" that stuck with me the most. Despite the slower (relatively speaking) pace, songs like "Army of Cops" and "Circle River" will rip your head off, and I love the diversity of vocals. In addition to the usual raspy grindcore snarls, we also get some blackened wretches ("Concrete Beast") and brutal death growls ("Terminal Itch") thanks in part to Richard Johnson (Agoraphobic Nosebleed) and Dylan Walker (Full Of Hell). For these reasons, I'm giving the album an extra point for personal innovation.

Critiques: Personally, I don't have too many issues. It doesn't quite leap out at me as some incredible feat I'll be revisiting come December, but it's certainly well above average for a major label release. Again, the most important thing to note is that if you're looking for pure grind, you may find yourself disappointed.

The Verdict: For those willing to take the leap of faith, Head Cage is a satisfying album on all fronts. At just over 30 minutes it's just the right length, and these riffs are sure to get stuck in your head. Furthermore, the production feels stronger in comparison to Book Burner, and the song quality is among the most consistent of Pig Destroyer's career. Definitely worth picking up.

Flight's Fav's: Army Of Cops, The Torture Fields, Mt Skull

- Review by FlightOfIcarus

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