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Grindcore kings Pig Destroyer smash the cage of convention

Friday 24th, May 2019 / 11:34
By Ana Krunic

Photo by Jay Dixon

“Accessible” isn’t a word commonly used to describe Pig Destroyer. To be fair, the grindcore godfathers probably wouldn’t care for it either; they’ve released some of the most extreme noise-laden music of their time, they don’t tour in the traditional sense and their albums don’t seem to follow any kind of formula. But none of this has stopped them from achieving across-the-board recognition in metal circles and a healthy cult following.

Their latest album, Head Cage, is a departure from what some fans may have come to expect, not that anyone really knows what to expect from Pig Destroyer. From the discordant hostility of the pivotal Prowler in the Yard, whose songs mostly fail to exceed one minute in length, to the 37-minute one-track journey that is Natasha, they regularly ignore convention – even their own.

“Grindcore is an easy term to put on us,” says Blake Harrison, Pig Destroyer’s electronics and “general noise guy.” “To us, we’re just a metal band. We do what we do and that’s it. We’re not going to write Prowler in the Yard Part Two, and even if we did, half the people would hate that too. You can’t please everybody, so you’ve gotta please yourself.”

Head Cage took about three years to complete, and what came out on the other end definitely wasn’t a straight-up grindcore record.

“That’s just our pace,” says Harrison. “I hate to use this word, but I kind of consider us not a ‘real’ band. We’re not in the cycle that a lot of bands are in where it’s put out a record, tour for two years, put out another record, tour for two years. There’s nothing wrong with people who do that, it just doesn’t really work for us. What was different musically is that Scott [Hull, guitarist] really wanted to focus on having more nuanced material. He wanted every song to be very hooky and catchy, and more subtle changes in the riffs. Not just cramming a hundred riffs and calling it a day.”

Head Cage showcases their versatility. They flirt with doom on “House of Snakes,” while “The Adventures of Jason and JR” is thrashy as hell. Of course there are still grindcore moments and all of it is, without question, in the spirit of Pig Destroyer.

Champions of the weird, Pig Destroyer have seen themselves in the mainstream spotlight a few times, but not in a regular context. Their song “The Diplomat” was used in a three-minute rodent massacre sequence on the show Workaholics, and most recently one of their songs was used in a torture scene on MacGyver.
“Relapse [Records] hit us up and said, ‘Hey, the show MacGyver wants to use part of your song to torture somebody.’ I didn’t even know there was another show called MacGyver,” he laughs. “I had no idea. There was not a lot of thought put into that. My thought was, ‘What hip intern suggested us?’”

Pig Destroyer perform Friday, May 31 at the Rickshaw Theatre.

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