Pig Destroyer

Book Burner

01. Sis
02. The American’s Head
03. The Underground Man
04. Eve
05. The Diplomat
06. All Seeing Eye
07. Valley of the Geysers
08. Book Burner
09. Machiavillain
10. Baltimore Stranger
11. White Lady
12. The Bug
13. Iron Drunk
14. Burning Palm
15. Dirty Knife
16. Totaled
17. Kamikaze Heart
18. King of Clubs
19. Permanent Funeral

[10/23/12]
[Relapse Records]

It’s finally here ladies and gentlemen — Pig Destroyer’s first studio album in five years. The seminal grind band with the likes of master guitarist Scott Hull and amazing lyricist J.R. Hayes has returned to bring upon us another masterpiece of grind! However, with the long leave of absence, Pig Destroyer face many challenges that rise up when a band takes a significant time between releases. The big question on everyone’s lips is the same question that every band faces when putting out a new album; is it any good?

Book Burner has been a long time in the making, but if one thing is for certain, it’s proof that they can still write ass-kicking grind songs that make you want to get on your feet. Lead guitarist Scott Hull is proving he hasn’t lost his touch yet, putting many punishing riffs inside songs less than a minute long. It’s hard enough to write riffs for songs of standard length, let alone to write nearly twenty different parts for all the songs on the record, including solos, bridges, etc. Hull is never short of ideas, and it’s a great thing to hear.

In companion with the few guest vocalists on some songs (which include Agoraphobic Nosebleed vocalists Kat Katz and Richard Johnson and Misery Index‘s Jason Netherton), J.R. Hays tears through the album with a ferocity that is not only essential in this scene, but also impressive for someone at his age. You can hear the rawness in his screams, and you can sometimes even feel your veins popping out of your neck when he does those really long vocal passages. The guest vocals are also a highlight on this release, some being higher in register and others lower. This diversity is a driving force behind select songs, some of which would be completely lost without them. The mix of these vocal styles makes for a really outstanding album in terms of vocal delivery, especially with the compelling lyrics Hayes writes, such as from the album’s best track, ‘Baltimore Strangler’, “She’s got a neck built for my hands, the way a pine grows for the saw.” It’s simply brilliant imagery.

Even with all the praise being lobbied against Book Burner, there are some downfalls to this record as well. The lack of bass, being that the band does not have a bassist, is saddening. Even with grind there should always be bass, because it can usually make the songs better. Also the songs on the album don’t really stand well individually; you really need to listen to the whole album from beginning to end in order to get the same effect, whereas listening to a few songs here and there will do nothing for you. The production can also get muddled at times, mixing the vocals too deep, and with the added distortion on the guitar, it can get cluttered. There’s also the glimmering reminder that the band has a fourth member in Blake Harrison doing electronics, as stated in the credits, but on the record they are very sparse. It would have been nice to see him more involved and his electronics and ambiance further implemented into the album as a whole.

Book Burner is a great album. Not just a great album for the band, but for grind in general. It is definitely an album that people should not pass up, especially for fans of the genre. If you really love grind, and you enjoy this band, then listen to Book Burner, Pig Destroyer’s return to the forefront of grind metal and the potential album of the year for many metal fans.

Pig Destroyer – Book Burner gets…

4/5

- SS