Sometimes, writing introduction paragraphs is a silly exercise; this is one of those times. Surely no one needs me to introduce Pig Destroyer, arguably one of the more influential bands of our times. Nor does anyone need the name of JR Hayes embellished; he’s one of the founders of the seminal band and an all important member, since their vocals have always played a huge part in the allure of the band. And yet, here I am, writing these lines and introducing one of the most well written and interesting Anatomy Of posts to date. I can maybe use this space to point out how some of the picks below, and the tantalizing story-seeds which go with them, speak volumes as to how veteran and embedded Pig Destroyer are in this scene. Or I can point out the common theme of aggression and high octane emotions which runs through the albums listed below.
But mostly I think I’d like to point out what a rare pleasure it is to remember that the musicians we listen to love the music themselves and are often avid listeners just like we are. That’s why I love this series of posts; it’s underlying point is both to show how things are connected and where artists draw inspiration but also to remind us that the people who make the music we love so much do it out of their own love for it. They go to shows, they scream lyrics, they’ve let metal and music into their lives and were forever changed by it. Perhaps you can meditate on this thought as you read the below picks by Hayes; his love for the music really does shine through. See you below!
Acid Bath – “When the Kite String Pops” + “Paegan Terrorism Tactics” (Rotten Records)
No band has influenced me as much as these Louisiana weirdos. These two albums (their only two, unfortunately) are inextricably linked together in my mind, so I could never pick just one. They pour sludge, thrash, death, punk, and psychedelia into a big cauldron and stir it up until it’s seamlessly blended together, creating a strange, dark voodoo that is all their own. The lyrics on these albums are the most evocative, perverse, and beautiful that I’ve ever read, and nothing else even comes that close, to be honest. They changed my entire conception of what music and lyrics could be. Perhaps one day, they will get the credit that they deserve for these two towering masterpieces.
Pg.99 – “Document #5” (Reptilian Records)
My hometown heroes from Sterling,VA. These guys started right around the same time as PD, and we played a ton of our earliest shows together, along with Enemy Soil, Frodus, and other DC area bands. Their performances were so wild, so passionate, and their relationship with their fans was so intense that it was almost cult-like. Band and audience would bleed together into one violent, swirling, sweaty mess and it was truly a glorious thing to behold. They also taught me the true meaning of punk rock, which is do what you want and fuck anybody who gets in your way. Obviously, their artwork was a huge influence on me, as we’ve used Chris numerous times over the years for PD. I’ve always loved the dissonance of his style. A perfect mix of willful trashiness and reluctant elegance.
EYEHATEGOD – “In the Name of Suffering” (Century Media)
I love all of their albums, but none more than their spooky, demo-ish debut. I think a lot of my vocal timing and phrasing comes from listening to a ton of Mike IX. He always just seems to come in at the right time and give the song exactly what it needs, no more, no less. His lyrics and visual aesthetic are also huge influences on me. He really brings you inside and makes you feel it. The pain, the weakness, the isolation. The other thing that’s always fascinated me about this band is the way the music swings. There’s a certain swagger to it, a hitch-in-it’s-giddy-up, so to speak, that I had never been able to put my finger on and never heard another band duplicate. Then this one time, I was hanging out with their bass player Gary, and I was trying to articulate my thoughts on this subject, and he said, in his low, Nawlins drawl, “Oh, you mean the ass-drag.” And I was like “Whoa.”
Assuck – “Anticapital” (Sound Pollution Records)
In almost 40 some years of grindcore, this may be the finest example of it. So vicious and raw, so heavy and unrelenting. The lyrics on this record were a huge influence on my stuff up through “Explosions in Ward 6”. They’re political but not preachy, searching for answers rather than supplying them. A hundred times more philosophical and sophisticated than most punk and metal lyrics, at times they almost remind me of Nietzsche or Dostoevsky. One of my old bands opened for them in DC one time at a dive bar called Club Soda. They blew the power out three times before the Fire Marshal arrived and shut the whole thing down. They probably only played for a grand total of 12 minutes, but it was the most ripping 12 minutes of grind that I’ve ever witnessed. All hail the kings.
Melvins – “The Maggot” (Ipecac Recordings)
Of all the different traits that a band can have, the one that I admire the most is originality, and there is perhaps no band in rock music more original (or confounding) than the Melvins. They have been one of PD’s primary influences from the very beginning and probably always will be. Nobody sings or plays guitar like King Buzzo, and Dale Crover is simply the coolest, most inventive drummer on the face of the Earth. They are utterly fearless, unconcerned with the grumblings of fans and the press as they go about their business with the whimsical flair that is their trademark. And yet, for all their left-of-center goofiness and knob-twiddling weirdness, when they decide to be heavy, there are none heavier. Skulls are gonna get crushed.