When you try and cage what was never intended to be caged, a primal rage can be brought to the surface. Trapping an animal can lead to the unlocking of something deep inside that lets it know it was never supposed to be kept from its freedom. Though the vicious All Pigs Must Die are free to roam the hellscape of life, it would seems that they’ve found a way to channel this cage induced rage on their latest album, Hostage Animal. Their latest record is the sound equivalent of chewed, worm cage bars, sleeping in the blood on the floor of your cage that’s leaked from your teeth when you’ve gnawed on the metal for too long and being prodded endlessly by those who only seek to harm you.
With this being the band’s third full length, there’s a certain expectation a listener has when it comes to the music’s level of brutality and filth. The torture depicted in the music is translated without issue to the sound of Hostage Animal. Guitars and bass rain down upon you like putrid buckets of excrement from an apartment window. The drums are ever present and always thumping harder than you might be comfortable with, much like a spirit of a murder victim that haunts you and your family because you’re not welcome in its house. The vocals sound as if they were filtered through the bars of the mental cage, spit mixed with blood flying onto the stone floor through the openings in-between the prison pillars. This is by far their heaviest sounding record.
The music engulfed by the sound is just as heavy. Whether the group bludgeons in a straightforward fashion, as shown on the tracks “Blood Wet Teeth”, “Caustic Vision” and “Meditation of Violence” or takes you down into the depths of the torture chamber with slower, ominous tracks that ramp up throughout like “Slave Morality”, “End Without End” and “Cruelty Incarnate”, you will be questioning whether or not you can function on a day to day basis with what little brain you have left after having your head compacted. When the band at their most quick and efficient, they’re hitting the perfect hardcore punk stride. When they want to slow down, they look to the depths and invoke the demon of sludge. Though the band is certainly not the first to use these two styles to flavor their aggressive output, they have been doing it for seven years and have a grasp of it that many would kill for.
While Hostage Animal is not a revolution, it is a rock solid metal album that takes the best of hardcore punk and sludge, tortures them and wears them down to the point that they’ll do anything to get out of their bondage. It’s the sound of rattling cages, swinging chains and broken spirits. All Pigs Must Die have crafted their most unrelenting release yet, which is truly something to be said when you listen to their catalog. Though this album invokes the spirit of torture, it is anything but torture to listen to. It takes you hostage and doesn’t let you go, but you won’t mind.
Hostage Animal is available 10/27 via Southern Lord Records.