Pig Destroyer – Phantom Limb
By Chris Derosa Thursday, 14 Jun 2007

It’s been almost 3 years since we’ve last heard from Pig Destroyer, the Virginia based grind/death/thrash/punk/etc. metal trio (which include guitar, drums, and vocals) that has always taken their music to the most brutal of extremities. When they released “Terrifyer” back in 04′, it was considered to be a masterpiece, with over 20 relentless tracks that never let you take a breather, even for a second. This band is always about hitting hard and moving on, sometimes with songs as short as 20 seconds. After the long wait, they recently added another member to the group (as a provider for noise and samplers), and have just released Phantom Limb. For those accustomed to their style, it could take a bit of getting used to.

The album starts out simple enough, with feedback and samples leading in to the crushing riff and blast beats to accompany the strange and demented vocal style. With every Pig Destroyer release, the vocals have always been along the lines of yelling, but the way that the vocalist, J.R. Hayes, yells them out is what makes it so unorthodox and disjointed (in a good way). In Phantom Limb, he still yells, but this time it’s always accompanied by an effect of some sort to seemingly “stretch out” his voice (if that makes sense) and sound decaying after every scream. A little strange at first, but as the album progresses you really get a sense of what direction they were trying to go with it. Chilling is a nice way to describe it.

As the tracks push on, the style stays the same. The lyrics, while maybe not as dark and violent as Terrifyer’s, still hold the right atmosphere as they paint a picture of some pretty graphic moments or stories. Since the music is still technically just guitar and drums, the riffing needs to stay on point and the beats need to keep firing away in order to make the style work. Scott Hull (guitarist) and Brian Harvey (drums) manage to do so like it was second nature at this point. They play fast, and they play accurate. It’s a thrill to hear that they still have not lost a step when it comes to writing music with such ferocity.

As insane as the album is, it encounters some questionable pacing issues as it moves along. After the title track plays through at the halfway point, the cd takes an interesting turn, as “Loathsome”, their new single, goes up to 4 minutes long. For fans of the band, it’s not any news that they’ll sometimes throw in tracks longer than 2-3 minutes. But after that, almost every track treads into that territory. The music may remain fast, but then it will start to slow down. For those pumped up by the first half, this may pose to be a problem. It’s not a bad thing that they have “lengthy” tracks on the album, really. The last tracks are still great, especially the intense “Alexandria” and “Machete Twins”. It’s just makes me wonder on why they threw these near the end with no quick bursts in between.

As a whole, Phantom Limb still stays strong and helps Pig destroyer deliver once again. It’s obviously not for every one out there, but for those looking for something new, fast, and heavy should really have to look no further.

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