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When the viability of any band’s songwriting is in question, the best place to look for any hope of future potential is how they reinterpret songs written by the forefathers of their genre. In the case of Isis, there hasn’t been much doubt in their ability to put out Atmospheric/Progressive sludge that is a cut above the rest. Pig Destroyer, on the other hand, has trouble maintaining the admiration of anyone who is either above the age of 14 or is not an emocore fanboy music journalist (apparently there are a ton of these on the internet as all I saw for them was rave reviews).
The better half of this album is obviously found on Isis’s side of the court. Not only do they succeed in beautifully adapting this, at the time, avant-garde industrial metal classic to their atmospheric brand of slow, muddy metal; but also succeed in marrying that ridiculously obnoxious snare drum sound Soundgarden is known for to the rest of the mix without burying the entire song underneath it. The contrast between the high and low end guitar sounds is surreal, to speak nothing for the differentiation between the drum and bass timbre, but all of it balances out like Yin and Yang, resulting in an atmosphere reminiscent of a bulldozer unearthing mud in the middle of the wetlands, which is a complement unless you’re an environmentalist (come up with your own analogy about mud and metal then).
Pig Destoyer’s side of the split is a little less endearing, but miles ahead of what they’d done up to this point in their career. For the most part, they demonstrate an ability to successfully play all of the riffs, basslines and drumbeats required of them, but not really much more. They essentially go through the motions and don’t really do much other than butcher the production, especially in the case of “Exhume to Consume”, which at times sounds like it was recorded in the basement of a professional panhandler. We get a few extra clicks on the metronome, a few crazy blast beats, but the ultimate truth is that Pig Destroyer is dependent on a good song already being written for them in order to sound even remotely good, let alone successfully pay homage to a well respected goregrind/death metal outfit like Carcass.
If this split were judged only by the Isis half, this would be an excellent single, but seeing as Pig Destroyer will likely have accomplished little more than getting a few snickers out of old school grindcore/goregrind fans with this half-assed handful of remade classics, I can’t give this a glowing recommendation. There is probably a good reason why no Isis fans have bothered with reviewing this split album, and it has zero to do with the performance of their favorite band on here.