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So what we have here really is grindcore, straight and true. No, the lyrics do not constitute a subgenre; the music does. So then, what we have here really is grindcore. But wait…Isn’t grindcore supposed to be raw and angry? At least something akin to Repulsion, Napalm Death, Carcass, or possibly even the Pig Destroyer of old? Nevermind then, this isn’t grindcore, just as this is no longer Pig Destroyer. This is some shallow Hot Topic image creeping into the world of trendy, teenage angst that happens to play some, albeit generic, very fast music.
A former Pig Destroyer enthusiast, I bought Phantom Limb the very hour it appeared on store shelves, for I had awaited its release two months in advance. Hell, I even awoke early that summer day (something I never do during summer) and used some of my graduation money to buy this. Oh, was I disappointed alright.
I decided to wait to review this album until the day when it finally grew on me; but the day never came, nor will it ever. What I heard upon first listening to this cash grab is what I still hear today: three grown men trying to be grindcore, and a fourth guy getting his start as a DJ. That’s right. Pig Destroyer have taken it upon themselves to recruit a sampler who adds absolutely nothing meaningful to the music. In fact, the most anyone can hear of him is his 15 seconds of lame throughout the album…quite literally. Pig Destroyer must have lost a bet to this guy to let him in, because he serves absolutely no purpose.
Aside from some turntable guy, the music, itself, is bland enough. Everyone’s performances in Phantom Limb, though perhaps more technically proficient than on previous albums, display no shred of emotion whatsoever.
Brian Harvey has no more technique in his drumming. He used up the last of it in Terrifyer and resorted to merely hitting things very hard and fast. Come to think of it, that sounds a lot like he was inspired by baboons having sex.
Scott Hull’s guitar has one of the most annoying sounds I’ve ever heard. Gone is that heavy, crunchy, mid-ranged blast of electricity as prior to this garbage. Instead, Hull has resorted to the tin metal-scraping effect of recording his guitars with absolutely no low end at all. Not only that, but he plays extremely fast with an extremely low volume, making his guitar almost completely lost in the mix. Thus, the only discernable riffs throughout the album are those which involve some sort of palm-muting, or the parts where he decides to actually slow it down a bit and give the scene kids something to hardcore dance to. So I can’t tell you if his riffs are as awesome as in previous albums, because most of the time, they’re plainly not audible enough to make a distinction, or are shrouded in Hot Topic-esque guitar.
And then J.R. Hayes is no longer a deranged vocalist. No. I think he decided to revert into his teenage years. Either that, or he was called in to record all of the vocal parts in a single day but had no inspiration and, in a flurry of panic, looked through his 8th grade year book and remembered how he was picked on by all the cool kids for being a nerd. I think the latter, for his lyrics tell that story, as does his weak, angsty vocal performance.
Hell, Phantom Limb just sucks. Sure, sometimes Pig Destroyer like to slow things down and prolong their songs to show their musicality by playing breakdowns for all the little emo/metalcore fanboys, but it just isn’t Pig Destroyer anymore. About two songs are actually pretty good, but it’s a shame that they just weren’t good enough to remember their titles or what track number they are.
I’d have to say that Pig Destroyer’s intended audience for this release were the pubescent teenagers who attend hardcore shows, resort to veganism, and support gay marriage. Sorry Pig Destroyer, but your marketing tactics don’t appeal to me. After reading this, you should know that Phantom Limb is not worth buying (and/or liking) unless you’re a collector, or the aforementioned pubescent teenager.