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Over the years, as genres evolve, an album released which is considered in the same genre as an older work will most likely sound very different than said older album. For example, compare Unleashed with Heinous Killings. Both death metal, yet both very different.
There is also the case of bands evolving and stepping outside their genre for influence, which has led to the formation of many different subgenres. Such is the case with Pig Destroyer. Not to say that there is anything wrong with expanding one's sound, or bringing in new influences. But compare this album with "Prowler In the Yard" or any material released before that album, and it will become clear that Pig Destroyer are no longer just a grindcore band. There has been a growing death/groove metal influence creeping in since 2004's "Terrifyer" (a grossly overrated album that wouldve been better if not for the shitty production job and about half the songs being filler).
This new death/groove sound spliced in with Pig Destroyer's grindcore roots does produce some genuinely heavy moments on this cd. Scott Hull's fingers are as busy as ever, churning out all sorts of riffs. In particular, "Thought Crime Spree", "Loathsome" and "Heathen Temple" are very good examples. However, it feels like some songs are short just so PxDx can say "OH HEY GUYS, WERE STILL GRINDCORE, YOU KNOW?". That kind of just irritates me.
As usual, Brian's drumming is top notch. He does some pretty cool fills, and nothing on his kit sounds overproduced into oblivion (unlike the guitar tone...). JR Hayes' vocals sound pretty angry, however, he seems to be muted, or muffled, in some way. His voice doesnt have the same ringing insanity it did on earlier works, or even "Terrifyer". It's a shame they couldnt do a better job producing the vocals, as he sounds just as pissed as he ever was when I saw Pig Destroyer in a live setting.
But really, there is nothing inherently BAD about this album. But while I can throw on their side of the split with Gnob, or "Prowler.." and not get bored, "Phantom Limb" really fails to keep my attention. There are high points throughout the album, so I find myself really just skipping to the interesting songs. There are some pretty funny/disturbing samples spliced in throughout, which sometimes add to the atmosphere. Other times, they just seem thrown in for no reason at all.
In the end, this album is simply a step down from PxDx's earlier material. It just sounds halfformed, like it does not know which direction to go in. Does it want to be groovy death metal? Does it want to be grindcore? Does it want to be a combination? Or does it wish to be something totally different than what I described?
Well, I'm not sure what it wants to be. But I do know what it is; run-of-the-mill, "safe", and at times even uninteresting. If you're looking for interesting modern grindcore, I would suggest Insect Warfare's "World Extermination", Yacopsae's "Tanz, Grozny, Tanz", or Regurgitate's "Sickening Bliss". Let's hope Pig Destroyer can do better for their next album.