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Breaking! Pig Destroyer finally sells out & now plays metalcore!! - 19%

GuardAwakening, January 12th, 2019

Perhaps there is content to be heard on this album that others can get enjoyment out of, but for me I squander for it. Anything and everything that made Pig Destroyer a ridiculous, absurd and extreme (and thus highly enjoyable) band is stripped away throughout this record, its finished runtime leaves me feeling disappointed almost to the feeling of disgust. The more I listen to Head Cage and every time a track passes and leads onto the next it where I am left to realize further and further that I've been listening to a grind album that has been so commercially polished to where its reduced to a accessible metalcore product. This more-accessible sound might be the band's doing, because I don't at all want to believe Relapse had a say in what PD's music should sound like within hopes of getting this band to start playing Warped Tour anytime... because God, I hope not!

Relapse had worked with the band throughout most of their career, and even Pig's heaviest hitters (Prowler in the Yard and Phantomb Limb) were released through the label. I find it utmost hard to believe that this disaster is the label's fault, but just because the label doesn't control your musical direction doesn't mean you didn't sell out. The definition of selling out can refer to any and every sort of action done in the effort to prioritize your music/art as a product instead of a naturally created work. And that is which is what music should be; the sound of a band should be natural chemistry between the group of musicians and the moment you force a style or sound that didn't occur through that chemistry - especially when the forced sound is a trend-ridden riff style (which this album is full of) - I am convinced to call you a sellout.

The worst parts of the riffs to be heard on this album range from near-djent range at times ("The Adventures of Jason and JR") to buttrock-esque at other times ("Circle River"). It is by-the-book crap. Had any other band made this album it would've just been declared mediocre or not very good, but being as Pig Destroyer made this album it makes me cringe. Pig were a band that I singlehandedly declared the lords of off-the-wall extreme underground music. Now, it hurts me inside to take that trophy away from them after hearing this album.

This album sounds like a grindcore band trying way too hard to branch out to being accessible and man is it embarrassing. There are parts that sound like mid 2000s metalcore, while there are parts that are reminiscent of Botch and Deadguy, then there's other parts where the hardcore punk influences shines (which are the best and most tolerable moments to be heard) and then there's other parts that sound like a groovy radio rock band with a guy screaming over it. The latter is by far the worst moments on here. Focusing on the drumming is another thing that comes off as odd to me too because hearing a Pig Destroyer album where the percussion is doing anything other than blast beats (which comprises a huge chunk of this record) also doesn't feel right.

If you're a Pig Destroyer fan like me and liked them for their impressive way at being extreme, you will be very disappointed with this record. But if you like accessible metalcore, then you'll without a doubt like this album. All and all, I have no faith in the band at this point and everything that they plan on doing after releasing this record. Only good thing I can say though is that it's a good thing they decided to finally sell out so far into their career, because it means they have over 20 years worth of amazing albums which I'll still cherish (which many more years than when most bands decide to do this bullshit).