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yeah this is really good - 88%

Noktorn, December 11th, 2008

This is Pig Destroyer's crowning moment. It's the one CD they've managed to release that gets nearly everything right. Whether it was an accident or just the band finally actually deciding to spend some effort is a question which haunts me to this day.

Admittedly it kind of shits the bed in the last third when it gets almost unbearably pretentious with tracks like 'Hyperviolet' and mandatory shitty sludge track 'Starbelly', but the rest of it is really good. Blessed with a clearer, fuller productions which puts the emphasis on guitars rather than 'how can we produce this album to piss off your parents really bad', the songs actually now feel like songs instead of bursts of pretentious noise. It's not really any less grind, and there are numerous songs which are little more than configurations of blast beats and frantic tremolo riffs, but the package as a whole is more musical. There are memorable riffs and song structures; the band is willing to take more time to get from one place to another, build a little tension, smell the grinding roses.

It's still fast and it's still overwhelmingly angry, but it seems more able to articulate that anger than on any other Pig Destroyer release. Other Pig Destroyer albums sound like kids angry at their parents having a tantrum in their room. This is Pig Destroyer at their most convincing, where all of Hayes' screeching finally manages to seem genuinely dangerous and crazed and the riffs convey the sort of malevolence they hint at so much but rarely manage to actually evoke. Really though it's the riffs which dominate this album. Occasionally they seem sort of incongruous and bouncy when compared to the lyrical themes of the release, but they're generally so damned good you don't really notice. They're fiery and sawing and sometimes grooving, but always with a hint of frantic desperation to them, even in their most relaxed moments. A solid drum performance rounds out the pack, adding the ragged rhythmic base that the rest of the music is built on.

Really, the album just works beyond any straightforward definitions or classification. There's something to be said for how the band manages to maintain a sense of urgency amidst the musical dynamics, allowing even groove riffs to feel like they're pushing the songs forward towards even greater heights of intensity. It's stormy and chaotic without ever really losing coherency, and the lack of tracks that feel like nothing more than noise probably does a great deal to increase the overall weight of the album; filler in grind albums tends to lighten the experience more than you'd expect.

It's very well composed music, and it's sometimes amazing just how much creativity the band is able to pack into these short and violent songs. But again I'm brought back to the main question I have about this band: why are none of their other releases like this one, and also, if they were just going to do one seminal work, why wasn't it the first thing they released? It's pretty bizarre how this alone manages to stand out as an island of brilliance amidst the band's otherwise rather tepid catalog, but I guess it's better to get one great one than none. 'Prowler In The Yard' is not only a great grindcore album, but a great metal album in general, and one that all metalheads should hear at one point. It's precisely how modern grind should be pulled off: with conviction, intelligence, and clarity of vision.