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Nothing short of Godly. - 95%

almightyjoey, July 2nd, 2009

Pig Destroyer's 'Prowler in the Yard' really upped the ante in both their discography, and the grindcore genre in general. Grindcore concept albums are incredibly rare, and that's what makes them so interesting, I guess. That's the first thing I'd like to address: whilst being a concept album, it never, ever seems overambitious, pretentious, or just plain over-the-top. Everything is paced out wonderfully, and it combines a solid story with vague lyrics, to insert your own interpretation. There's even a passage on the back cover of the CD's liner notes, with a short paragraph detailing the characters, and the backstory of the album. I suggest reading this before pressing play, because once your finger hits that little green button, it kicks off immediately.

Like their later concept album, Terrifyer, it starts off with a chilling intro, played by Microsoft Sam. There's something about it that makes it scary. Perhaps it's the familiarity of it, combined with an eerie background ambience. Perhaps it's the story it is telling. Perhaps it's just that it's plain unusual for Microsoft Sam to appear on a grindcore CD. Maybe it's all of these things. Once you're about to put your finger on it, it's too late. Maniacal laughter fills the background, and the background ambience intensifies, slowly. It builds, and builds, until, boom. The grind starts. And, oh, does it start.

The album seems to be built around two movements. The 15+ grindcore tracks at the beginning, and the last handful of songs towards the end. The grindcore ones are, as you would expect, completely top of their game. From the groovy 'Trojan Whore' to the absolutely terrifying 'Body Scout', it shows you how varied a three-man band can go, and how much intensity they can throw in your face. It's interesting to note the lyrics, too. Some of them are absolute genius (see 'Murder Blossom'), whereas some of them are really abstract, and are straight from the notebooks of a madman (see 'Cheerleader Corpses'). After this series of grindcore shorts, in the words of Bad Boys 2, shit just got real.

'Hyperviolet' starts, and it's immediately apparent that there's something different. It's much longer than the other songs, and there's some definite sludge influence. The echoing guitar work from Scott Hull, the intense drumming from Brian Harvey, and the mad shrieking of JR Hayes is added to this eerie background drone, making it sound like some sort of doom metal track. After about two minutes, it all fades away, leaving you with a minute-long feedback drone. The next track, 'Starbelly' also seems to be quiet sludgy and doomy, too. From the surprising length of five minutes, to the detuned slugging riffs, it's definitely a continuation of the previous track.

This leads us nicely into the penultimate track; 'Junkyard God'. A minute-long drum solo acts as a cold splash of water to the face, to alleviate you of the beautiful, hypnotizing effects of the previous two doom numbers. After the drum solo, we're welcomed back to the familiarity of the grindcore. The familiarity continues in 'Piss Angel', which is instantly recognizable as trademark Pig Destroyer grindcore. Like the previous three songs, though, there's also something unusual about this one. Again, this is over 7 times longer than a regular Pig Destroyer track. Wondering what makes it so long is the best part of the track, and makes it a fitting climax. After the traditional in-your-face grindcore is over, we're greeted once again by Microsoft Sam. And if you thought the lyrics of the opening track were twisted, you haven't heard anything yet. The climax of the story is even more sick, disgusting, and downright wonderful. Once we've discovered the conclusion of the story, the track doesn't stop. We're left hanging with the same eerie ambience as before. It continues for a short while, until we have some electronic entity singing quietly. You're left to wonder what it has to say. Is it singing words at all? What is it? Why is it singing? Once you've started to wonder these things, it stops. Almost the exact antithesis of the introduction, 'Jennifer'.

While I prefer Terrifyer, this is probably the most intense Pig Destroyer release, and definitely the least accessible. It can be downright terrifying, groovy, philosophical, and more often than not, all three of these. While I consider it a CD rack essential, I understand this isn't for everyone. Even fans of grind could consider this "too much". If you do like a challenge, or sick, twisted music, this is the one for you. Even if you don't like it at first, persevere. It can be so rewarding to listen to.