For those unfamiliar with this act it contains a raft of notable personnel, namely Ben Koller (Converge), Matt Woods and Adam Wentworth (Bloodhorse), Kevin Baker (The Hope Conspiracy) and Brian Izzi (Trap Them). I have skirted the fringes of All Pigs Must Die’s music with the band’s last release “Nothing Violates This Nature”, from 2013, being a particularly nasty but inventive slab of music that is difficult to pin down to one genre description such is the song writing style the band employs. “Hostage Animal” is the bands third album and like the sophomore it is genre defying but one you thing you know by the end of it is you have been sonically maimed.
Opening with a triplet of hostile songs beginning with the title track there is no warning, no intro the song detonates, and I mean detonates like a missile with blasting ferocity that is almost cacophonous and I must admit I had to restart the song because my ears weren’t ready for it. The song is embittered especially vocally, a twisted almost malicious delivery is felt throughout the album as the song reins in the blast beat but not aggression as a deft riff break is revealed followed by an intense and discordant blasting finale and that is only the opening song. “A Caustic Vision” follows and has a groove riff, slamming the listener back into your seat with a mid-tempo beat that is infectious yet angst riddled as an avalanche of riff breaks cascade from the song superbly. Final song of the triplet “Meditation Of Violence” does exactly what you expect in its sub one minute of aural bombardment of grindcore like savagery.
Listening to this album is like a series of chapters in a book as the next set of songs have a more post hardcore stance with “Slave Morality” beginning with some nifty guitar work set against an industrial like drumming style which is loud and clamorous but appropriate for the atmosphere of the song. There is a dystopian ethos generated here, as the vocals have a cloying desperate feel, throat shredding at times as the song intensifies and links nicely with the next track “End Without End” which also has an industrial post hardcore styling.
My analogy with the chapters in a book continues with a series of insanely fast tracks that berserk starting with “Blood Wet Teeth” that has a discordant harshness that continues into “Moral Purge” which is utterly mental and has a riff break that reminded me of Sepultura’s “Schizophrenia” album for some reason. As the album comes to the last few songs it returns to the more experimental and post hardcore leanings as “Cruelty Incarnate” starts like a doom tune with an eerie riff and lingering guitar hook before shifting into a far more intense phase. “The Whip” is frenzied with a torrent of riffs yet not blasted as such but still potent and serves to splice into the closing tune “Heathen Reign” which is also the longest and starts with a riff that could have come from a black metal album, I kid you not. The songs post hardcore prowess is not far behind though as the drums industrial deportment carry the song forward along with a change in the riffing which has a mournful tone. The mood of the song changes constantly and eventually takes on a desolate aura towards the latter half adopting a gloomy slow pervading dread like stance that ends the album with a melancholic bleakness.
I wouldn’t normally describe each track but this album needs to be taken as a whole not as separate tracks as the album is a listening experience with each track offering an aspect towards that experience. Fans of the band will love it, but if you’re new to the band and want an album that challenges on a multitude of levels then buy this as All Pigs Must Die will certainly do that and more.
(9/10 Martin Harris)