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Pig Destroyer: The Octagonal Stairway

Pig Destroyer has a knack for releasing tracks that were once part of the recording sessions for something else. The EP Mass and Volume, for example, stemmed, at least in part, from the sessions for Phantom Limb. The Octogonal Stairway also draws on earlier projects by offering up a handful of tunes that most people haven’t heard before. One of these tracks, “Head Cage,” seems like it was originally meant to the band’s 2018 album of the same name. But before you start thinking this EP is just a bunch of leftovers or undeveloped ideas, think again. Pig Destroyer rarely does things halfway, which means that the music here is blistering, crazed, and bizarre. The first three tracks definitely capture the band’s grindcore attack the most. The title track opens with a little bit of noise and then launches into a relentless chuggy and choppy attack that weaves in some noise alongside everything else. This song is a bit unnerving rhythmically and so I doubt it will appeal to people who want to sit back and relax with some music.

The second track, “The Calvary” is just as intense, though I found its overall attack a bit easier to bear. Say what you will about Grindcore, it definitely captures a distinctive rawness and power. That is especially true of this band. Some grind bands ease up too quickly or try to show off how cool they are behind all the noise. Pig Destroyer doesn’t worry if anyone is watching; they just grind and thrash and destroy. If you listen to any of these first three tracks, you’ll definitely feel the music hitting you.

Things change with “News Channel 6,” a short track that wants to comment on the nature of media. Although the track might seem unnecessary, it’s worth a listen because of the way it reports on death and destruction across the US and then announces that more news is coming after a commercial break. I thought that was devastating.

“Head Cage” didn’t do very much for me. It has a slow beat and a muffled voice running through it that I found distracting and unsettling. Pig Destroyer likes to catch listeners unawares, but I won’t revisit this track anytime soon. “Sound Walker” was better and made for a strong closing track. It’s another weird noise track but it has an electronic pulse that captured my attention. The only problem with this song is its ten-minute length. Pig Destroyer is easier to bear in short bursts (unless they’re playing doom metal).

If you’re into this band, this album will most likely have something for you to enjoy. If you are new to grind or to noise, I’d go back into the band’s earlier releases before putting this one on. If you just want a taste, check out “The Calvary,” one of the better tracks here.

Track Listing:
1. The Octagonal Stairway
2. The Cavalry
3. Cameraman
4. News Channel 6
5. Head Cage
6. Sound Walker

Added: September 3rd 2020
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 472
Language: english

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