By Leo Kindred
One of the most prestigious, important, influential, popular and critically acclaimed grind bands. That’s the reputation of Pig Destroyer, and one I’ve never been on board with. I count myself as a grind fan, and the blend of quick and fast brutality, combined with the poetic misanthropy and social commentary of the one and a half minute masterpiece merchants should mean PD could count me as a firm fan. Alas up to this point this has not been the case, so it is with hopeful expectation I attend this rare headline date. Hugely successful grind band, full slot to wreak chaos with, what could go wrong?
When Scott Hull and co arrive it is to huge cheers, and the grouchy riffing which has made their sound a staple of modern grind blasts us with the classic three piece assault of grindcore, ie guitars, vocals and brutal as fuck drumming.Although in this case it is added to by Blake Harrison, who has a dual role from his position behind the plethora of various technical and electronic gadgetry; adding dissonant sounds and samples, and, the majority of the time, acting as sort of cheerleader (corpses, hurhur) for the band.Given the fact the lion share of the songs simply do not have any need for his services and that he hardly contributes anything, except between songs, it makes you question the need for his being there, spending much of his time enthusiastically jumping up and down attempting to rouse the crowd.
To their credit the crowd respond, but the guitar is so low and loose it makes it hard, even as someone familiar with their material, to tell what song they’re performing from one number to the next.
J.R. Case looses his litany of painful yells at the crowd, but over the course of the set it descends into less controlled and despairing rasps. This in some ways adds to the impression that Pig Destroyer are a real band who’ve found themselves in grind by mistake.There’s emotion in his delivery but I find it next to impossible to engage, and feel that there should be more energy to his performance rather than the renting wretchedness that seems to be being evoked.An outing of slow burner ‘Starbelly‘ and the classic sample of obscene poetry from ‘Jennifer‘ provides pleasant high points but, sadly, there isn’t much more to tell, for not long after this the band leaves the stage after an encore, barely 55 minutes into the set.
I accept this is grind but if bands like Anaal Nathrakh and Converge can perform with even greater intensity for a full hour and a half and you’re going to charge standard priced tickets then you can’t hide behind the trappings of a genre and pull shit like this. I came here with an open mind but this was for me, not to mention many of the fans heading home – a disappointing experience. Unfortunately tonight does nothing to correct my opinion of them as anything other than an over-hyped band who’ve got to live up to the serious over praise they’ve accumulated off the back of a couple of decent releases, the most recent great album being back now 8+ years.