Pig Destroyer, Terrifyer (Relapse, 2004)
J.R. Hayes – Vocals
Scott Hull – Guitars
Brian Harvey – Drums
Produced by Scott Hull
Of the three Pig Destroyer albums our panelists voted for, Terrifyer scored the lowest. But it’s still my favorite PD offering, so fuck it, I’m gonna go ahead and write about it.
HOW THE FUCKING FUCK DID PIG DESTROYER NOT WIND ON THIS LIST? Their place in the grind pantheon is, like almost anything, open for debate, but at least as far as I’m concerned, they perfected grind, they epitomize grind, THEY ARE GRINDCORE.
Pig Destroyer make ugly music. Fuck hooks, fuck choruses, fuck you and fuck your pussy-ass eardrums. The fact that three dudes manage to make a racket that is more brutal than what four, five, six or in some cases nine members of other bands can ever achieve always surprises me.
But it really shouldn’t. Scott Hull plays whirlwind riffs so fast it sounds like his arm might fall off, so raw they swirl in your head as though someone dropped an angry hornet’s nest in your brain. Brian Harvey either had cherry bombs going off in his drum kit when he recorded this shit, or else someone was holding a gun to his head yelling “PLAY FASTER, MOTHERFUCKER!” the entire time he was recording. The Hull-Harvey duo alone seem destined to make Reign in Blood look a record so slow it’s not even allowed on the short bus.
And then there’s J.R. Hayes. His screams are vicious, atonal, just barely human. But his lyrics… oh, his lyrics. They should be taught in literature classes across the world. Take this poetry – pure poetry – form “Scarlet Hourglass”:
she rolls out of bed with the blankets wrapped around her dragging like the
virgin’s wedding gown there’s a scarlet hourglass at the base of her spine
four arms offer caresses four arms brandish knives her tongue twirls in her
mouth spinning webs of lies
That is somehow scary and beautiful and violent and heartbreaking all at once.
Every song here makes me want to kill something. The spastic “Pretty in Casts,” the groovy opening riff of “Gravedancer,” the nearly 38 non-grinding minutes of “Natasha,” a “Where the fuck did that come from?” song if ever there was one. This record is more punk rock than any punk rock record I’ve heard this decade, and possibly last decade.
At the risk of sounding extremely pretentious: Terrifyer has the textures of a novel. I know grind just sounds like noise to some people, but you really need to listen to this album, and listen closely. It’s too dense, too complex for just letting it play in background while you do chores or play videogames or whatever. Terrifyer demands that you engage it with it. It cannot be ignored.
I could rave about this record for hours on end, but for now, I just wanna concentrate on “Towering Flesh,” which might still very well be my favorite PD song (When I saw them play it live at Scion earlier this year, I pretty much creamed my pants.). It goes from typically Hayesian psychopathic anger to a just barely-meditative interlude that explodes into the most epic fucking section that makes me wanna weep every time I hear it (It also features a sweet guitar solo, courtesy Matthew Mills). There are really no words to describe how this song makes me feel, so I’ll just leave you with some more of Mr. Hayes’ goddamn genius lyrics:
all her shrugged little movements
and their despotic majesty
in the midst of such perfection
I can’t help but feel diseased
I don’t know exactly what those words mean to Hayes, and honestly, I don’t care. They feel like a perfect expression of so many things I’ve gone through. All that matters is what they mean to me.