Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pig Destroyer - "Book Burner" Review

Well, it's all come down to this. Five years, endless amounts of hype, a loss of a drummer, gaining a drummer, more hype, teaser tracks, even more hype, and now the finished product. Man. The past half-decade has been a real trip, for me personally. I must preface this review by saying Pig Destroyer is one of my favorite bands, period. I can't even begin to accurately describe what this band has done for me and how they have shaped my taste in heavy music. And in a sick way, this album was pretty much doomed to be underwhelming for me. Not to say that that this is a bad album, but let's be real honest here. There's no way in hell that this album could have lived up to the expectations I had for it. I have unwillingly fucked myself over. But I think that goes for a lot of people too; I don't think anyone really went into this going, "yeah, this should be pretty decent, at least". I bet every stinking one of you was thinking "Book Burner" was going to be balls ass amazing. I wish I could wait just a little bit longer for this review, so I could listen to it more and try and soak in some more details, but the curse of journalism is that you have to stay with the times, and I fear that if I wait any longer, this review will become irrelevant. Well, let's get into the nitty gritty now and dissect this beast. And keep this in my, I like this album.

Pig Destroyer has always been this entity of grindcore individualism. Converging the gap between ferocious, heavy, fast music, and forward thinking creativity. Or in layman's terms, art. They always brought new ideas to the table, be it the grotesque concept of "Prowler In The Yard", or the "Natasha" EP that accompanied "Terrifyer". "Phantom Limb" was more of a balls to the wall, full on metallic grind/metal album, but was filled to the brim with enough outstanding riffs and catchy hooks to make it my 2nd favorite of their full-lengths. On "Book Burner", I really don't see the band pushing themselves into any new territory, or pushing themselves as performers. The whole album just seems to stick in this one level, without many arches to it. There is a pretty even mix of short grind songs, and more lengthier tracks though. And songs like, "The Diplomat" and "Boston Strangler", are really great follow-ups to a lot of the tracks I loved on "Phantom Limb". None of the songs on here are bad, but none are really great either. The ones that feature the guest vocalists, like Kat and Richard from ANb, and Jason Netherton from Misery Index, are excellent, and the added voices are an awesome mix. But the biggest downfall here is that none of the songs really grab me, or bring me in to my full attention. I've found myself fading out multiple times while it was playing. The riffs here just seem more "been there, done that", and it seems like a lot has been rehashed (like the same scream sample that was used in "4th Degree Burns" on "Phantom.." is used in the track "The Bug", come on). None of the songs on here, except for the previously mentioned ones really stick with me. I'm hoping that with more listens, this will change.
J.R. still sounds pissed fucking off though, and refreshingly raw and bare. There is little to no vocal effects used on this album, a standard for a lot of PD records. He sounds rough, grizzled, and desperate, in the best way. Adam Jarvis, who is an excellent drummer, and certainly does the job here, leaves me a bit let down. Brian Harvey's drumming was a strong characteristic of the bands sound, and I can definitely hear a difference. Adam's drumming is a lot more precise, and polished. He doesn't really go full out and explore his kit much; i.e., there's a ton of simple snare fills. And Blake, oh man, I always feel so bad for Blake! If you gave this album to someone without telling them about Blake and what he does, they would have no idea he was even on this. Hell, I barely remember he is! I really wish they could utilize him more, make him a more active part of the record, please!
After all these complaints, it must be hard to believe that I like this album, but I do. Yes, this album was disappointing, but, I'm hoping with time it will grow on me more. Every now and again, I'll listen to it and truly love it, other times, not so much. "Book Burner" is a curious beast in the bands discography, it will probably go down as one of the more polarizing and debated of their records among fans. Hopefully we don't have to wait another 5 years for the next one.

Rating: 7/10



  1. Absolutely spot on. I don't understand how the mainstream metal press is fawning on this record like its the second coming of Dio or something. If this didn't have the name Pig Destroyer attached to it, everyone man and his dog would have passed on it and not given it a second listen.

  2. I'm glad that I'm not the only person who felt that this album was more hype than substance. Not bad, but not great describes it perfectly, although I haven't given up on it, as PD can sometimes take awhile to fully appreciate. So far though, almost dull.

  3. breaking out of my self-imposed media cocoon, i was struck by the decibel cover story on pxdx. hull, in particular, really seemed to feel the pressure to put something out from relapse because it had been pushed off for so long. i think his final quote was something like "for better or for worse this is the new album." not exactly a ringing endorsement.

    however, if you're the kinda person who only listens to one grind record a year, this will probably blow your balls off. so i think that's why the mainstream metal press has been so laudatory. if you live and breathe blast beats, you're gonna be let down though.

  4. I feel you on this review. So much hype and an average album is a bad combination. I don't wish they would repeat themselves but I do wish they would explore the sound they achieved on Prowler in the Yard again.