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.