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Pig Destroyer, ‘Book Burner’ – Album Review

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Pig Destroyer are the embodiment of metal’s most purely aggressive breed. The genre of grindcore doesn’t allow for much breathing room or any sort of mainstream accessibility due to its speed, incoherence and sonic violence, but for bands like Pig Destroyer, grind serves as a foundation for profound originality.

There is no man on the planet that understands grindcore like Scott Hull. As Pig Destroyer’s guitarist, Hull has written a library’s worth of memorable riffs that transports the listener into moments of twisted wreckage and blistering gasoline flames created from a 200mph car wreck, along with the nightmarish calm of its aftermath. Pig Destroyer’s fifth studio album, ‘Book Burner,’ continues to deliver the calculated punishment of the band’s previous albums, leaving fans as battered, yet willing victims.

With each Pig Destroyer album’s release, the production standards have been noticeably different from record to record, with each consecutive piece becoming more pristine and demented at the same time. ‘Book Burner’ does the exact opposite. As the album came together, Scott Hull, who is also the band’s producer, found it fitting to bring a more raw sound to ‘Book Burner,’ reminiscent of Pig Destroyer’s breakthrough masterpiece ‘Prowler in the Yard.’

Another noticeable difference is the inclusion of various guest vocalists within ‘Book Burner.’ Along with the unique grit of Pig Destroyer vocalist J.R. Hayes, ‘Book Burner’ includes spotlit vocal appearances by Misery Index’s Jason Netherton on ‘The Diplomat,’ Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Richard Johnson within ’The Underground Man’ and fellow Agoraphobic Nosebleed vocalist Kat Katz on ‘Eve’ and ‘The Bug.’ The addition of Misery Index drummer Adam Jarvis as the replacement for longtime drummer Brian Harvey adds a much nastier, but still technically flawless performance to ‘Book Burner,’ with Jarvis’ drumming style exquisitely complementing the album’s crunching violence.

Since Pig Destroyer albums tend to run seamlessly, it’s difficult to pick standout tracks, but tune such as ‘The Diplomat’ is worth noting, as it slows the album down to a trudging pace with dueling vocals, an unforgettably unsetting bridge and teeth-grinding licks from Hull. ‘The Bug’ also serves as one of the record’s definitive tracks, beginning with a paralyzing opening quote from Henry Miller’s ‘Tropic of Cancer’ as read via book-on-tape by broadcasting legend Larry King, yes, Larry King.

‘Book Burner’ succeeds in every way as an album, and while it might not reach the perfection of past Pig Destroyer discs ‘Prowler in the Yard’ and ‘Terrifyer,’ the new effort outranks the band’s first album, ‘Explosions in Ward 6,’ and even their most recent release, ‘Phantom Limb.’ All told, ‘Book Burner’ is essential listening and is sure to grace the high ranks of numerous ‘Best of 2012′ lists. Drop what you’re doing and listen to this album now.

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