PIG DESTROYER: Head Cage: CD/LP/CS

Let’s be honest: grindcore is never going to pay the bills, so it’s not surprising that Pig Destroyer take their time in between albums as they live their lives and try and sculpt their next masterpiece. That said, it’s been six long years since their last release, Book Burner, which wasn’t bad, but also didn’t blow me away like their previous album, Phantom Limb, did. Head Cage, a twelve-song, half hour full-length, is another step along the path of growth of the band. Whereas early Pig Destroyer albums were short bursts of growled vocals, Head Cage finds the band creating great grooves on tracks like “Army of Cops” and “Mt. Skull” (to name two examples). JR Hayes’ vocals are much more screamy than anything growling, as seen on prior albums. I prefer it, as well as the plentiful additions of Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s vocalists, Richard Johnson and Kat Katz. I don’t know if grindcore can ever be considered “accessible,” but Pig Destroyer has made an album that is going to be as acceptable to any heavy music fan as anything they’ve previously released. At the same time, longtime fans will find the evolution of the band to be gradual enough so as to not turn them off. In fact, I imagine, like me, they’ll very much enjoy Head Cage. –Kurt Morris (Relapse, relapserecords.bandcamp.com)