Review: All Pigs Must Die – ‘Hostage Animal’

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Brooding hardcore-punk conglomerated with crushing stoner-esque displays of melody are now indefatigable qualities to what constitutes Southern Lord Records. One particular group to assist in laying down such foundations would have to be the incredibly influential, perennially pessimistic and harrowingly heavy act All Pigs Must Die. Their third studio LP, ‘Hostage Animal’ is scheduled for release on October 27 2017 and is musically their most foreboding attempt to date. The group is now a five-piece act consisting of Kevin Baker of The Hope Conspiracy on vocals, Ben Koller of Converge on drums, Matt Woods of Bloodhorse on bass and Adam Wentworth of Bloodhorse on guitars. New addition Brian Izzi of Trap Them handles guitar duties which immediately provides the group with a more energetic and “full” sound.

The album opens with title track ‘Hostage Animal’ which is really just a burst of intransigent showcasing of power. The drums are organic, the vocals are aggressive and the stringed instruments are fundamentally soaked in layers of distortion. ‘A Caustic Vision’ continues the group’s reliance upon hardcore-punk as the basis for the styles they choose to display. Enthusiastic and exuberant crash-cymbal hits mark their territory upon the ears of the listener. ‘Meditation Of Violence’ is the album’s shortest track clocking in at fifty-two seconds and is another punk-fused paroxysm. Now the next two tracks is where things take a very different turn. One could imagine that the group were collectively quite weary regarding their constant attacks of concise HC pieces so they begin to shift away from that genre for a little while. ‘Slave Morality’ is a five-minute dynamic track which places emphasis upon tight mixtures of stoner-fused riffs and intermittent HC sections. ‘End Without End’ is another five-minute track which is perhaps a more exaggerated display of what the group tries to do in their previous track. At this point you do begin to forget how fast and noisy they usually are and one wouldn’t be totally mistaken to believe their attempt was to make us feel temporarily secure; however if that wasn’t their case then perhaps it may have been better advised to place the two sonically similar five-minute tracks further away from each other in the track listing of the LP, – but nonetheless they’re both very engaging pieces and they do keep the listener absorbed. ‘Blood Wet Teeth’ is a much more driving song and it’s probably one of my personal favourites. ‘Moral Purge’ is yet another sharp incision of angst which is almost akin to receiving an electric shock. And of course, the track that I was personally most impressed by was ‘Cruelty Incarnate’In my opinion this is where the group balance their craft correctly, – it begins with a really slow, doom-laden theme before bursting into three extra minutes of drama and intensity. Definitely the highlight of the album for me. ‘The Whip’ is a very representative track of the record thus far and the six-minute closing track ‘Heathen Reign’ sets the mood nicely as the proverbial slab of ice begins to melt and disintegrate. 

Lineup:

Kevin Baker – vocals
Brian Izzi – guitar
Ben Koller – drums
Adam Wentworth – guitar
Matt Woods – bass
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