Pig Destroyer – The Octagonal Stairway (2020)

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If you find yourself with a spare 25 minutes, and you like your music brutal and noisy, then look no further than the latest outing from Virginian extreme metal band, Pig Destroyer.

The newest release is the follow up to 2018’s full length, Head Cage, and somewhat of an experimental stop gap EP, on their journey towards the next full length.  Comprising three previously unavailable tracks, and three noise inspired tracks, The Octagonal Stairway is a jarring listen, very heavy, but often uncomfortable.

Split in to two distinct, and very seperate parts, the EP’s first section, made up of more traditional sounding Pig Destroyer material, begins with the title track (previously found as part of the Adult Swim singles series).  It’s an uncompromising four minutes of heavy grind, with a metallic edge.  Based on stories of one of the oldest buildings in D.C, the track lives up to the murder and mayhem that inspired it.

The Cavalry (previously released through Decibel magazine) is another traditional Pig Destroyer song, one that features an unmistakable Napalm Death influence.  This is a straight ahead grind-fest, and one that will surely have you banging your head in a big way.

Another of the Adult Swim series is up next – Cameraman.  It’s another heavy number, one that explores themes of loneliness and depression.  Musically, it’s manic as fuck, as it should be.  It closes out the first section of the EP perfectly.

News Channel 6 is an interlude, and doesn’t really do much in the overall scheme of things, although it does serve to give us a taste of where the EP goes next.

Head Cage is the first actual track on this experimental portion of the EP.  It’s the title of their last album, but it’s a completely new song.  This is like something that could play over the credits to a dystopian apocalyptic film.  There’s an uneasy feeling throughout, as the digitally enhanced sounds of rain, and spoken word portions pulse at the listener.  It’s strange and very different for this band.

Lastly, we have an eleven minute head fuck, in Sound Walker.  This is an eerie track, with weird echo effects on the vocals, a pulsating drum machine track (courtesy of Iggor Cavalera) and a plethora of other effects an noises put to use.  This experimental noise based music is not necessarily my thing, but I think that Pig Destroyer have pulled it off expertly.

Very interesting stuff.

6/10

Shayne McGowan.

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