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All Pigs Must Die are here for harm.


Album Review: ALL PIGS MUST DIE Hostage Animal

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It takes exactly zero seconds for All Pigs Must Die to fully and mercilessly begin their hellish onslaught. Just reading the title says almost all that needs to be say about the ruthless vitriol contained within: Hostage Animal. The simple use of the word “hostage” should be enough to boil some blood, but the idea of an animal cruelly kept captive by any means can make one wanna get the crowbar and crack a skull or two. And as the title track lurches onto the speakers, it’s once again clear that All Pigs Must Die are here for harm.

It’s been four-years since Nothing Violates This Nature gave listeners a proper thrashing. And since then we’ve lost Trap Them and the band has gained riff extraordinaire Brian Izzi, rounding out to a five-piece. There’s been a shift in tone too. All Pigs Must Die have always maintained being pissed off, but Hostage Animal is more than just fury. It’s an album that’s sharpened its teeth and sees the world with an even more bleak outlook than before.

If you stop and listen to Hostage Animal and Nothing Violates This Nature back to back, you’ll notice how much heavier this latest release immediately sounds. Kevin Baker’s (The Hope Conspiracy) vocals somehow manage to sound even more pissed off than before. Maybe there’s a weariness to finding there’s no end to the shittiness of humanity. However, Baker’s vocals aren’t all that sound more honed this time around. As a whole, All Pigs Must Die has gotten blues-ier.

The first three tracks are what we’ve come to expect from the band: tightly wound crusty d-beat/hardcore with a metallic tinge. “Mediation of Violence” is a particularity vicious track that revels in chaos for less than a minute before cutting out. But it’s early on that the band lets loose with some blues. “Slave Morality” gets on with a dark, resonating melody and builds slowly to a weeping guitar solo that sets the tone for the next five-minutes. The track never much picks up but does get back into a d-beating swing.

Following, “End Without End” keeps things on the downswing, almost like a reminder that the ugliness never ends. The piece is again slow moving, but just as pissed as the rest of the record. Sure, Ben Koller’s (Converge, amongst many others), drums get a little frantic as things go on, but it never approaches mosh-level. Hell, the track breaks into a soft, clean guitar section a little over half-way through before letting those blues come through once more. It’s kinda like when you listen to Converge’s Jane Doe and hit “Distance and Meaning” followed by “Hell to Pay.” So, in case it’s not clear, Hostage Animal isn’t a banger through and through. And that’s okay, because there’s still plenty of teeth in these tracks.*

“Blood Wet Teeth” brings back the violent, seething rage in raw format as does “Moral Purge.” It’s the savage, unhinged animal that the band has been channeling on previous releases. The four-minutes between the two tracks are of pure feral anger that get downright primitive. And for the most part, that’s the mood on this record. “Cruelty Incarnate” does much the same but mixes some of those slower melodic parts in.

By the time “Heathen Reign” wraps things up it’s clear that All Pigs Must Die are still one of the most pissed off bands on the planet. Not to mention, “Heathen Reign” brings back memories of the attitude God Is War carried. I can’t recommend Hostage Animal enough but at the same time I can’t help but wonder about audience reception. It’s not an easy album but it is a refreshing, if not sobering, installment in the discography. I guess we could call it mature, in the same way you could say a caged, raged-fueled animal has “settled down” for a moment. But you know that just because it lays there for a few seconds doesn't mean it has settled down.

Score: 8/10

*Yes, I know APMD have done slower songs in the past like “Of Suffering.” They just haven’t been like these.

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