Never let anyone try to convince you that nothing new can come of hardcore. As one example, earlier this year Toronto’s Fucked Up released David Comes to Life, one of the genre’s most sprawling concept albums, setting them apart from old school torchbearers by focusing on a highly ambitious storyline and a strong adherence to melody. On hardcore’s other extreme, however, lie All Pigs Must Die, a dense and crusty Massachusetts super team of destruction intent on creating the most punishing and, at times, epic sounds to explode out of a hardcore template. This is what happens when an already vicious sound is made even more brutal.
On Southern Lord debut God Is War, All Pigs Must Die don’t let subtlety get in the way of a good session of destruction. Their name alone is evidence enough of their exclamation-addled ferocity, though the song titles certainly don’t hurt the cause (“Death Dealer,” “Pulverization,” “Extinction is Ours”). Indeed, God Is War bears no pop flourishes a la Torche, progressive excursions by way of Opeth, nor Agalloch-style folk diversions. This is intensity cranked until the knob is broken off, and it’s fucking awesome.
At their filth-encrusted core, All Pigs Must Die play d-beat hardcore as fast and gnarly as possible, but through that thick layer of distortion and vitriol, the band injects a wide array of stylistic touches that set them apart from some of the genre’s more straightforward acts. A burst of black metal blast beats erupt in opener “Death Dealer,” while “Sacrosanct” approximates Mötörhead with a serious chip on their shoulder, and the title track is simply the nastiest doom metal dirge one is likely to hear. But among the onslaught of punk metal assault throughout God Is War, there are plenty of moments of genuine fun, particularly on the death ‘n’ roll rager “Third World Genocide” and the relatively brief fist-pumper “Extinction is Ours.” As beastly as the band can be, it doesn’t take long to be won over by their knack for hooks and boundless energy.
All Pigs Must Die do very little nuance or sonic juxtaposition, but with an approach as gruesomely satisfying as theirs, they really don’t need to. In a little over 30 minutes, God Is War offers a take on hardcore that’s interesting, not just for its blend of a variety of equally extreme metal sounds, but also for the quality of its songs. Listeners will check out this album first for its menacing intensity, but they’ll come back for the songs.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.