Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Get into: All Pigs Must Die

I was going to do my first post on some black metal but Noktorn beat me to it, so instead I'm going to geek out at you about one of my new favorite bands. I could start this review like every other thing I've read on the internet--by telling you they're a "supergroup" and then listing all their names and instruments. But fuck that, look it up yourself.

I have to confess, the first thing that struck me about All Pigs Must Die was the image... A hardcore band named after a Death In June song? Album art of a ferocious wolf, Algiz on its forehead, chowing down on the cheap trinkets of Abrahamic religion? This sounded great to me. But then I wondered whether this was just a superficial reference, an attempt to cash in on the recent wave of neofolk namedropping. "Well," I thought, "I'll have to actually listen to this band in order to form an opinion!"

Fortunately, the music owns. The following is based on their self-titled EP and a bruising live show at Union Pool in Brooklyn (4/2/11).

APMD get tagged as metallic d-beat, but I think the label kinda misses the mark, and obscures what is so amazing about these guys (and about Discharge). As the sound of Discharge ossified into its own subgenre, it lost one of the things that made it so great--brute force. There was a real sense of bodily violence in the music, a compression. It came not just from sick riffs, but from the way one riff always set you up to be absolutely crushed by the other. The choruses usually worked like breakdowns, even when the d-beat continued underneath. Successive bands, especially those in the vein of Swedish and Japanese hardcore, kind of lost this--the d-beat became constant throughout every track, and the riffing became an unbroken chain of syncopated chords. The music came to depend entirely on the coolness of the individual riffs.

APMD really understand how Discharge worked, so rather than attempting to imitate the superficial markers of the Discharge style, they set out to do the same thing. They do, indeed, wield the power of the d-beat, but they actually amplify it by setting it off against absolutely neck-snapping breakdowns, fluid thrash riffing, and implacable walls of blastbeating. APMD truly dance, constantly shifting riffs in a way that augments the continuous flow of force.

The effect? Their songs surge forward like a crush of bodies in close combat, pushing to and fro but never ceasing the relentless advance, never ceasing the constant life-wrecking grind of sword on shield on spear on flesh. This is some of the most physical music I have ever heard. In sound and spirit, this has as much in common with Spearhead as with Ringworm. You really want brutal? Fuck your "bestial black metal," fuck your trendy Entombed clone bands, fuck your entire collection of vegan anarcho-grind. Listen to APMD, and GET IN THE PIT.

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