Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Published 21 November, 2017
You know how there are many artists out there, across the many splintered genres of metal, that like to ease you into an album? It might with some acoustic guitars, the fading in of drums, or some kind of atmospheric intro of sorts. Whatever it might be, there are plenty of examples out there. However, All Pigs Must Die are not one of those bands. The band’s third long player, Hostage Animal, mercilessly launches into the title track with a barrage of thundering drums, and crust laden, down tuned guitars. It leaves no room for doubt or question as to what you can expect from the Massachusetts (U.S.A.) purveyors of metallic hardcore.
It’s been four years since their last outing and little has changed. That’s totally fine too, by the way. The title track is pure, unbridled rage delivering every brutalising aspect of modern day metallic hardcore. Thick riffs backed by thumping drums are the name of the game here thanks to the band’s mixed heritage from the likes of Converge (Ben Koller), Bloodhorse (Adam Wentworth and Matt Woods) and most recently Trap Them (Brian Izzi). What does push the aggression meter well into the dangerzone is the over the top vocal performance from The Hope Conspiracy’s Kevin Baker. With the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, there’s little doubt that All Pigs Must Die have put together one very ugly, dense album.
The band’s strengths really shine when the pedal is flat to the floor. The first three songs are just all-or-nothing on the intensity meter. There is no in between and with the band in full flight, they are unstoppable. There’s more of this throughout the album, but overall, the album does contain a bit of variety as All Pigs Must Die opt to change things up with different tempos here and there. Whilst this isn’t new for the group either, at times I think they are at their best when they unleash pure, intense chaos.
“Slave Morality” is a bit of a slow burn and takes a little while to get into its swinging pace whilst the crushing “End Without End”, I think would actually make have more of an impact as the album’s finale. It’s just that 11 minutes of slower material book ended by more break neck paced numbers such as “Blood Wet Teeth” and the more metal than D-beat “Moral Purge”, seems to slow the album’s momentum a bit. Maybe that was the intention of given the listener some breathing room.
The other issue I have with the album is length of it. Ten tracks clocking in at 35 minutes would normally be an absolute banger of an album. But with this kind of intensity, it needs to be knocked down to that 20-25 minute mark. The longer tracks just feel as though they are dragging at times
When I think of bands like Nails, We Are The Damned, Trap Them and All Pigs Must Die, I really look for tracks that keep the album’s momentum going. The songs need to be straight to the point and if that takes 3 minutes or 90 seconds or even half a minute for a song to do so, then so be it. As much as I enjoyed this album, there were a few times were I just wanted it to hurry to get to the next blisteringly fast number. When the group are on fire, there is no doubt that All Pigs Must Die are absolutely crushing. During other times, their good ideas seem to get a little lost along the way buried in slower tempos that over stay their welcome.