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Album Review: All Pigs Must Die – Hostage Animal

It seems like most of the records I’ve been writing about lately have had a least a slightly progressive bent about them. You know, the kind of music that has me reaching for the trusty ol’ thesaurus to find synonyms for words like “complex,” “nuanced,” and “challenging.” Don’t get me wrong – I love that type of music, but at times it can be as exhausting to write about as it is to listen to.

Thus, thank all that is pissed off and unholy that bands like All Pigs Must Die are out there as well, because none of those descriptors apply to them. The Massachusetts-based hardcore ‘supergroup,’—which features Converge’s Ben Koller on drums, newcomer Brian Izzi from Trap Them and early The Red Chord bassist Adam Wentworth on guitars, The Hope Conspiracy frontman Kevin Baker on vocals, and Bloodhorse’s Matt Woods holding down the bass—are primarily focused on one thing on their third full-length (and first in four years) Hostage Animal. Doing the maximum amount of damage in the shortest timeframe possible.

Actually, in some ways listening to APMD reminds me of reminds me of the mean cheerleader girls from middle school who would kick me in the shins whenever the teacher wasn’t looking. Yeah, it fucking hurt. But at the same time, I secretly liked it because at least these cute cheerleaders were paying attention to my weirdo little burgeoning metalhead self. Listening to the 35-minute sonic beating that is Hostage Animal feels much the same way. The album wants to seriously hurt me, along with anyone else caught within its blast radius, but I still really like the attention.

Once again produced by Kurt Ballou at God City, opening track “Hostage Animal” comes bursting from the speakers like some kind of feral five-headed creature, and the grinding, d-beat influenced intensity rarely lets up from there. It seems less productive to talk about the songs on the record in terms of their riffs than it does to chart them in terms of the number of teeth they’ll shatter. The jackhammering “A Caustic Vision” will claim at least a couple or rear molars, while the appropriately titled “Blood Red Teeth” will grind the rest down to nubs like you were on amphetamines. “Cruelty Incarnate” will lull you into a false sense of security before it claims both your eyeteeth, and then “The Whip” comes right up behind to knock out the rest of your fronts. By the time “Heathen Reign” reaches its conclusion, your tongue will be lacerated beyond recognition and your chin and most of your t-shirt will be a mess of blood and saliva, but the final note of the album will have barely finished ringing out before you’ll reach up and hit play again.

If I have one criticism about the record, it’s the same one I have with almost every record of this style: after a few tracks it begins to sound a bit one-dimensional. I do think, however, that’s likely one of the inherent shortcomings of this strain of hardcore in general than any it is due to APMD’s skills as songwriters. So if you like your music unrelentingly aggressive and screaming directly into your face with rage, then Hostage Animal is definitely right up your alley. Just don’t blame me if your dental insurance refuses to cover all the damage.

Hostage Animal will be available on October 27 via Southern Lord Records .

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