I wish I could start this review off by saying that OSDM mavericks Pig’s Blood are out for blood on A Flock Slaughtered, but redundancy and stuff. However, I stand by that judgment because the bite on A Flock Slaughtered clamps its jaws down so quickly it evokes concern that sudden brain trauma may be involved. If you’re looking for an album that gently nudges you down the corridor of depravity and violence, you’ve come to the wrong place. A Flock Slaughtered shoves you into the meat grinder and wishes you the best of luck.
“Gates Ripped Open (Scum Choking Out The Meek)” uses a nice bait and switch tactic as the first 30 seconds lead you to believe that you’re in for Motorhead style speed-death, but this soon degrades into an unrelenting pure death metal assault. In all fairness, A Flock Slaughtered is an album where a new listener needs a few songs to figure out where the album stands on your spectrum between “this is gonna be cool” and “I’ve heard this a million times” but the adjustment doesn’t get boring.
Pig’s Blood seem highly intent on cherry-picking death metal’s best elements, but the decision to not adhere to any specific characteristics gives the album plenty of variety. Also, there’s nary a moment in the album where you’re left thinking that Pig’s Blood sound like other bands. Vocalist Chris Ellis’ range eviscerates any notion that there’s a final frontier in death metal gutturals. The guttural vocals on “Unnamable Death (Unspeakable One Honored) sound standard at first, Ellis’ (AKA Horrible Person) approach becomes almost inhuman by the time of “Anti-Cosmic Dischord (Meaningless Self-Sacrifice)”. Speaking of that song, it has the sickest guitar solo that I’ve heard in ages, ditto for “A Flock Slaughtered (Unfettered Maniacs)”, and “Possessed By Nightfall (Violently Freeing Oneself From the Bonds of Life)”.
Pig’s Blood are kind enough to give us a brief reprieve on “Bloodshed Hell (Interlude)”, but you’re a fool if you think they’re going to go easy on side B. The opposite occurs and I’ll admit that I tend to be quite liberal with my hyperbole, but “Aberration (Submit Or Perish)” and “Enforced Agony (The Noose Tightened)” are going to hack you into mincemeat in ways you thought were no longer possible. If I haven’t already convinced you that A Flock Slaughtered kicks all kinds of ass, I will conclude this review by stating that A Flock Slaughtered is as transcendent as it is brutal.