Pig Destroyer - Phantom Limb
Relapse Records
14 songs (31'19")
Release year: 2007
Relapse Records
Reviewed by Adam
Major event
This has been one hell of a year in the metal scene. I would venture to say that I have highly anticipated more releases this year than any other. One of these releases is Phantom Limb, the newest release from Virginia grinders Pig Destroyer. Their previous releases are the polar opposite of subtle, complete with psychotic lyrics and truly disturbing cover art to accompany a moniker that tends to make the average person think you are a nutjob if they happen to find one of the band's albums in your CD catalog. Well, that's been my experience anyway. While Phantom Limb is a bit of a departure from their previous release, Terrifyer, in that it sounds a bit more refined, it should still be more than pleasing to grind fans.

As you might have guessed from Pig Destroyer’s previous output, Phantom Limb is an endless sea of riffs, courtesy of producer and guitarist Scott Hull, who seems to have a permanent supply. The unsettling vocals of JR Hayes sound more powerful than ever before, and Brian Harvey’s maniac drumwork is amazing once again.

I see this album in two distinct halves. The first seven songs are pure grind in the vein of their previous releases, with the average track length being just over 1 minute. Highlights of this furious run include JR Hayes’ throat-searing vocal performance on Deathripper, the furious riffing of Thought Crime Spree, and the hammer pounding riffs of the title track. The second half of this album is where the departure comes in. The average track length triples, and the riffing is often injected with a fair amount of groove, in turn forcing the pace into very slow territory by Pig Destroyer standards. The first example of this is the fantastic Loathsome which sounds ridiculously heavy, especially considering the band still choose to play without a bassist. The following track, Heathen Temple, starts off with typical grind speed, before descending into a riff that sounds almost bass-like with its dense pop. JR Hayes also turns in his most rabid vocal delivery on this song, sounding almost as powerfully angry as Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway. These later songs also give the listener a chance to hear entirely different sides of Brian Harvey’s style, such as the odd-time pace he keeps on Alexandria or his wide array of rolls and fills in his finest performance on The Machete Twins.

At just over 30 minutes, Phantom Limb is a “wham bam” affair, just as grind should be. While I didn’t enjoy this album quite as much as Terrifyer, it is anything but disappointing. I like hearing the large amount of sound-tinkering the second half of the album provides. This shows the band’s versatility, both technically and in song writing. Perhaps the best aspect of this is the mystery it fosters. I thought I knew exactly what to expect when I first heard this album, but I was wrong, which will keep me on my toes for future Pig Destroyer releases. I suspect I’m not the only one.
Killing Songs :
Thought Crime Spree, Loathsome, Heathen Temple
Adam quoted 90 /100
Other albums by Pig Destroyer that we have reviewed:
Pig Destroyer - Mass & Volume reviewed by Koeppe and quoted no quote
Pig Destroyer - Book Burner reviewed by Bar and quoted 95 / 100
Pig Destroyer - Prowler In The Yard reviewed by Goat and quoted 93 / 100
Pig Destroyer - Terrifyer reviewed by Aaron and quoted 95 / 100
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