Honestly, when I saw that Alexandria, Virginia grind/thrash/death metal legends Pig Destroyer were dropping their first live album, I was somewhat surprised. Surprised in the sense that it had taken the band and Relapse Records THIS LONG to release a live album, considering what a vital, groundbreaking catalog they’ve amassed since the release of their debut Explosions In Ward 6 way back in 1998, to say nothing of their viscous, incendiary live shows.
Pornographers Of Sound was recorded across two October 2019 shows at St Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY. The record covers songs across Pig Destroyer’s vast discography. Live albums can be a dubious propositions, hit or miss, for me, but Pornographers Of Sound Live At St Vitus deftly captures the bands legendary intensity. Vocalist J.R. Hayes bark, and anguished wails sounds as if he’s a few feet in front of you, shouting in your face, and as always, guitarist/founder Scott Hull’s grind/thrash riffs are as lethal and precise sounding live as they are on any of Pig Destroyer’s records.
The set list covers the entirety of Pig Destroyer’s discography, giving fans the ‘hits’ and the deep cuts. 2001’s Prowler In The Yard is represented well, with the spoken intro Jennifer instantly giving way to face-crusher Cheerleader Corpses. Drummer Adam Jarvis intent to knock a hole in the audience’s chest via his blast beats.
Terrifyer, arguably Pig Destroyer’s most well-known LP, and in my opinion an essential record for early 00s extreme metal, is also represented well. Scarlett Hourglass feels particularly brutal, as Hull’s nasty, exit-wound riffage is felt through the speakers. The Gentleman is also extremely effective, that middle riff being a particular favorite of mine.
This live album captures what Pig Destroyer are all about in devasting fashion…
Pig Destroyer’s more recent output is also represented well. Concrete Beast ‘s doom-ish riffage sounds awesome live and the glass breaking signaling the arrival of Loathsome, and a few songs later Rotten Yellow both off 2007s essential Phantom Limb are vicious sounding, but when Jarvis’ drum roll signals the onslaught of Hull’s grind/thrash riff of The Machete Twins all bets are off. This just kills.
Sis and The American’s Head, both off 2012s Book Burner, serve as the 1-2-punch openers one would want from a Pig Destroyer live album. Blake Harrison’s electronics and soundscapes sound clear and serve the music as well in a live setting as they do on the original recordings.
Pig Destroyer occupy a singular space in extreme metal. There’s really no one else like them, and any similar bands that may be close in intensity, or sound are influenced by them, whether they realize it or not. Scott Hull’s guitar playing, songwriting, and riffage , coupled with J.R. Hayes lyrics, make them stand out in any crowd involving grindcore or death metal. They’re also one of Relapse Records flag-bearers, and one of the true figure-head bands of the late 90s/early 00s extreme metal scene.
This live album captures what Pig Destroyer are all about in devasting fashion, really putting the listener in the front row, and capturing a ‘live’ feel that so many other live albums lack. Quality release, from an essential act, on one of the best extreme/underground labels of the last 25 years.
Scribed by: Martin Williams