Pig Destroyer - The Octagonal Stairway review

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Band: Pig Destroyer
Album: The Octagonal Stairway
Release date: August 2020

01. The Octagonal Stairway
02. The Cavalry
03. Cameraman
04. News Channel 6
05. Head Cage
06. Sound Walker

Pig Destroyer is a household name in the grind scene, and with that comes certain expectations: namely, to brace for something completely unexpected. And probably not even grind.

Renowned for their penchant for experimentation, The Octagonal Stairway is a logical followup to the Mass & Volume EP, itself a branching out of sorts into the realm of sludge and drone doom: an understandable undertaking given the time of recording placing it around the release of the polarizing Natasha EP. And while it fails to live up to those heights and levels of momentary brilliance, there is still a small place for this mini-album in the band's discography, though it is littered with glaring flaws from the outset.

Prior to even listening to this, a problem immediately presents itself with the track listing. "Octagonal Stairway", "The Cavalry", and "The Cameraman" have all been previously published as singles, and "Head Cage" is a title already used on their 2018 full-length, a far more conventionally structured pseudo-grind album with heavy emphasis on the -core aspect. Sure, it's sensible to compile these tracks into one readily available format for the sake of convenience, rather than impossibly rare-to-find b-side fillers floating around in the digital cosmos, but it also doesn't exactly instill hope in a reviewer to expect something innovative or inspired with 11 of the 25 minutes' worth of material preceding this release. At the very least, they're quintessential Pig Destroyer tracks: somehow simultaneously cacophonous, groovy, grimy, and filled with energy.

Speaking of 11 minutes, the album's closing track, featuring Igor Cavalera and his Petbrick noise influences, drones out its industrial ambiance, pulsing electronic drum repetition, and what sounds like backmasking vocal effects. It establishes an eerie atmosphere and misanthropic vibe to end things on, but it's difficult to attach much value to the guest feature as Blake Harrison is easily capable of handling these tasks independently, as he does with "News Channel 6" and "Head Cage" (about 3 minutes combined of similar, but less evocative noise). Cavalera's utility as both a drummer and DJ extend well beyond the simplicity on display here, but at least they created something purposeful that adds value to what is essentially a scattered collector's item really only meant for fans of the band.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 10


Written on 13.09.2020 by I'm total pro; that's what I'm here for.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 56 users
14.09.2020 - 14:46
That last track is fantastic.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?

2021 goodies
15.09.2020 - 17:44
Troy Killjoy
Written by RaduP on 14.09.2020 at 14:46

That last track is fantastic.

I'd be down for a full album in that vein tbh. Maybe some dark synth work to really hammer down on the Carpenter-esque dystopian atmosphere.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
21.09.2020 - 10:54

This band is completely overrated. I don't see how can community masturbate on their lyrics when their music gives a headache. I listened through this album couple of times now and can say that even though I feel exhausted this release has some vibes in it, and I would recommend it the to the genre lovers, but unfortunately my mom is a vegan and she won't ever let listen to a band with that name.

I have to go now, or she finds out.

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