PICK OF THE WEEK: APMD smother and unleash devastation with earth-blasting ‘Hostage Animal’

It’s the end of the week, so why not cap things off with a venomous burst of audio violence? I know we’re supposed to be getting to relax for the weekend and think of some fun Halloween shit to do, but you can’t shake the frustrations of the week that easily, right? Right.

So, it’s an ideal time for All Pigs Must Die to walk back into our lives after four years away. Their massive third record “Hostage Animal” is another feral blast of metal, hardcore, noise, and death, 10 tracks that’ll knock out your teeth and pour salt all over those gaping wounds. Recorded at Kurt Ballou’s GodCity Studios (naturally), this band of veterans has plied their trades in tons of bands you know and love and unleash savagery and chaos over this 35-minite album. The combination of vocalist Kevin Baker (The Hope Conspiracy), guitarists Brian Izzi (Trap Them) and Adam Wentworth (Bloodhorse, ex-The Red Chord), bassist Matt Woods (also of Bloodhorse), and drummer Ben Koller (Converge, Mutoid Man) just unloads on this record, an album that sets fire to the path they carved with “God Is War” and “Nothing Violates This Nature” and leaves shrapnel and blood behind. It’s a total demolition job, a record that’s perfect for helping alleviate the pressure building up in your brain.

The punishment begins with the title track, as the cut rips open, and Baker howls about “crawling in the cages of misery.” The band hits a thrashy burst, as the riffs ensnare, the drums blast, and everything comes to a dramatic finish. “A Caustic Vision” is packed with raspy shouts and relentless speed, as the band chops away and brings wind milling guitars. A final gallop from the band takes us into the collection’s shortest cut “Meditation of Violence,” a 52-second scorcher. Gnarly violence unfolds, as Baker shouts, “Total chaos unfolds!” a line that might as well be the song’s summary. “Slave Morality” has an eerie, ghostly start, and the song builds from there as the guitars heat up, and we’re full bore into the thing about two minutes into the track. The growls gut punch while the riffs sprawl, and a monstrous, metallic pace is the tidal wave that drags everything under. “End Without End” has drums rustling and throat-mangling growls, as the pace tempers, and the feedback spreads. Voices echo before the song turns a chilling clean, and mechanical guitars take over from there and push into a stunning haze of noise.

“Blood Wet Teeth” is a quick charger, demolishing everything in its way and setting the room on fire. Baker wails about a force that “devours all flesh” while the band hits a death-thrash groove and leaves bodies convulsing. “Moral Purge” is another quick one, lasting just 1:38 but packing enough insanity, explosive playing, and threatening madness to last you a few hours. “Cruelty Incarnate” simmers in doom at the start before wild shrieks pierce the curtain, and the tempo burns faces. “Let them burn!” Baker insists, while savagery and melody wage war over the final minute. “The Whip” is unhinged, tearing open and speeding toward the gates with reckless abandon. Baker shouts about “the lambs to the slaughter,” a common saying but one even more apropos considering what’s in the news and on social media every day. The back end of the track begins to liquify, flowing into its noise-marred end. “Heathen Reign” closes the album, and its 6:36 run time makes it the longest song here. A black metal boil generates heat, while the track begins to stomp bones. Baker screams of a “killing machine ready to die” as the guitars gain atmosphere before going ugly again. The band turns up the heat one last time, unleashing pain and charred emotions, as the song bleeds its way into the sewers.

A thunder-storming wave of power is perfect for getting us ready for a weekend after a tumultuous week, and All Pigs Must Die have the sickening fury to accomplish just that. “Hostage Animal” is another destructive building block in their jackhammering fortress, and a few years away only galvanized their chaotic hearts. This band continues to smash bones and smear blood, and their fires don’t appear anywhere near being extinguished.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/apmdband/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.southernlord.com/store

For more on the label, go here: https://www.southernlord.com/

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