Mass & Volume
Relapse Records/Rocket Distribution
Reviewed By Simon Crawley
The devastating result of extra time spent in the recording studio
If you hadn’t already heard the news amidst the build-up, then the mere mention here of any association between grindcore monsters Pig Destroyer and doom metal will undoubtedly come as quite the surprise. This latest release from the Virginians is an EP consisting of just over 25 minutes of music that was laid down during the few extra hours the band had at its disposal on the last day of recording the Phantom Limb sessions in 2007. This is Pig Destroyer like you’ve never heard them before. Mass & Volume is an arrestingly heavy dose of doom metal; ensuing a smothering sensation of having your head stuck inside a cement mixer.
The title track is the first of just two songs that make up Mass & Volume and at just over 19 minutes in length, this is where J.R. Hayes (vocals), Scott Hull (guitars), Adam Jarvis (drums), Blake Harrison (electronics), and John Jarvis (bass) lay down the challenge. Step through the curtain into a spooky realm of thickly layered psychedelics. With gigantic, tuned-down guitars and eerie feedback, “Mass & Volume” lurches up to a crashing of noise and haunting sounds before falling silent and making way for “Red Tar”. Hull provides the purpose, Hayes the atmospherics but it is Adam Jarvis who steals the show. This phasing over into an entire new sound for the band is given immediate depth and authority through this masterful display of musicianship from Jarvis.
Pig Destroyer’s last full-length studio album, Book Burner (2012), was a massive release and certainly went a long way in fortifying the band’s status even further within today’s extreme music scene. In this sense, the subsequent release of Mass & Volume couldn’t come at a better time as it embodies the somewhat in-between era prior to the Natasha EP (2008) and the departure of former drummer Brian Harvey. Book Burner was the big statement Pig Destroyer needed to make to ensure people were paying attention in order to fully appreciate this latent product of all their insight and creativity.
Mass & Volume just goes to show how versatile these guys can be and that if they’re not ripping your face off with blistering grindcore, they’re mixing it up, keeping all of us guessing and consistently gobsmacked.