Pig Destroyer: Prowler in the Yard (Deluxe Edition)

Pig Detroyer’s brutally aggressive full-length debut gets the reissue treatment.

Pig Destroyer

Prowler in the Yard (Deluxe Edition)

Label: Relapse
US Release Date: 2015-09-04
UK Release Date: 2015-09-04

A quick glance at the cover for Pig Destroyer’s 2001 debut LP Prowler in the Yard gives the listener an idea of what they are about to encounter. There, in a shadow-filled room atop a blood-soaked take surrounded by dismembered body parts, a snarling figure in a filthy wife-beater sits sawing off his appendages. It’s a brutal, unsettling image that manages to put a visual to the visceral grindcore that lies just behind the horrific cover.

Throughout, mercifully brief blasts of sound assault the senses, creating an hallucinatory, wildly disorienting listening experience, one dredged up from the deepest, darkest nightmare. Ostensibly a concept album detailing the final thoughts of the titular prowler as he sits outside his ex-girlfriend’s house, the titles offer little in the way of insight into the impenetrable, growled lyrics spewed forth by vocalist J.R. Hayes. But it doesn’t take an understanding of the lyrics to gather the basic sentiments they ultimately convey.

Technically demanding with whiplash-inducing stops and starts, Prowler in ihe Yard is the pummeling sound of a grindcore group operating at full throttle. And with most songs clocking in under a minute and a half, it’s a blistering series of snarling guitars, blastbeat drums and unhinged screaming that never stick around long enough to be tiresome. “Naked Trees", one of perhaps the most traditionally structured metal tracks here, features Slayer-esque dueling guitars and impossibly tight snare drumming from Brian Harvey.

Part of the problem with this particular style, however, is the stylistic similarity throughout. With the majority of tracks barely breaking the 60-second mark, these are more a series of frantic sprints than recognizable, individualized tracks. Given the group’s propensity for stop-on-a-dime breaks, it tends to be difficult to determine whether they have moved on to another song or if it’s a continuation of the current track. Add to that the blistering, but ultimately similar tempos throughout and you have an album best approached as being of a whole rather than made up of clearly demarcated ideas.

In that, Prowler in the Yard is an unrelentingly brutal aural nightmare from which there seems to be no escape. Clearly the intent, they wildly succeed in creating a claustrophobic horror scenario in miniature. When they finally do stretch out as on “Hyperviolet", their approach is like a taffy pull of their usual sound, slowly stretching out the sense of unease over the course of three-and-a-half minutes rather than less than a third of that.

At nearly five minutes and featuring an extended atonal drone intro that suddenly explodes into the expected grindcore blast, “Starbelly” functions as a requisite jump-scare that then continues largely unabated for the remainder of the track. Slowing slightly, the guitars become the sound of chainsaws with Hayes’ strangled shouts pleading from the center. It’s a swirling vortex, a sonic morass from which there is no escape. Here they reaffirm their status as one of the more brutal bands to come out of the insular grindcore scene.

Calling this reissue “deluxe” is somewhat of a misnomer as it only adds one track (the 51-second “Unreleased Untitled”) and features a remix of the original 36-minute album alongside the original mix on a second disc. But at 23 brutally abrasive tracks, that’s all one can really ask for or need from an unrelentingly visceral band like Pig Destroyer. Prowler in the Yard is a waking nightmare set to some of the most disconcertingly aggressive sounds imaginable. And, strangely, that’s a good thing.


The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.

20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta

Keep reading... Show less

Hitchcock, 'Psycho', and '78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene'

Alfred Hitchock and Janet Leigh on the set of Psycho (courtesy of Dogwoof)

"... [Psycho] broke every taboo you could possibly think of, it reinvented the language of film and revolutionised what you could do with a story on a very precise level. It also fundamentally and profoundly changed the ritual of movie going," says 78/52 director, Alexandre O. Philippe.

The title of Alexandre O. Philippe's 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) denotes the 78 set-ups and the 52 cuts across a full week of shooting for Psycho's (1960) famous shower scene. Known for The People vs. George Lucas (2010), The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus (2012) and Doc of the Dead (2014), Philippe's exploration of a singular moment is a conversational one, featuring interviews with Walter Murch, Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, Danny Elfman, Eli Roth, Elijah Wood, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Neil Marshall, Richard Stanley and Marli Renfro, body double for Janet Leigh.

Keep reading... Show less

The Force, which details the Oakland Police Department's recent reform efforts, is best viewed as a complimentary work to prior Black Lives Matter documentaries, such 2017's Whose Streets? and The Blood Is at the Doorstep.

Peter Nicks' documentary The Force examines the Oakland Police Department's recent reform efforts to curb its history of excessive police force and systemic civil rights violations, which have warranted federal government oversight of the Department since 2003. Although it has its imperfections, The Force stands out for its uniquely equitable treatment of law enforcement as a complex organism necessitating difficult incremental changes.

Keep reading... Show less

Mary Poppins, Mrs. Gamp, Egyptian deities, a Japanese umbrella spirit, and a supporting cast of hundreds of brollies fill Marion Rankine's lively history.

"What can go up a chimney down but can't go down a chimney up?" Marion Rankine begins her wide-ranging survey of the umbrella and its significance with this riddle. It nicely establishes her theme: just as umbrellas undergo, in the everyday use of them, a transformation, so too looking at this familiar, even forgettable object from multiple perspectives transforms our view of it.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.