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.






A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.


The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.


Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.


Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.


Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.


'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.