All Pigs Must Die: God is War

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All Pigs Must Die: God is War
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All Pigs Must Die: God is War
Hardcore
Southern Lord Records
August 16th, 2011
Release length: 33:29
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Southern Lord has become a label in the underground that, when you hear their name, you know exactly what you’re getting. All Pigs Must Die, one of the labels latest signings is no exception to this rule. This raw Hardcore group features Kevin Baker of The Hope Conspiracy, Matt Woods of Bloodhorse, and Ben Koller of Converge according to the ever trusty internet, and these bands inspirations are felt hard of the band’s first full-length offering, God is War. Does this group have the tenacity to meet the standard of their newfound label, having left Nonbeliever Records who issued their self-titled debut EP?

Right away, the album clearly has a rawer sound to it, which works wonders for this album. “Death Dealer” kicks things off with a slow, atmospherically depressing sound that showcases the higher pitched guitar work with enough distortion to make it sound great and capture a great Hardcore sound. The bass is not the most prominant in the mix, but it’s there and can be heard well enough to make a decent impact. However, the bass kicks of the drum greatly overshadow is and sound pretty good despite their being more in the background and having a traditional thud to them. The snares sound great and the cymbols ring loudly through the crusty sounding music. The vocals, of course, are your typical screaming style, but they work perfectly with the raw aggression of later songs, as well as when this track picks up into a more modern attitude-driven Hardcore offering with some intense and catchy moments and even some random blastbeats thrown in for good measure. “Death Dealer” is largely composed of a rather long winded introduction, but it’s not really a bad thing and builds nicely to the faster, heasvier moments. However, there’s a good deal of shifting between the faster and slower passages that kind of take you out of the song and make it seem like this song was built as nothing more then an extended introduction that showcases what the band has to offer.

“Pulverization” is really where the album kicks in, and the more abrasive sounding Hardcore simply could not be felt any better. The song is catchy from the start, but riddled with Hardcore attitude from the start. The track just misses the two minute cut off, but it really stands out on the recording, especially when the breakdown hits as you near the end. The heaviness of the guitars and general raw audio quality is captured perfectly for this, ending the song in a manner that feels like you’re being assaulted by the band. This becomes one of the stand out elements for All Pigs Must Die. While other tracks on here are intense and run a gambit of similar Hardcore ideas but bring enough variety to the mix that it keeps the album from having one song sound like another, you can always count on skull crushing breakdowns. “The Blessed Void” concludes with one, much like the previous song mentioned, and it’s just intense, benefitting greatly from that rawer sound and really pulling the song together nicely at the end. There’s also the start of “Third World Genocide”, which has a bit more of a Sludge appeal to it, and not quite another breakdown, but again it feels crushing and sets up the dismal sounding song and it’s destructively heavy attack on the listener perfectly. Of course, there is another breakdown to occur around the half way point, and while one may say too many can be a bad thing, it all depends on the band pulling it off, and this band really does a great job at not only transitioning into it, but makinng you just want to run to the nearest living thing and kill it.

Of course this doesn’t speak for every track on God is War, as there are others that have a more traditional Punk influence to the Hardcore sound, such as the following track “Sacrosanct”. This one really stands out thanks to some of the darker, more haunting atmosphere in the guitars, but you also can’t help but feel the urge to start dancing along to the two-step and Punk attributes that shine through when that atmosphere is not as strongly present. It makes for a good change of variety, and even feels like there’s a stronger vocal performance compared to the previous two tracks, which works well for the anarchy and darkness that the band brings to the mix here. “Extinction is Ours” makes for another hard hitting Punk influenced track, though this time the song doesn’t have much of an atmosphere behind it. Instead you just get an aggressive, energetic Hardcore song with plenty of attitude and variety going between faster and slower passages, a good solo, and nice transitions between everything, making for a nice break from the album’s overall intensity.

God is War ends on a much different note then anything else on the release. While this is a nice closing touch, it doesn’t really end up working for the band. Much of the album, aside “Death Dealer”, really seems to just feel like a non-stop assault on the listener. However, “Sadistic Vindicator” takes a page from “Death Dealer”, except the song goes at a slower Trance pace, almost like an homage to Neurosis. Sadly, it feels really awkward to close with given the rest of the material on the album. The song is also not that impressive either, and after the first three minutes, you’ll start to lose interest in it as it begins to drag on through it’s eight and a half minute length.

Despite a rocky start and rough finish, God is War is a fantastic raw Hardcore offering. If you’re a fan of the underground Hardcore scenes, or even just have enjoyed Southern Lord’s other offerings, then All Pigs Must Die is a band well worth checking out. Between really dismal atmospheric material, to mosh and dance inducing aggression and two-step, all the way to music that will make you want to destroy the nearest living person next to you, the album shows a band with a strong presence and idea of where they are taking their music. The songs are tight, full of energy, and even have some extra elements thrown in like some Sludge and even Trance ideas at the very end that even show the group willing to expand from the more more traditional hostile sound of the style. If you’re looking for a Hardcore release that will make your blood pound, at least for most of the release, then God is War is well worth your time and money.

01. Death Dealer – 3:58
02. Pulverization – 1:57
03. Sacrosanct – 3:22
04. God is War – 5:10
05. The Blessed Void – 3:30
06. Third World genocide – 4:33
07. Extinction is Ours – 2:25
08. Sadistic Vindicator – 8:35
Overall Score: 8.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Southern Lord Records via Earsplit PR.