Prowler in the Yard Album Review
Pig Destroyer is an extreme metal band out of Alexandria, Virginia. They formed in 1997 and since then have been categorized as grindcore, a sub-genre first christened and practiced by such bands as Napalm Death and Repulsion. Their sound consists of intense drumming featuring blast beats and no shortage of cymbals, screamed vocals that are almost indecipherable, and riveting, high speed, aggression filled guitar riffs. This sound is accentuated by the rather brief length of most songs.
From the unsettling spoken word opening track “Jennifer”, to the no less traumatizing outro “Piss Angel”, Pig Destroyer’s album “Prowler in the Yard” unrelentingly spews crazed violence and terror across this raging 36-minute portrait of a broken man descending to the depths of depravity.
Released on July 24, 2001, through Relapse Records, Prowler in the Yard sits atop three pillars chiseled to near perfection: riffs, lyricism, and concise song writing. Pig Destroyer, the grindcore outfit that they are, exude such brevity in their song writing that all but three out of the 22 tracks on this album last under two minutes each. This brevity instills a sense of purpose in every song. It allows no time or energy to be wasted, with such small margins to fill with insanity. In addition, it keeps the album fresh throughout and easier to listen to in one sitting by unleashing a new riff for you to gnaw on every 120 seconds or less.
These riffs batter and bludgeon in the grooviest ways possible as they snake through their blasting repetitions below the violent screaming that constitutes as vocals. This album is centered on powerful riffs. They make you move, they channel feelings of violence and raw emotion through you. Though not in a negative way, rather in an empowering way. It is an escape from reality into the nightmarish world of vocalist and lyricist J. R. Hayes’ innermost desires and wounds.
Channeling his personal torture from, and obsession with, a lost relationship, J. R. Hayes sews his suffering with his twisted poetry into every track. Listening to his feral screams is one thing, but reading the lyrics while listening to each song breeds an atmosphere of such anguish and torment that you cannot help but feel a disturbing sense of dread. Such lines as:
“Your sky lips and snow skin are sugar for the carrion perched high atop the naked trees” from the track “Naked Trees”, “The maggots play their dead instruments for me, Devour in the key of E” from the track “Body Scout”, and "Ancient statues deformed in desert winds, Dead children play in Mapplethorpe grey” from the track “Mapplethorpe Grey” evoke and portray J. R. Hayes’ own increasingly morbid mentality, giving this album an atmosphere as palpable as the lightning fast riffs constantly needling your ears.
By the end of this showcase of mental instability, you want nothing more than to dive right back into the frothing pool of noise and pain, and to be baptized once again by another’s misery.