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Pig Destroyer

There's a truly sickening moment halfway through the opening track, "Pretty in Casts," off Pig Destroyer's Terrifyer, when you suddenly hear what sounds like a beer bottle shattering. For the next few songs ("Boy Constrictor," "Scarlet Hourglass," "Gravedancer"), this improvised weapon is then slowly, gradually pressed against your face. But the actual carving doesn't start until "Sourheart," a flesh-rending, acid-bathed guitar attack that leaves nothing but clean white bone in its wake.

As if "extreme music" couldn't get any more incinerating, along comes West Virginia-based avant-grindcore trio Pig Destroyer, with an album that any number of U.N. weapons inspectors would no doubt be powerless to comprehend, much less detect. Terrifyer is Relapse Records' first real masterpiece this year; Pig Destroyer is astonishingly lethal because each member (banshee J.R. Hayes, guitarist Scott Hull and drummer Brian Harvey) is infinitely virtuosic in his abilities.

In addition to 21 tracks of death by sound, Terrifyer includes a 37-minute audio DVD with an ambient / noise / spoken-word collage called "Natasha" that I would definitely not recommend playing at high volume when you're sitting alone in your house. Also, there's an untitled horror yarn (again, starring Natasha) in the liner notes, presumably written by Hayes, that's no less unsettling. Sound experiments and short fiction? Indeed, it seems Pig Destroyer adheres to William S. Burroughs' maxim: "Nothing is true; everything is permitted."

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