Pig Destroyer's Blake Harrison on Grindcore: "You Gotta Have a Fire in Your Belly"
Photo by Josh Sisk
After a few months spent dabbling in bottom-heavy sludge and tension-and-release death metal, South Florida extreme music promotion powerhouse Speedfreek is living up to its name like never before.
Six days before the alleged Mayan Apocalypse ends the world as we know it, Richmond, Virginia grind freaks Pig Destroyer will be causing a ruckus so loud and buck-wild at Churchill's Pub that you'll have little doubt that these truly are the end times.
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The crux of this wrecking crew's assault -- as heard on Book Burner, its newest full length for Relapse Records and first album in five years -- is breakneck, eyeball-liquefying, spinal cord-contorting, unholy speed.
We at Crossfade recently spoke with Pig Destroyer's Blake Harrison about being one of the grandfathers of grindcore.
Crossfade: Pig Destroyer is sometimes described as art grind. How do you feel about that term?
Blake Harrison: It is what it is. There are so many genres and sub-genres and sub-sub-genres. If that's what people want to call us, that's fine. I just say we're an extreme metal band. Or a grind band. Or sometimes, even just a fast band. I don't think art grind doesn't fit us. But it's not a term I'd use myself.
But do you agree that Pig Destroyer may be artier than your average grindcore act?
Yeah, I would agree with that. But there are bands that came before us, like Discordance Axis. The Locust were a grind band that used keyboards. There is room in the genre to have other elements involved. I don't know if that answers your question.
Is grind necessarily an angry genre?
I would say so. I wouldn't classify ourselves as necessarily angry people. But you gotta have some kind of fire in your belly. It's not about feelings. Or I guess it is.
It's very much about feelings.
Did you come up in a metal or punk context?
I kinda came up in both. I'm about to turn 37, so I graduated high school in '93. I grew up in rural Maryland. Thrash metal was pretty big everywhere. Metallica paved the way and every kid that plays extreme metal started with Metallica. And then it got a little more intense with Slayer. I wanted more and more.
Bands like Metallica and Sepultura were always flying the banner of punk rock, with Dead Kennedys shirts and Misfits covers. I got into punk rock that way. When I found Napalm Death, which was a complete mixture of metal and punk, that was a lightning bolt that hit me. That was like, "Wow. This is what I want to do."
When was the first time you heard the term grind? When you saw Napalm Death were also already using that tag?
I'm not old or hip enough to have caught Napalm the first time around. The genre had been established, but it wasn't bandied about as much then. But grindcore was a viable genre.
Can grind get heavier, faster, and/or more extreme?
Every new generation wants to out-extreme the previous one. That's great in my eyes. When you first heard Slayer, nobody thought you could go heavier or faster, but it's way beyond that now. And Slayer is still pretty fucking heavy.
Pig Destroyer. Presented by Speedfreek. With Maruta, God Harvest, Priapus, and others. Saturday, December 15. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.
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