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, the Richmond, Virginia grind freaks of Pig Destroyer will cause a ruckus so loud and buck-wild you'll have little doubt these truly are the end times.
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.
New Times recently spoke with Pig Destroyer's Blake Harrison about being one of the grandfathers of grindcore.
New Times: 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 subgenres and sub-subgenres. 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 might 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 was 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 from high school in '93. I grew up in rural Maryland. Thrash metal was pretty big everywhere. Metallica paved the way, and every kid who 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 they 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.