As pioneers, and some say masters, of the current grindcore scene, you would expect the new EP “Mass & Volume” by Virginia grindcore behemoths Pig Destroyer to contain a menagerie of filthy, vicious and downright aggressive blasts of frantic grind. To the band’s credit, this EP is not that, in fact it is a 25 minute odyssey through the world of all things drone, sludge and crushingly heavy doom.
To say this is a departure from the band’s standard sound is to say that Punch Drunk Love is a tad bit different to Little Nicky, it’s as close to a 180 degree shift as the band could do. The first track ‘Mass’ clocks in at a near monolithic time of 20 minutes, which by Pig Destroyer standards is a major time shift. It’s not the first time that the band have dabbled in the world of long, doomy and somewhat disturbing tracks though, 2008’s “Natasha” was a drone, doomy and completely horrific experience which ran almost 40 minutes in length. Like “Natasha”, ‘Mass’ focuses on the Sunn O))) inspired drone and submerges the listener in an endless dirge that is the song, which runs like treacle for its over long run time.
The second of the two tracks ‘Volume’ clocks at a more reasonable time of six and a half minutes, which for Pig Destroyer is still longer than most of their EP’s. Whereas ‘Mass’ focuses on the bands exploration into all things drone related, ‘Volume’ brings the EP back down to earth with an avalanche of NOLA influenced sludge. Taking cues from the likes of EyeHateGod and Crowbar, the track is a crushing mass of sludgey brutality. Of the two tracks featured, this track suits the vocal style of J.R Hayes allowing his guttural wails to be exaggerated against the down tuned chasm of bleakness unfolding around them.
Overall, the “Mass & Volume” EP is a good little experiment. It shows the band are not content to stay in their pigeon holed subgenre of grindcore. Although it might not to be to everyone’s taste, it is certainly an audacious attempt to try something new and that should be applauded if nothing else.