Enter the Judas goat whom the flock would follow simply for the conviction of his trained movements. His horns curve up towards salvation but knowingly point to Hell below yet bolt-gunfire, the din of torture and the iron stench of pious blood are still not enough to pose doubt or question among followers. Gleaming eyes cannot even claim to see the light as the bolt pistol fires into their temples, they only drop and sputter while the great deceiver returns to work. This bondage of existence, of the ruler and the puppet and their squirming indolent herds, sickens and sustains the violent inspiration of Milwaukee, Wisconsin based bestial death metal faction Pig’s Blood who return further galvanized in 2019 with their second full-length, ‘A Flock Slaughtered’.
Formed from members of grinders Abaddon, black/death horde Prezir, and blackened crust fiends Protestant the initial 2015 demo from Pig’s Blood appeared to find bestial black/death ‘war’ metal as common ground between the folks involved. As such, the band were received as fairly unique in that their brutal grindcore influenced war metal sound on ‘Pig’s Blood’ (2017) might’ve taken many cues from Archgoat and Revenge in terms of attack and sound but with a dose of punkish death metal wreckage adding extra distinction. With ‘A Flock Slaughtered’ the band move away from repetitive structures by weaving classic death metal influences into their approach, the result is a brutally heavy tank of an album that is never obscured by rawness. The shift is akin to Embrace of Thorns‘ stylistic gearing up between ‘Atonement Ritual’ and ‘Praying for Absolution’ as death metallic focus allowed for more impactful riffcraft.
The sound of this record drew me in immediately and it was no surprise that it was all handled at Earhammer Studios by Greg Wilkinson (who’d also done the previous album) as he’s got a touch for deathgrind intensity and a great understanding of classic death metal tonality. “Anti-Kosmic Discord (Meaningless Self-Sacrifice)” is a great example of how this new fidelity boosts Pig’s Blood exploration of ‘old school’ death metal sounds while still enabling their distinct bestial black/death metal style to come across. It is a raw, savage sound that boosts the bold impression the band make with their ragged and punkish approach to brutality. The whipping darkness of Archgoat, the punched up death of Ascended Dead, and I suppose a more repeatable experience with some heavy classic Florida and New York death metal influences makes ‘A Flock Slaughtered’ an easy recommendation.
It isn’t all that memorable upon first impressions but there are several standout moments and huge riffs once you’re in the grind of it all (a la Pissgrave) and because I appreciate an imposing record that unwillingly reveals its nuances I can highly recommend this second record from Pig’s Blood. For preview “Possessed by Nightfall (Violently Freeing Oneself from the Bonds of Life)” and “Anti-Kosmic Discord (Meaningless Self-Sacrifice)” should hook the old school blackened-death crowd while “Unnamable Death (Unspeakable One Honored)” neatly sums up the attack of the record as a whole.
Stygian sewer beasts. 3.75/5.0
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