Published Jul 23, 2013Loud music fans have barely recovered from All Pigs Must Die's 2011 debut album, but here we are, just two short years later and Boston's self-heralded "unification of hateful musicians" are back with their follow-up album, Nothing Violates This Nature on Southern Lord Records.
And while this wouldn't be unusual for a full-time band with no other projects going on, the fact that drummer Ben Koller (best known for his work in Converge), vocalist Kevin Baker (the Hope Conspiracy) and bassist and guitarist Adam Wentworth and Matt Woods (both of Bloodhorse) are able to make All Pigs Must Die records at all is a testament to four dudes who were on exactly the same page musically. It was a no-pressure situation when they first formed, Koller recently told Exclaim!
"We've all known each other for a pretty long time, from other bands we've been in, and Kevin was always mentioning starting an angry band just called Pigs, and I was way into that but we never got it together," says Koller. "Then a few years ago we were just hanging out at the Deathwish Inc. Christmas party and we all just stood together in a circle and decided to start a really angry, mean, hateful, aggressive, crazy band."
The band's beginnings might have been nonchalant, but the way Nothing Violates This Nature sounds definitely is not: a rage-filled concoction of d-beat hardcore, rocked-out death metal, black metal and even some hardcore breakdowns and mosh parts ("We always like to have a little bit of ignorant hardcore in there," jokes Koller). The album is either full-throttle madness or slow-burn brutality throughout most of its 10 tracks, not a far cry from their first album, or their debut EP before that.
"You can still tell it's the same band, but maybe it's gotten a little more, I don't want to say conceptual… our songwriting has evolved in a positive way. Our first EP was like, 'Here's the fast part, here's the mosh part,' and this new album's songwriting is broader in scope. And we've gotten more into the black metal realm on this one. Also, the slow stuff is a little slower and the fast stuff is a little faster, so we tried to make both ends of the spectrum more extreme."
Extreme is also a good way to describe All Pigs Must Die's, shall we say, lyrical manifesto. A refection of a hate-fuelled and conflict-obsessed society, the band has never shied away from the news of the day when writing their pummelling anger anthems.
"The overall theme of our records has always been about humanity being gross, and there just being a lot of people in this world that do really disgusting things and there's a lot going on in this world that's totally fucked up and wrong," explains Koller. "It's really not that difficult to find lyrical content when talking about atrocious people and atrocious things and genocide and bombings… you open up any news source and it's right in front of you. There's chaos everywhere and that's we're trying to get across. It's, like, 'Look at all of this crazy, fucked-up shit that's going on.'"
A classic case of scream therapy, Koller says being in a band like All Pigs Must Die is a therapeutic way of dealing with the world's ills. "You can take that anger and negative energy and put it towards something positive like music, or jogging, or kickboxing, or whatever can get that aggression out in a healthy way. That's really important," he says.
While the band plan to keep recording albums and play show when they can, so far their longest tour has been for 10 days. With all four members being very busy with other projects and family life, Koller says he doubts there will be many long road journeys in their future, although he does say they hope to get to Canada at some point to promote the new album. Meanwhile, they'll keep doing the band when they can, and on their terms.
"Everyone is busy with jobs and kids and wives and living their lives, so we just take whatever free time we all have and try to make it work. There's a lot of independent study, I guess you could say. We're all scattered across New York and New England, so we utilize technology and send each other lots of ideas by email and we do a lot of writing and arranging that way," he says. "When we all have time to get together, we make it work. And when we don't, we go about the rest of our lives and wait for the next time we can get back together."
Nothing Violates This Nature arrives via Southern Lord Records today (July 23).