Pig Destroyer's 'The Octagonal Stairway' Is as Devastatingly Heavy as It Is Adventurously Strange

BY Chris BrysonPublished Aug 25, 2020

Virginia grindcore legends Pig Destroyer never disappoint when it comes to punishment and pushing their sound. Following 2018's monstrous Head Cage, Pig Destroyer's newest EP, The Octagonal Stairway, features three previously released tracks and three B-sides that present the devastating dichotomy between the band's leanings towards full-on grindcore assault and crushing slower tunes.

The EP's first half includes the faster and ferocious previously released tracks. Opener "The Octagonal Stairway" features a brief noise intro that quickly explodes into mania with meaty riffs and relentless blasts helmed by J.R. Hayes's fierce screams. "The Cavalry" is a viciously rampant, whirling assault, while "Cameraman" boasts those Pig Destroyer moments where the guitar and drums dance frantically around each other in beautiful chaos. 

The second half of the album gives the sense of impending doom and gets strange in the process. Sounds of flipping through channels opens the brief but forceful "News Channel 6," before heavy drums and grinding power electronics come crashing in around a newscaster's voice, who greets America and then proceeds to list off terrible things like it's any other day. "Head Cage" features eerie spoken word recordings and rickety, squelching sounds overlaid with quivering alien hums and backgrounded by a simple drum beat.

Closer "Sound Walker" is a pulsing beast. The over-11-minute track transitions through interspersed spoken word recordings that become increasingly demonic and electronic percussion that builds through repetitive beats into an industrial groove that's eventually replaced by a cavern of creaking metal, otherworldly echoes and immense electric pulses.

The Octagonal Stairway showcases a band that is never hesitant to try new things while also continuing to kick ass at what they do best. With Head Cage and now The Octagonal Stairway, there's certainly plenty to look forward to with whatever Pig Destroyer does next.

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