East coast grindcore band Pig Destroyer formed in the late '90s and quickly joined a wave of bands who would define the sound of extreme music over the following years. Playing without a bassist in their earlier phases, their sound was a noisy and unhinged take on grindcore elements, with short and complex songs, dual vocals, spazzy blastbeats, and occasional hints of metallic hardcore. The band quickly became highly active in D.I.Y. punk circles, touring and releasing splits with contemporaries like Orchid, Gnob, Converge, Isis, Drop Dead, and other highly respected grind and hardcore bands. Pig Destroyer's output was prolific early on, with multiple lesser releases, 7"s, and compilation appearances bridging more fully formed albums. In 2000 the band signed to Relapse Records, which would be their home for the next decade and beyond. 2001 brought Prowler in the Yard, a high-water mark for focus and intensity for the band. Lineup changes and stylistic shifts would mark later material, as the band moved from their grindcore beginnings into doomier sludge and even sound collage-like experiments on later releases like 2008's Natasha and 2014's Mass & Volume.
Pig Destroyer was formed in Alexandria, Virginia in 1997 by drummer John Evans, guitarist Scott Hull, and vocalist J.R. Hayes. All of the members had been in other extreme bands, Hull playing with Anal Cunt and Agoraphobic Nosebleed and the other members briefly collaborating in hardcore band Treblinka before forming Pig Destroyer. The band settled on their name after deciding "Cop Killer" or "Cop Destroyer" were too heavy-handed but maintained a staunchly anti-authoritarian political stance in their early material. The band quickly released a demo as well as a split 7" with Orchid, touring the east coast months into their existence and releasing debut album Explosions in Ward 6 in 1998. Evans quit the band in 1999 and was replaced by Brian Harvey. The band signed to heavyweight metal label Relapse in 2000 and promptly released 38 Counts of Battery, a massive collection that compiled remastered versions of all their material to date including songs from split releases and their original demos. 2001 saw the release of Prowler in the Yard, the band's most focused and extreme statement up to that point. They reached a much wider audience on the strength of this record and would tour more extensively, playing lager festivals and overseas dates. Their next album, 2004's Terrifyer, was a more polished and defined production. In 2006 the band welcomed Blake Harrison on, taking their sound to more outlandish places with samples and electronics, and he made his debut on their 2007 album Phantom Limb. In 2011 Harvey quit the band and was replaced by Adam Jarvis, who had formerly drummed for Misery Index. Their sound began shifting somewhat as they passed through their first decade of existence, flirting with elements of noise, sludge metal, hardcore, and even experimental collage on releases like 2012's Book Burner and the sharp left turn toward doom metal on 2014 EP Mass & Volume. In 2013 things shifted monumentally in the band's sound with the addition of their first bass player, John Jarvis. 2015 saw a deluxe reissue of Prowler in the Yard with completely remixed and remastered versions of the songs. In 2018 Pig Destroyer released their sixth album, Head Cage, the first full-length to include bass and heavy evidence that as the band entered their 20th year they were in no way mellowing with age. ~ Fred Thomas