Perhaps one of the unlikeliest breakouts in metal is PIG DESTROYER. Their superb grindcore blaster "Book Burner" was one of 2012's best slabs and for the band's fans, the long-shelved "Mass & Volume" EP finally sees the light of day. Its main attraction is to expose a different dimension to the band, especially to those just catching the train with "Book Burner".
The legend to "Mass & Volume" was that it was written and recorded on the final day of PIG DESTROYER's recording sessions for "Phantom Limb". With leftover studio time and financial resources, PIG DESTROYER laid down "Mass & Volume", which features former drummer Brian Harvey. From that point, the EP sat in limbo until interest in the band's back catalog rose in the wake of "Book Burner"'s success.
If you have "Natasha" in your collection, you'll pretty much know what to expect with "Mass & Volume". As the former is a thirty-five minute singular track of pain-inducing doom in the vein of early BORIS, SLEEP and SUNN O))), "Mass & Volume" is more of the same, albeit delved in two tracks this time.
The title track comes in just under twenty minutes. The rawness and spontaneity of it is the telling story. Lingering doom lines, stretched-out distortion and JR Hayes' filtered demon ralphs pound away to grisly effects and in the process tear up eardrums, if for no other sake, to celebrate the glory of sonics. It takes eleven minutes of "Mass & Volume" to establish an actual groove, initially hitting a shamble in the vein of SLEEP and EARTH, but the beat strikes grow more agitated before succumbing to a procession of vibration, hypnotic synths and barely-heard voiceover samples. Drone junkies will get off with this track, no matter how much PIG DESTROYER executes their dragged-out circle jerk with stretched intervals between riff strikes.
"Red Tar" is a much more invested experience as the tempo increases and the chords close up from Scott Hull's trailing ostinato and tapered strums. Blake Harrison keeps a pulsating wall of bass behind Hull while JR Hayes continues to growl bloody murder all over "Red Tar", leaving as ominous an imprint as anything he's laid down on the mike. From a musicality standpoint, "Red Tar" is the superior track for its escalating rhythm and somewhat tighter arrangements, even if it feels, like "Mass & Volume", jammed more than executed. Brian Harvey gets the final say on "Red Tar" with his meandering beat to the fadeout, which is essentially PIG DESTROYER's reason for issuing this EP at long last, to properly close Harvey's chapter in the band.
You be the judge which song is more evil since both are brutish and malevolent, though "Red Tar" does hit a moment where the chords and notes embark upon a soulful climb. For collectors and longtime PIG DESTROYER fans, "Mass & Volume" is a curiosity and a completion item. Otherwise, BORIS' "Amplifier Worship" and SLEEP's "Jerusalem" are better stopovers for your drone fix.