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Music / Pig Destroyer

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The typical Pig Destroyer experience.


A six year old girl dances on my ceiling
She might as well be dancing on my grave.
— "Gravedancer"

Pig Destroyer is a Grindcore band from Richmond, Virginia. Their albums are the absolute definition of Nightmare Fuel. Their lyrics can range from politically charged to emotional rants, all wrapped up in the histrionics of sheer, absolute madness and terror. They're known for their short, quick-tempo songs (trademark of the genre) occasionally broken up by longer, doom-spelling verses, and the albums are often littered with stories of absolutely vomit-inducing imagery.

The band gets its name from the pejorative term for police (pig) and... well, destroying; however, the band says that their name no longer really means anything.

Current lineup:

  • J.R. Hayes - vocals (1997-present)
  • Scott Hull - guitars (1997-present)
  • Alex Cha - electronics (2023-present)
  • Adam Jarvis - drums (2011-present)
  • Travis Stone - bass (2019-present)


Studio albums

  • Explosions in Ward 6 (1998)
  • Prowler in the Yard (2001)
  • Terrifyer (2004)
  • Phantom Limb (2007)
  • Book Burner (2012)
  • Head Cage (2018)

Compilation albums/EPs

  • Picture Disc 7" (2000)note 
  • 38 Counts of Battery (2000)
  • Painter of Dead Girls (2004)
  • Natasha (2004 as a side disc for Terrifyer; 2008 as a standalone)
  • Blind, Deaf and Bleeding (2012)
  • Mass & Volume (2013)
  • The Octagonal Stairway (2020)

Their music contains examples of:

  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: The band came up with the name while waiting in line to get on a roller coaster, as they were killing time by trying to come up with the most stereotypical punk band name they could think of. Two of the names that they tossed around were "Cop Killer" and "Cop Destroyer", but they realized that those were a little too obvious, and so they decided on the ever-so-slightly less obvious "Pig Destroyer" instead.
  • Album Intro Track: "Jennifer" on Prowler in the Yard and "Intro" on Terrifyer.
  • Anti-Love Song: Most of the songs on Prowler in the Yard and Terrifyer, as well as "Natasha."
  • Ax-Crazy: A recurring theme, particularly evident on the album art for Prowler in the Yard.
  • Body Horror: "Jennifer". Just, EVERYTHING about Jennifer, and its ending on the extended "Piss Angel" (Jennifer 2 on the 2015 re-release).
  • Broken Bird: "The Girl in the Slayer Jacket." She had been dead since she was five. She just hadn't disposed of her body.
  • Brown Note: Whenever things take a turn for the ambient, expect one of these.
  • Careful with That Axe: J.R. Hayes is virtually unparalleled at this.
  • Concept Album: Prowler in the Yard has to be one of the most terrifying examples ever. Terrifyer, as well.
  • Cover Album: The EP Blind, Deaf, and Bleeding, included with special editions of Phantom Limb, consists of covers of various Hardcore Punk songs. The band has recorded several other covers throughout their career as well.
  • Creepy Children Singing: "Piss Angel" on Prowler in the Yard closes out the whole album with a few minutes of this over a Drone of Dread. Words can't do justice to how creepy it is.
  • Creepy Monotone: "Jennifer" and its reprise on "Piss Angel" are read by a robotic Microsoft Sam voice to very disquieting effect.
  • Drone of Dread: Any of their slower songs are going to have this.
  • Eaten Alive: The narrator of "Natasha", by the Eldritch Abomination that Natasha has become.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Natasha, the titular 'Terrifyer'... whatever the hell she became.
  • Epic Rocking: Shows up occasionally, most notably on the one-song EP Natasha, which is 37 minutes long, longer than most of their actual albums.
  • Eye Scream: From "Jennifer"
    Jennifer wrestled her friend playfully to the ground in front of the snowcone stand and began licking at the girls eyeballs, as if they were sugar cubes.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Again, Natasha and the narrator.
  • Genre Shift: "Starbelly" on Prowler is a long sludge metal track while the extended outro of "Piss Angel" is dark ambient. Natasha and Mass and Volume are drone doom.
  • Grindcore: One of the most well known (and most famous) examples in the genre. They play in this style primarily for their first five albums.
  • Gorn: The cover art of Prowler in the Yard, which looks like a still from a torture porn movie. Their lyrics don't use this as often as you'd think, being more poetic depictions of extreme psychosis, but the short stories included with the CD booklets for Prowler in the Yard and Terrifyer contain some rather graphic violence in them.
  • Harsh Vocals: Hayes has some of the best.
  • Loudness War: Pig D's album's are generally affected by this trope, with the biggest offender being Terrifyer at DR5. Prowler in the Yard and Phantom Limb (both DR6), as well as Book Burner (DR7) are not as badly clipped and are more dynamic judging by modern standards.
  • Metalcore: The band goes into this on Head Cage.
  • Metal Scream: Type 3.
  • Miniscule Rocking: Most of the band's songs are between one and two minutes long. The shortest are less than twenty seconds.
  • Murder Ballad: The latter tracks on Terrifyer and the first heavy section of "Natasha."
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: This band didn't even have a bassist until Adam Jarvis' cousin John joined the band in 2013 (that's sixteen years without one). Until the addition of noise-maker Blake Harrison, the instrumentation consisted of just vocals, guitar, and drums.
  • One-Woman Song: "Jennifer" and "Natasha" are both subversions.
  • Purple Prose: A very well done example. J.R. Hayes' lyrics, while dark and macabre, are surprisingly poetic and eloquent in their own twisted way. With Book Burner and Head Cage, this level of eloquence is more or less done away with.
  • Religion Rant Song: A few, with "Heathen Temple" being perhaps the most straightforward one.
  • Sampling: Mostly from films and TV shows.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: Prowler in the Yard is a Sanity Slippage Album.
  • Scary Musician, Harmless Music: Inverted, like with most extreme metal bands. They make some of the most balls out disturbing music in grindcore, but the band members themselves are all fairly nice, laid back people.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: Again, most of the songs on Prowler in the Yard and Terrifyer.
  • Signature Style: A mixture of relatively traditional deathgrind, groovier Thrash Metal inspired sections and math-oriented passages involving odd time signatures and abrasive, noise-influenced atmospheric touches, along with frenzied, maniacal Type 3 shouting for vocals and drums that alternate between ultra-fast blasting and highly complex and technical patterns. Also expect the occasional drone/doom song.
  • Sludge Metal: This genre is heard primarily on the Natasha EP.
  • Something Blues: "Restraining Order Blues", which isn't actually very bluesy-sounding at all.
  • Special Guest: Richard Johnson (Agoraphobic Nosebleed) and Kat Katz (ex-Salome, ex-Agoraphobic Nosebleed) did additional vocals on Terrifyer, and Matthew Mills performed the solo on "Towering Flesh" off that same album. Jason Netherton meanwhile did extra vocals for the song "The Diplomat" from Book Burner, with Johnson and Katz making sporadic appearances on this record too. Head Cage, amongst others, features Dylan Walker (Full of Hell) supplying noise work on "The Last Song".
  • Stalker with a Crush: The narrator of Prowler in the Yard is this mixed with a Crazy Jealous Guy.
  • Surreal Horror: Almost all of their lyrics.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: When 'the ride won't stop', you realize the song has become about you.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: It'd be easier to list the songs that don't feature this.