Pig Destroyer – “Prowler in the Yard”

DB HOF NO. 102

The making of Pig Destroyer’s “Prowler in the Yard”

released: 2001

label: Relapse


If you’ve been a regular Decibel reader over the years, it may be hard to believe that there was a time when Pig Destroyer weren’t one of the most popular and revered bands in underground extreme music. We haven’t exactly made that point very obvious, what with granting the Virginia-based grindcore superheroes accolades in the form of cover appearances, glowing reviews, comprehensive features, an album of the year nod for 2007’s Phantom Limb and participation in our vaunted Flexi Series. But way back when, around the time humanity was just about done giving the Y2K scare the finger in its collective rearview mirror, Pig Destroyer were toiling in about as much obscurity as one could imagine, and were probably more recognized for their provocative moniker and lack of bassist than anything else.

Coming off their criminally unheralded Explosions in Ward 6 debut full-length, the band found themselves drawn to a life in their own musical bubble; doing what they wanted to do and pleasing themselves regardless of outside opinion. It was this philosophy that saw the trio of guitarist Scott Hull, vocalist J.R. Hayes and drummer Brian Harvey repair to Mr. and Mrs. Harvey’s basement on weekends with libations front-and-center, influential works from the likes of Slayer, Melvins, Discordance Axis and Confessor percolating in the background, and a youthful innocence coloring the entire process. It was there that they constructed and cranked out classic after classic (“Cheerleader Corpses,” “Trojan Whore,” “Mapplethorpe Grey” and so on). Prowler in the Yard isn’t the only HOF-worthy recording in Pig Destroyer’s canon—Precious Metal II could probably be based on their discography exclusively—but it was the album that, with the help of Relapse, brought the band from the basement to the broader public eye via killer songs, unnerving atmosphere and a lyrical creepiness that saw Hayes emerge as one of extreme music’s darkest and most poetic figures. Please welcome the beautiful, disgusting art of Prowler in the Yard to our Hall.

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