With a name like All Pigs Must Die, you expect greatness right off the bat. I mean come on, how much more instantly confrontational can your band name be? Like most other hardcore bands on Southern Lord, APMD specialize in barn-burning Entombedcore, and they distinguish themselves from the horde with an impeccable resume. Vox by Kevin Baker of The Hope Conspiracy? Check. Drums by Ben Koller of Converge? Check. Artwork by ex-Isis legend Aaron Turner? Check! Production from Kurt Ballou? Oh my god yes CHECK. On paper this all looks pretty killer, as did their earlier self-titled EP and debut full-length God is War. But upon examining the entire package, it’s clear to see that there’s a few shortcomings that are still keeping APMD from being the take-no-prisoners gods of hardcore that they, by all rights, very much want to be.
It’s easy to think you’re listening to a new classic of the genre with the first three tracks alone. “Chaos Arise” and “Silencer” hit you with a spot-on one-two punch, and the Wolverine Blues groove of “Primitive Fear” all but seems to seal the deal. But what distinguishes APMD from their fellow scenesters isn’t just how well they do hardcore, but how well they mix in everything else. There’s slow-paced sludge on “Bloodlines” and “Of Suffering,” as well as some bursts of black metal on “Holy Plague” and “Articles of Human Weakness” to make sure the pace doesn’t stagnate. This was present on God is War all across the album, but only on Nothing Violates This Nature do the transitions really begin to seem cohesive.
The problem with Nothing Violates This Nature, though, is that even with all these disparate musical styings sharing the spotlight, there’s not that much beyond the first half that really sticks out. The riff on the first half of “Faith Eater” wears out its welcome way too soon, “Aquim Siege” comes and goes before we get a chance to get comfortable with it, and “Sacred Nothing” is just Converge-style spazzcore by numbers. It’s competent enough, but competence isn’t what I’m looking for. I’m searching for excellence, and the stellar quality of the first half of the album only serves to show how uninspired so many cuts on the second half feel. “Faith Eater” is still going to get a pit going on tour (these guys are GREAT live, make no mistake), but it’ll be one of those pits that kind of stops churning about 30 seconds in and only resumes when the breakdown hits halfway through. And there are so many other bands way worse than these guys that can do that.
The closing track, “Nothing Violates This Nature,” almost seems to be a microcosm of the album itself. It weaves its way through hardcore, sludge, and black metal stylings, filling its five minute duration with an arsenal of hostile riffage. The transitions can feel a bit forced and some of the riffs fall flat, but overall it’s a package that you’ll be at least satisfied with. Although APMD is guaranteed to pique the interests of anyone even remotely into this style of hardcore, they might not be the all-destroying juggernaut that they’re obviously trying so hard to be. Nothing Violates This Nature, however, is probably the closest they’ve come yet to realizing their true potential. If this upward trend continues, the pigs of the world had better watch their backs.