As politics at home and abroad become an irreparable dumpster fire and sexual assault allegations against the rich and powerful dominate the 24 hour news cycle, 2017 is going to be remembered for a lot of horrible, unspeakable things, but I’ll choose to remember it as the year of Ben Koller. Between the genius hardcore-as-Shakespearian-tragedy of Converge’s “The Dusk In Us” and the Van Halen worshipping party metal excellence of Mutoid Man’s “War Moans” lies All Pigs Must Die, Koller’s other, other band, with members of The Hope Conspiracy and Bloodhorse. APMD’s recently released 3rd LP “Hostage Animal” boasts another secret weapon though, in the form of Brian Izzi, guitarist of recently and sadly departed crust institution Trap Them, and as expected, the wounding sonic cruelty unleashed on this record is even greater than the sum of its corrosively distinguished parts.
Which is to say that this record has everything you need from the guitarist of Trap Them and the drummer of Converge, and nothing you don’t, though there are a few surprises along the way, such as the melodic 80’s thrash reverence on “End Without End” and “Heathen Reign”, and the damn near toe tapping catchiness of “A Caustic Vision” and “Blood Wet Teeth”, all galvanized by stalwart vocalist Kevin Baker’s rusty garbage disposal of a throat. And if you’re just here for the blast beats and d-beat and pure punishing hardcore primed and ready for the circle pits of America, of course that’s here too, with some of the year’s most hard hitting bangers pounded out on “Cruelty Incarnate”, the face melting lead title track, and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ripper “Meditation of Violence”.
Ben Koller for president in 2020? Only if he can master all he surveys from behind his mighty drum kit. Until then we’ll continue to slavishly consume the unbelievable output of the hardest working man in metal, and APMD’s “Hostage Animal” is one more masterpiece notch on his belt.