It seems like supergroups should be a safe bet. However, more often than not they fall shy of the anticipated heights that fans expect. Of the supergroups we've seen in the past year or two, the Damned Things (members of Anthrax, Fall Out Boy and Every Time I Die) and United Nations (members of Thursday, Converge, Glassjaw, others) garnered significant attention based on the pedigree of their respective members, but, in my opinion, neither succeeded in even matching the quality of most of the members' initial or primary bands, let alone hitting some previously unheard peak in quality. However, with All Pigs Must Die, the curse of the supergroup tag has been broken, as this five-song 12" is undeniably on par with these guys' other bands.
Featuring Kevin Baker of the Hope Conspiracy and Bars, Ben Koller of Converge, United Nations, and Acid Tiger, Adam Wentworth of Bloodhorse and ex-the Red Chord, and Matt Woods of Bloodhorse, All Pigs Must Die sounds exactly what I had hoped for from its distinguished membership. The band plays pummeling hardcore/metal in the vein of Entombed with healthy doses of what sounds like any other type of heavy music they might choose to throw in, all underneath Kevin Baker's nihilistically aggressive vocals. It's a total riff-fest performed perfectly, with no filler, and is catchy in the way that hardcore and metal should be.
If there is one thing I've realized from this record, it's that Kevin Baker's track record is just about perfect. From his vocals in Hope Con to this release, he has always been a standout vocalist, but he just keeps improving. His aggressive approach is strong and his pacing is maybe the best in heavy music. Check out the stop-start style in the verses of "Die Ignorant" for proof. From that song: "Hung on damnation's rope, deception raping your mind. Diseased by ancient lies, man's manufactured demise. Death is your only faith, war is the one religion. Flock to your rotten god like a moth to a flame." Lyrically, he continues on his path of suffocating negativity and damnation of the human race.
Another thing I've come to appreciate about Baker is that as a listener, you can always understand what he is saying. I'm not trying to sound like your mom and complaining that "I don't know what they're saying!" but when you can understand the lyrics overtop of heavy music, it adds much more depth to the overall effect.
Ben Koller made his name drumming for Converge for the past 10 years or so, but his playing on this record represents his best performance outside of his main band. He's always been a ridiculously capable drummer, with a technical skill far surpassing most of the drummers in hardcore and punk. My favorite moment comes in the intro to "Die Ignorant", where he plays a fill that has both a moment of silence and a fast and showy moment. In just a few seconds he manages to shows both world-class chops and a level of restraint that can only come from years of performing.
As for the rest of the band, the riffs are awesome and are totally enhanced by awesome production from Kurt Ballou. The recording quality on this is a bit rawer and less compressed than a usual Godcity product, but it fits the band's slight throwback metal style perfectly.
As if the content wasn't good enough, this 12" comes packaged in a gatefold sleeve (with a giant poster inside) with a mirror image of Florian Bertmer's intricate artwork on the front and back. With everything in black and white and the lyrics set off with white trim lines inside, the package has kind of a '70s vibe and is completely gorgeous.
In conclusion, this EP is just about perfect and was my top EP of 2010. If you like heavy music, this release should be a must-pickup.