Pit Lord's "Gallery of Skewered Swine"

Gallery of Skewered Swine was released on November 5, 2022. This second full-length album release finds musicians Pit Lord in their Davenport stronghold: a forbidding, unwelcoming, cyclopean structure looming over the industrial stench of the West End. They glare from their thrones, two heads of a table gouged with countless blade and stained by sauces unknown. Once inside the cold stone walls, the fumes from Purina are all but masked by the pungent, all-pervading smoke that wafts through the imposing hall. The charcoal-black tapestries that line the hall, emblazoned with dripping white lettering and a pair of spatulas, crossed ominously at an angle, are redolent of the aromatic smoke that fills the hall day and night.

These mingled scents, of woods and herbs and the roasting of extravagant meats, come from an enormous stone smoker in the center of the room. The plumes that drift from its cruel encasement reek of battle and conquest, of mysterious spices and seasonings plundered from lesser grillers in long-ago conquests of Minnesota and Nebraska, perilous trips over the river to Illinois to challenge those who would dare assert their supremacy over these fearsome lords of the plains – referred to as one, as the fearsome and brutal entity known as Pit Lord.

They are lords of their realm. None can match their riffs, their fearsome and unwavering devotion to their craft, the work of a lifetime spent playing the foulest, most vicious death metal. Nor can any match their devotion to the art of smoked meats, a craft perfected through years of practice – the discipline of the barbecue. They have been hardened through long nights spent alone slaving over roasts in the icy Iowan moonlight, the mocking prairie winds stealing the propane flame and tempting the howling coyotes with the smell of cooking meat.

Pit Lord at Wake Brewing (photo by Loren Thacher)

Few would ever have thought to bring together the twin worlds of barbecuing and extreme metal. But there is a twisted logic to the union, a bond shared by the obsessions with the flesh. The lyrics of many death metal bands center on a fascination with the corporeal realm – violence against the body, and its corruption and decay. In taking the remains of an animal and preparing it as a meal, the cook enacts depredations against the flesh that are mere fantasy for most bands. To assert one’s power over the flesh, and to join with the fearsome and primal element of fire to cook and prepare meat, itself fuel for the living body, is the blackest of alchemy. Pit Lord know this all too well, using their music as a vehicle to celebrate this dominance over flesh and the wild hedonistic abandon of the feast.

Lords they are of the lesser creatures of the land – the swine, the cattle, fauna unnamed and unknown. One dare not ask to what lengths their insatiable hunger has taken them, what primal urges were sated between the doors of the enormous smoker. A look into their crazed, steely eyes is enough to stifle a frivolous question. Lords they are as well of the lesser bands of the world. Even the venerable Cannibal Corpse sought to imitate them, releasing a branded barbecue apron some three years after Pit Lord did the same.

Their second record's nine songs clock in at just over 45 minutes and include servings such as “Hell Hath No Fieri,” “Crispy Ribs,” and the finale “Butchers from Beyond.” Gallery of Skewered Swine finds Pit Lord at the height of their powers. Yet to tell them as much is redundant. You could comment on their ability to merge humor with brutality without becoming a “joke” band. You could praise their ambition, their use of cello and touches of icy black metal to add layers of atmosphere. What use would it be? A lord does not need the flattery of a peasant to remind him who is lord. Simply listen, and bow before them. One can listen online at PitLordBBQ.bandcamp.com/album/gallery-of-skewered-swine.

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