District of Metal

Though it’s the opposite of quiet time, heavy metal is like meditation in that it forces you to think about things you might otherwise ignore. Two new full-lengths from D.C.-area metal bands — Ilsa’s “Intoxications” (Relapse) and Pig Destroyer’s “Book Burner” (A389) — explore the dark side of humanity.

Pig Destroyer plays a brutally fast style called grindcore. “Book Burner” is the band’s first album in five years, and Pig Destroyer’s energy is still stunning — every track sounds like a fist fight. The imagery is intense, too: The furious first single, “The Diplomat,” has an amazing accompanying video depicting a suited man giving apes machine guns and then watching them figure out how to use them.

Ilsa, at top, doesn’t play with the same speed as Pig Destroyer, but “Intoxications” sounds just as menacing. Should Beelzebub need a house band for the end of days, Ilsa’s growling, occult-filled, doom-laden incantations — such as the self-explanatory “Say You Love Satan” — will sound track the apocalypse with chest-crushing flair.

Or, if that sounds a little anxiety-producing, you can choose silent meditation.

Stream both discs at Pigdestroyer.bandcamp.com and A389recordings.bandcamp.com.

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Fiona Zublin · November 6, 2012