Kiss the Pig kicks off with the unmistakable ch-click! of a shotgun being loaded, then, appropriately, starts blasting away. In other words, immediacy is back on Today Is the Day's docket -- where predecessor Sadness Will Prevail was two discs' worth of rambling experimentation and jagged, raucous soul-filleting shards of ugliness, its follow-up is 36 minutes of TITD mastermind Steve Austin's nasty, filth-ridden noise metal fury, recalling 1999's excellent, near-grindcore In the Eyes of God. What hits the listener first and foremost (besides feeling like you're in the line of fire) are Austin's unusual engineering choices; Kiss the Pig flies in the face of his top-notch production jobs (especially Lamb of God's New American Gospel record), the man opting for an effectively raw, lo-fi, frayed-nerves approach that'll have you reaching for the volume knob. And oddly, it works to his advantage, Austin utilizing his trademark multi-layered screams, rabid-dog guitar riffs, and off-kilter rhythms to accurately convey the blackened guts of his deranged soul. So it's no surprise to hear schizophrenic, shifting dynamics ("Why They Hate Us," "This Machine Kills Fascists"), blastbeat bombardment ("Mother's Ruin"), and sprawling, doom-ridden mantras (lengthy, disturbing finale "Birthright," which tails off with a startlingly beautiful, morose, and warped acoustic guitar) among this crazed batch of songs from Austin's brutal militia. As usual, there's nothing pretty about TITD, which has carved out its own solitary niche somewhere in the neighborhood of hardcore, noise, indie rock, and metal. Although Austin doesn't necessarily break new ground with Kiss the Pig, it's still a compelling and typically violent effort -- most likely spawned from a potentially lethal combination of disillusionment, anger, hatred, and disgust for the world -- which further cements his reputation as one of the underground's most fascinating artists.