It’s been heartening to see Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs become as successful as they have since they released their debut Feed The Rats at the start of last year. When their name first started appearing on line-ups, for most they were notable merely for their moniker – “a joke that’s gone a bit too far”, as frontman Matt Baty told us in 2017. The power of their live performances, however, coupled with their debut’s joyously relentless pummelling means that they soon transcended the novelty status that their name might imply. As we approach the record’s follow up, King Of Cowards, there’s a recognition among devotees of a good old stoner/sludge/psych/doom/metal bludgeoning that PigsX7 are a band to be genuinely excited about.
If there was a criticism to be made of Feed The Rats it’s that the Pigs sound recalls Black Sabbath and Motörhead slightly too easily, and the same argument could be made of King Of Cowards. Most importantly, though, they have such a killer instinct for what makes a brilliant rock record that it’s hard to begrudge them the odd Lemmy growl or Geezer Butler bassline. And they know that they’re referencing their forebears: take ‘Sweet Relief’ on their last record, surely a reference to Sabbath’s ‘Sweet Leaf’, or Matt Baty’s ‘Iron Man’-aping roar of “Has he lost his mind?” on their new record’s ‘A66’.
Not that PigsX7 are mere copycats. As King Of Cowards opens with a simmer, a descending bass riff bubbling away until it boils over into an intergalactic launch of searing noise, you’re reminded that this is a band of quite tremendous power in their own right. Baty’s vocals are more colossal than ever, surfing the monolithic wave with an almighty howl. The rest of the Pigs are on agile form, switching momentum from cosmic rushes to almighty, crushing descents without hesitation.
Those G-force turns are similar to those on the first album, but this record feels like a lither and sharper beast. Where Feed The Rats was two colossal slabs of labyrinthine rock, bookending a single four minute middle track, King Of Cowards doubles the tracklist to six. They’re still hefty by anyone else’s standards, and for PigsX7 they’re still just as heavy, but because the tracks are shorter they pack that heaviness in tighter, compressing and concentrating its power.
At points on this record, the Pigs are the most direct they’ve ever been. Recent single ‘Shockmaster’ is a massive sustained assault, tsunami riffs crashing with titanic power again and again as Baty hurls a staggering howl: “I… AM… THE… LIGHT!” Elsewhere they’re light on their feet, on the breathless riffing that opens ‘Cake Of Light’ for example. As a whole this record feels broader than its predecessor – they still shapeshift with ebbs and flows of tempo and noise, but this time into entirely new shapes.
And crucially, the band have kept their underlying sense of humour. Of course that’s easier to do when you’re called Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, but the takeaway sensation of their epic and sprawling second record is quite simply one of pleasure. They embrace the ridiculous and the sublime in equal measure – the record’s lead single was called ‘Cake Of Light’ after all. “I… LOVE… YOU… MUUUUMMMYYYYYYYY” Baty howls on ‘Thumbsucker’ over an earthquake riff as the Pigs reach their peak, as strange and as staggering as ever.
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Fri Sep 21 12:20:17 CEST 201880
Well, aren’t we being spoiled? Only last year we were gifted the treat that was Feed the Rats from Newcastle’s porcine purveyors of quality heavy psych rock Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, and already another delectable feast is served. Whereas the gestation period for their first record was relatively lengthy, the making of King of Cowards was a speedier process. The band wrote the songs while touring in Italy, returning to the UK to record the album, and the new concentrated approach is certainly evident in the resulting material.
Although King of Cowards has double the amount of tracks of its predecessor, many are half the length of the two that bookend Feed the Rats. Anyone who's wary that this more streamlined approach could sacrifice the deep psych jams of yore can rest assured the band haven’t abandoned those leanings, they just come in undiluted form this time around. Although lead single ‘Cake of Light’ is certainly the most concise track, it mainlines everything that is thrilling about hard rock with “No remorse!” as vocalist Matt Baty sings. Their already explosive live shows will no doubt be further enriched by such pithy nuggets, not to mention the rest of the record’s more expansive offerings.
Opening track 'GNT' begins with echoey feedback before crashing riffs come in waves and a rabble-rousing chorus backs Baty’s roaring charge. All of which is paired with battering percussion, courtesy of ex-Gnod drummer Chris Morley, and scorching guitar solos that heighten the pitch. It’s an auspicious start, to say the least, and one that gives you eardrums a good kicking. This is rock music in all its glory.
The record may be a more focused effort, but Pigs have lost none of their psychedelic dexterity in the process: billowing tempos make for a trippy sense of time and slippery guitar lines trick the senses. A track like ‘Shockmaster’ rocks you gently into a false sense of security, then tears the rug from beneath. Lyrically it’s equally unpredictable - “Angels are easy to love… demons are easy to love” - blurring the ever-tricky defining lines of morality. On the other hand, ‘A66’ abandons sludgy rhythms for ravenous rapidity. An ominous midway break merely builds suspense for the cascade of heavy riffs and deliberate percussive thumps that follow. It builds to a dizzy apex matched by the immense capacity of Baty’s vocal.
King of Cowards is an album rich with detail, it’s a brassy racket that keeps on giving. ‘Thumbsucker’ forges a banging groove that the band stay true to aside from the snaking guitar that appears periodically, one of the many little features that make the record so mesmeric. Towards the end, Baty bellows the unlikely (and quite hilarious) line, “I LOVE YOU, MUMMY… I LIKE IT WHEN YOU RUB MY TUMMY AND LET ME SUCK MY THUMB.” Pigs may conjure a demonic din, but there’s something genuinely loveable and warm about their ruckus. That said, the deranged commotion of King of Cowards actually reduces you to a state of wanting to curl up in the foetal position and suck your thumb, so the jokes on us really.
The album plays with opposing forces, deals in oxymoronic language, explores notions of morality and guilt. Perhaps most importantly, the band has a deep and pleasing sense of the absurd - but then we knew that, why the hell else would you call your band Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs?
By the time ‘Gloamer’ concludes the record with a fittingly epic sign off, and the suggestion to “eat your forbidden fruit,” King of Cowards confirms it’s Pigs that deserve to have their cake and eat it. But it’s also an open invitation to join in the overindulgence with a complete lack of contrition. To gorge on the fruits of their labour is to feel utterly replete, that said, I’m not one to turn down thirds. More more more more more more more!
Wed Sep 26 17:35:15 CEST 201880
Pigsx7’s is a world of downtuned doom in which no riff is too monolithic, no chord progression too bludgeoning. They sound as if they should be caught between the conflicting urges to hit a massive bong or go out on choppers. In fact, they’re a perfectly unbikery-looking quintet from Newcastle upon Tyne, longtime participants in that city’s music scene (two of them play live with the brilliant Richard Dawson) who have suddenly and unexpectedly broken the surface with this project, in which 70s heavy metal is played both straight and as some kind of art project.
Their second album is rather more accessible than last year’s debut, Feed the Rats, in relative terms at least. Where that had only three tracks, two of them more than a quarter of an hour long, this one offers six, and none break the nine-minute mark. It’s more sonically expansive: on Feed the Rats, all the instruments sounded as if they were recorded on top of each other, in the world’s loudest broom cupboard, but there’s rather more space to breathe this time round. That doesn’t reduce the effect of the riffs: they’re still pulverising, but now they sound like an advancing storm front rather than as if you’ve been trapped in a sudden downpour. I’d love to tell you about the lyrics – sin is apparently a big theme – but they’re largely obscured by the guttural bellow of singer Matt Baty. Still. It’s hard not to hail the magnificence of a group who name the album’s centrepiece track A66, though they’re probably thinking of the Middlesbrough end rather than having afternoon tea in Cockermouth.Continue reading...
Fri Sep 28 10:00:50 CEST 2018