ALBUM REVIEW: Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Viscerals | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Released: 03.04.19

Rocket Recordings







For anyone else who has followed the rise of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs over the last few years, the reasons to be surprised by their prominence are obvious – a band merged from members of assorted extreme metal and cult psych acts, with a penchant for songs that push the twenty minute barrier and quasi-improvised live performances (and that’s without getting into the name) getting onto the BBC 6Music playlist is something the industry is designed to prevent at all costs.

The trick that Viscerals pulls is to suggest that it was this earlier period of stubbornly following the underground playbook is the real outlier in the Pigs story: that beneath the bludgeoning repetition and track names like The Wizard and The Seven Swines, they were always a particularly twisted pop band. A vision of pop music that would only emerge from former members of bands called things like Khunnt, true, but pop music regardless.

That Viscerals ticks off so many commercial boxes – instantly memorable, anthemic choruses, streamlined song lengths and progressions alongside a markedly more glam rock and grunge informed sound – whilst still sitting firmly within the boundaries of doom is testament to how natural this latest step in the Pigs evolution feels. The booming, incessant Crazy In Blood, kicking off straight into its enormous arena biker gang chorus, feels like a common sense bedfellow of the twisting, abrasive nine-minute stoner metal piledriver Halloween Bolson rather than a juxtaposition.

As well as the heightened melodic impact and arrangement savvy, where Viscerals also continues the path started on King of Cowards is the band’s own take on those heavy metal staples of sin and retribution. The bacchanalial element that’s always followed the band remains present and correct here (New Body is a night-out-gone-wrong tale that comes replete with demonic visitations), but they adroitly avoid slipping into either easy condemnation or conscience-free hedonism. Blood And Butter, a short interlude that could function as a dictionary definition of a filler track, perhaps offers a summation of the Pigs worldview: horrified by the world outside, but pointedly refusing to be ground down by it or surrender an inch of surreal wit. (If you are going to have filler, as least make it as pointedly absurd as this.)

That Viscerals is coming out in unimaginable circumstances is obvious – this is music designed for packed sweaty clubs of the converted and the confused haze of the festival circuit, not indefinite isolation. Yet the forward-thinking defiance and amplifier worship that Pigs offer up perhaps has its own use in these dark times. Crucially, this is a band fully aware of their own ridiculousness, but that never bows down to it or lets it dilute their utter sincerity: as such, the wantonly ridiculous closer Hell’s Teeth, in which Matthew Baty asks the listener for their star sign (he’s a Libra, as it happens) and demands to rock in peace, accidentally comes into its own as a bizarre anthem for community and unrestrained joy. The silliness at the core of Pigs isn’t an obstacle to their more serious ambitions, it’s the fuel that makes them such a potent force.


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