Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs – Visceral (Rocket Recordings)
CD | Vinyl | DL
Released 3rd April 2020
Paul Clarke reviews Viscerals, the third album from Geordie noise merchants with rare crossover appeal.
There are many strange things about Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs (Pigs x7 from hereon) who are releasing their third album Viscerals, but one of the oddest is how they have won such a big following from the 6 Music crowd who normally eschew an out and out rawk act.
Yet somehow they have done what so many great rock bands have failed to do and win broad appeal, which is even more impressive when you consider just how uncompromising this Geordie quintet’s sound is.
It’s been a seven-year road to this third album, and yet again there has been a definite step forward in ambition and songwriting from the critically acclaimed King of Cowards, but retaining their very Northern bloody mindedness. This might be because Pigs x7 only had about 20% of the album written before decamping to guitarist Sam Grant’s Blank Studios, so there is a live feel to the songs which captures some of the astonishing intensity of their shows.
Opener Reducer sets the tone as madcap vocalist Matt Baty’s roars out ‘ego kills everything’ over spacey guitars and solos from Grant and Adam Ian Sykes as their rock solid rhythm section John-Michael Hedley and drummer Christopher Morley lock down a tight groove.
Rubbernecker has echoes of Sabbath from their classic first four albums, which is the benchmark all rock acts should be working to. You can imagine a half-naked Baty in a venue screaming out ‘it must be lonely/living like you’ as the band relentlessly batter your senses with this piledriver full of sneaky key changes. The long outro is just brutal.
It’s not all brutality as the tempo slows down somewhat on the eerie Bread and Butter as Baty reflects on trendy food prepared by an angry chef that ‘tastes foul with hatred’, and has more than an echo of Richard Dawson, which might be due to the fact two of the band play with him.
World Crust kicks the noise levels back up before the mighty Crazy in Blood, which could actually be a shock hit single as it has a gigantic glam rock style hook reminiscent of mid-period Judas Priest when they banged out a few chart hits.
Pigs x7 end their pounding of the listener with the soul-bearing Hell’s Teeth as Baty invites a potential partner to ‘rock in peace’ and we discover his star sign is Libra.
Viscerals is not an album for the fainthearted – or for closed minds – but it would be a real surprise if a British band produces a better rock album in 2020.
Review and photos by Paul Clarke, you can see his author profile here.