Viscerals by Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs PigsRelease date: April 3, 2020
Label: Rocket Recordings
Let’s start with a quick blitz through the story so far of Newcastle’s Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – or for saving breath purposes Pigsx7. The Rocket Recordings label’s debut Feed the Rats was a three-track uncompromising blast of Black Sabbathian-inspired noise that delightedly saw the only short track ‘Sweet Relief’ even make it onto the Hairy Bikers Show on the usually very conservative Planet Rock Radio station. Its successor King of Cowards occasional sprinkling of space rock organ-swirling demonstrated a wider-increasing exploration; reducing the songs’ lengths it maintained a robust heaviness while also being a far more palatable listen.
This also expanded their radio Station playlist portfolio as BBC 6 Music became appreciators of the band, and this is where they seem to be gaining most of their enlarging following. With the pre-Covid-19 announcement of their biggest UK headline tour including London’s Electric Ballroom now re-scheduled, you might think huge pressure of expectation might interfere with the band’s development. No need to fear: Viscerals is the sound of a band continuing to evolve their sound into a form which may be their most definitive yet.
The purposeful album opener ‘Reducer’ is a belting turbo-charged assault and the sound of a band who clearly know their strengths. It also signals Matt Batty’s vocals are given ample of space for the lyrics to be heard on every track. One imagines this will produce many fists pumping in the air while hollering out lines or just single words to encourage full audience participation. For example – and keeping with the Sabbath influence – the numerously tempo-changing ‘Halloween Bolson’ allows the enjoyable pleasure of venting out ‘’Bastards’’ at the top of your voice several times over.
They haven’t lost their mid-tempo punch assault either, but where they may have plodded on for a bit longer than necessary this time around they are streamlined for a fuller bruising, leaner, heavy thumping effect as on ‘Rubbernecker’. Even when they do partake in 6- and 7-minute songs. the arrangements maintain the punchiness. The excellent ‘New Body’ has the brooding intensity and menace of the Rollins Band and like Henry, it sounds like a cathartic release for Matt and his now distinctive town-crier vocal styling: “I’ve had too much to drink, too much to think, I’m dancing with the devil with his two left feet.’’ And the repeated phrase “I don’t feel a thing” I’m sure will allure yelling along with in a future gig-going (hopefully) world.
Another track which is sure to be a crowd pleaser is ‘World in Crust’, boasting a glorious crunchy riff, a bouncy rhythm, and a hooligan-rousing chorus of ‘’make ends meet’’. The world’s diet may be leaning to veganism but meaty riffs are on the menu on Viscerals. ‘Crazy in Blood’ sees them edging ever closer to an all-out heavy metal anthem. It demonstrates how magnificently PigsX7 are maturing. Guitarist Sam Grant showcases a finesse of conjurer-quality solos, huge riffs, and melodic guitar hooks across the album but ‘Crazy in Blood’ may be his finest five minutes yet, as he carefully lays a soaring melodic hook while Matt croons more thoughtfully the question, ‘’What do we know?’’
Paradoxically, there is more subtlety at play on the fittingly titled Viscerals, but this never compromises their power. They may have refined their sound but they also demonstrate concise song-writing chops, which results in their third album being a loud ‘n’ heavy record for heads to be banged to. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs have come of age and deliver their finest offering to date, and I expect this to be in many albums of the year lists, including this scriber’s. As Matt’s last words on the album instruct, ‘’Lets Rock!’’ Indeed!