Newcastle quintet Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs are not the shy, retiring types. Not for them the safe, identikit blandness of corporate pseudo-indie, handpicked for assymetric haircut hipsters in Urban Outfitters t-shirts. They’re simply no nonsense metal with flecks of psychedelic rock and a wicked sense of humour. Even the album’s front cover has a cartoonish, Spinal Tap quality. Eyeball on a fork? Yum. Don’t mind if I do. They’re like Geordie cousins to Glasgow’s mighty Holy Mountain, in terms of sound and spirit.
Viscerals, their third album proper, starts with their typical crash of sound with Reducer. Matt Baty roars over pile-driver rawk and it’s all done in roughly four and a half minutes.
But while there’s an obvious nod to Sabbath and Motörhead, 90s influences can’t help but seep out too. Rubbernecker shares the cavernous echo of Jane’s Addiction and Butthole Surfers at their most (bad) trippy. “The tight… the tight… The tightrope… Untie the tightrope,” Baty screams like an incantation, before the track implodes, creating a mess like lava lamp vomit on white rugs.
Themes of alienation, distancing and feeling like a perpetual outsider permeate throughout. If Pigs recorded this prior to the virus (and surely they did) it’s all incredibly prescient.
New Body is a sleazy, uncompromising grind with a doomy riff as a sense of numbness overtakes. “I don’t feel a thing!” Baty declares, over and over, as if to convince himself as much as the listener.
There’s a new found elasticity here too, though. It’s not just relentless slaughterhouse slashing. Halloween Bolson and Hell’s Teeth are more bouncy, spring heeled even. This is Pigs’ rock ‘n’ roll circus. Send in the clowns, I say. We can do nothing more in these horrendous, scary times.