Desperate times call for desperate measures, and that’s just what Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs have resorted to on their third LP, ‘Viscerals’.
Across a muscular, weighty nine songs, they unleash a knockout blow of scuzzy, pitch-black rock and roll on an already down for the count world.
Sometimes, through strange cultural osmosis, art comes along that perfectly mirrors its present moment. ‘Viscerals’ arrives at a particularly challenging moment in our history, and manages to unnervingly mirror the doomy anxiety that many of us are feeling right now.
Matt Baty‘s howling vocals are pained and cavern-like, crying out from a deep, dark void. “I don’t feel a thing, nothing” he cries on ‘New Body’, as if resigning himself to some awful fate. Every line is delivered with acquiesced rage, a wounded animal lashing out. Baty‘s performance more than matches his formidable live presence, and proves to be one of most unique pleasures of ‘Viscerals’.
And what pleasures Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs have in store. Highlights include ‘Reducer’, a bass-lead, driving headbanger that’s probably the closest the band could come to writing a rock ‘anthem’. ‘Halloween Bloson’, the longest cut on the album, is also the most engrossing, reaching towards doom rock greatness through repetition and smart structural shifts. Each song is individual enough to be memorable, and each hit with the required heft that Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs so clearly strive to achieve.
What impresses most about ‘Viscerals’, however, is the degree of success with which the band further manage to define their sound. Although they wield similar desert guitar riffs to that of Fu Manchu and Kyuss, they manage to strip them completely of their sunny, blissed out connotations, leaving in place a darker, almost Black Sabbath-ian mood. Feral, David Yow-esque vocals are then added, forging a unique combo of noise rock and stoner rock, one that’s consistent enough to elevate the music above the respective genre trappings.
The combination coalesces quite brilliantly, never feeling at odds with the other, despite the tonal differences between the two genres. Even when they occasionally fall on the sillier, stoner side of their aesthetic, this yields its own rewards, such as “Dancing with the devil with two left feet” on ‘New Body’; a potent image of debauched celebrations at the end of the world.
‘Viscerals’ is a rictus grim of an album; a forced, maniacal smile plastered atop a pained, cracked exterior. It’s never anything less than enthralling, and a worthy accompaniment to the potential apocalypse.