Seven is the magic number. What’s more, this is about more than the number of days in the week or continents in the world – psychologists have theorised that the human memory’s ability to calibrate information on a short term basis is mostly limited to a sequence of this length. Thus, it seems strangely fitting that Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – the Newcastle-based maximalists whose riffs, raw power and rancour have blazed a trail across the darker quarters of the underground in the last five years, have made a second album in King Of Cowards which does its damnedest to take consciousness to its very limits.
Moreover, another notable seven is dealt with here – that of the deadly sins. As vocalist and synth player Matt Baty notes “In terms of how the theme came together I’d relate it to throwing paint at a canvas in a really physical and subconscious way, then stepping back to analyse it and seeing it all as one piece. It wasn’t until then that I saw there was this continual thread of sin and guilt in the lyrics throughout the album. For a long time I’ve questioned how and where guilt can be used as a form of oppression… When can guilt be converted into positive action? After typing all of the lyrics up I realised I’d unwittingly referenced every one of the seven deadly sins throughout the album. That’s the fire and brimstone Catholic teachings I picked up at school coming into play there!”
The period since Pigs’ Rocket Recordings 2017 debut Feed The Rats – a mighty tsunami of rancorous riffage and unholy abjection that wowed critics and wreckheads alike – has seen the band build on their incendiary live reputation far and wide, from the sweatiest of UK fleapits to illustrious festivals like Roskilde. Perhaps the most relentlessly head-caving outfit of an alarmingly fertile scene operating in Newcastle at present, the band have all been busying themselves in a variety of activities, with Baty running Box Records (home of underground luminaries like Lower Slaughter, Casual Nun and Terminal Cheesecake) and both himself and bassist John-Michael Hedley playing in Richard Dawson’s band.
This opus sees the band entering a new phase as a sleeker yet still more dangerous swineherd, with ex-Gnod and Queer’d Science drummer Chris Morley joining the ranks and a new approach being taken to its creation. The Iggy-esque drive to dementia, Sabbath-esque squalor and Motörhead-style dirt may still be present and correct yet the songs are leaner, the long-drawn-out riff-fests sharpened into addictive hammerblow and the nihilistic dirges of yore alchemically transformed into an uplifting and inviting barrage of hedonistic abandon.