Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

King Of Cowards

A second and even richer dose of heaviosity from our favourite band of unwieldy name and hammering riffs

It’s been heartening to see Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs become as successful as they have since they released their debut Feed The Rats at the start of last year. When their name first started appearing on line-ups, for most they were notable merely for their moniker – “a joke that’s gone a bit too far”, as frontman Matt Baty told us in 2017. The power of their live performances, however, coupled with their debut’s joyously relentless pummelling means that they soon transcended the novelty status that their name might imply. As we approach the record’s follow up, King Of Cowards, there’s a recognition among devotees of a good old stoner/sludge/psych/doom/metal bludgeoning that PigsX7 are a band to be genuinely excited about.

If there was a criticism to be made of Feed The Rats it’s that the Pigs sound recalls Black Sabbath and Motörhead slightly too easily, and the same argument could be made of King Of Cowards. Most importantly, though, they have such a killer instinct for what makes a brilliant rock record that it’s hard to begrudge them the odd Lemmy growl or Geezer Butler bassline. And they know that they’re referencing their forebears: take ‘Sweet Relief’ on their last record, surely a reference to Sabbath’s ‘Sweet Leaf’, or Matt Baty’s ‘Iron Man’-aping roar of “Has he lost his mind?” on their new record’s ‘A66’.

Not that PigsX7 are mere copycats. As King Of Cowards opens with a simmer, a descending bass riff bubbling away until it boils over into an intergalactic launch of searing noise, you’re reminded that this is a band of quite tremendous power in their own right. Baty’s vocals are more colossal than ever, surfing the monolithic wave with an almighty howl. The rest of the Pigs are on agile form, switching momentum from cosmic rushes to almighty, crushing descents without hesitation.

Those G-force turns are similar to those on the first album, but this record feels like a lither and sharper beast. Where Feed The Rats was two colossal slabs of labyrinthine rock, bookending a single four minute middle track, King Of Cowards doubles the tracklist to six. They’re still hefty by anyone else’s standards, and for PigsX7 they’re still just as heavy, but because the tracks are shorter they pack that heaviness in tighter, compressing and concentrating its power.

At points on this record, the Pigs are the most direct they’ve ever been. Recent single ‘Shockmaster’ is a massive sustained assault, tsunami riffs crashing with titanic power again and again as Baty hurls a staggering howl: “I… AM… THE… LIGHT!” Elsewhere they’re light on their feet, on the breathless riffing that opens ‘Cake Of Light’ for example. As a whole this record feels broader than its predecessor – they still shapeshift with ebbs and flows of tempo and noise, but this time into entirely new shapes.

And crucially, the band have kept their underlying sense of humour. Of course that’s easier to do when you’re called Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, but the takeaway sensation of their epic and sprawling second record is quite simply one of pleasure. They embrace the ridiculous and the sublime in equal measure – the record’s lead single was called ‘Cake Of Light’ after all. “I… LOVE… YOU… MUUUUMMMYYYYYYYY” Baty howls on ‘Thumbsucker’ over an earthquake riff as the Pigs reach their peak, as strange and as staggering as ever.

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