Album Reviews

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs: Land of Sleeper

The Newcastle outfit return with their darkest record so far.

Since their humble beginnings, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs have been on the constant ascent. Good guys done well, if you will, they are the success story of a U.K. underground scene that has provided some of the most forward-thinking guitar-based music over the last decade.

It never comes easy, of course. Years of toil, not limited to endless rehearsals, claustrophobic tour vans and divvying up the merch costs just to pay the petrol from one dark corner of the country to the next. Granted, many bands can claim similar hardships, but not many have provided the scornful snapshots the Geordie collective have given us over the past six years. From the long-form fury of Feed the Rats, to the glam-metal stomp of King of Cowards and the game-changing Viscerals. Or so the latter should have been, released in the height of lockdown which subsequently saw the band’s first North American tour cancelled.

Not ones to lick their wounds, Pigs x 7, welcoming drummer Ewan Mackenzie back into the fold, dust themselves off and go again. The final result being Land of Sleeper: an album akin a flashing blade cleaving the air.

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In their darkest moment etched to tape so far, Pigs x 7 up the ante with a tableau of Sabbathian dread. This is no-nonsense, bone-cold spite, delivered in supremely unapologetic ways.

The malevolence begins as guitarists Sam Grant and Adam Ian Sykes unleash a chainsaw buzz that forms the backbone to Ultimate Hammer. Here Pigs x 7 infiltrate the realms of classic rock, as Matt Baty spits Sabbath-like invective all over the floor (“Life has passed me by in the blink of an eye”). 

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs - Land of Sleeper

“We take control of destiny” he barks on Terror’s Pillow. A morbid gust that blows through street with real-life relevance. It feeds into the relatable darkness that overshadows Land of Sleeper. Of course it continues on the turbo-charged hell storm of Big Rig. “Washing mould from the decay” bleats Baty in a moment where he hasn’t sounded so bitter, combining malice and vigour that goes beyond the piss-taking dry wit that dominates the sludge-orientated noise-rock scene.

Meanwhile The Weatherman contains all the brooding atmospheres and drama its title suggests. Featuring a choir that includes Richard Dawson and Sally Pilkington, their medieval-like chant bubbles underneath anxious guitars and John-Michael Hedley’s trapdoor bass lines. It leads the way for Baty to form an alliance with fellow Rocket Recordings artist, Bonnacons of Doom’s Kate Smith. Baty suggests there’s a storm coming, but in all the high-wire drama and rumbling clamour, it’s already here thanks to Smith – her soaring, wordless vocalisations splitting the storm clouds in what is Land of Sleeper’s watershed moment.

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Mr Medicine and Pipe Down! is Pigs in full flight (yes, they do fly!) Straight up doom rock dispensed in unrepentant ways. “I don’t see light for some days” screams Baty on the latter. The kind of song that sends tremors through a bear pit. Meanwhile, the low-end rumble of Atlas Stone is the slow burn of the album; with repeated listens it might just go on to be Land of Sleeper’s shining beacon.

Featuring vocalist Cath Tyler, fittingly, the sunken gloom of Ball Lightning ends this journey across the unsealed terrains. It leads to no through road, and it’s exactly where Pigs x 7 revel, bringing to light the torment that has been festering throughout the last three years. Hope that was quickly devoured by dysfunctional, circus-like governments and the cost of living crisis.

While the message on Land of Sleeper is perhaps more inward, by creating the sinister torrents of noise which dominate this record, Pigs x 7 capture the essence of the collective thought. And while they may be playing bigger venues and reaching more ears, this is a band that will neither forget its roots, nor the people who have been with them since the start.

Land of Sleeper pays testament to that.

Land of Sleeper is out via Rocket Recordings. Purchase here.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

One reply on “Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs: Land of Sleeper”

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