Since their incredible album Viscerals in 2020, Newcastle upon Tyne quintet Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs aka Pigs x7 released the vinyl only Off Cuts which consisted of live studio versions of tracks from all their releases to date as well as a surprisingly effective cover of Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff with Lancaster duo The Lovely Eggs. Not being a fan of the latter, I was surprised with how well the track actually turned out.
The band’s line-up of Matt Baty – vocals, Sam Grant – guitar, Adam Ian Sykes – guitar and John-Michael Hedley – bass remains intact, but Chris Morley has since departed to be replaced by original drummer Ewan Mckenzie. Pigs x7 have always had awesome artwork and the cover to Land Of Sleeper is no exception, reminding one perhaps of the early covers of bands such as Hawkwind for instance. Perhaps indicative of a shift back to their earlier heavier material as opposed to their more recent work? Let’s take a listen…
The aforementioned Hawkwind seems to be evident on Ultimate Hammer, and there is a propulsive drive to the track that reminds one of the space-rock legends. It’s easy to forget how heavy that band could be, especially when they had a certain Ian Fraser Kilmister (Lemmy) in the band. I could easily imagine some of my older friends who adore that band getting a massive kick out of this number as a result, a thrilling opener to this much anticipated fourth Pigs x7 album.
Terror’s Pillow, as intonated by its title, highlights the heavier and darker side of the band’s sound with nods to doom godfathers Black Sabbath, which ties in with guitarist/producer Sam Grant‘s aim of writing material more along these lines as a counterpoint to their earlier work, as he himself mentions in the album’s accompanying promo notes. A crushing number that fans of their Feed The Rats debut will appreciate.
a testament to Pigs x7 immense talents, resulting in a release well worthy of your attention and time…
Big Rig combines the groovy stoner metal vibes of bands such as Bongzilla and Weedeater with faster elements that remind one of the Melvins during their punkier more chaotic noise-rock moments while The Weatherman, the longest track on the album, slows down proceedings significantly with some creepy shamanic style chanting courtesy of Bonnacons Of Doom vocalist Kate Smith and a choir including Richard Dawson and Sally Pilikington. Musically, imagine the lysergic nightmare of The Stooges We Will Fall as well as latter period Swans, this makes for a welcome change of pace and tone and serves as the album’s ideal halfway point.
Mr Medicine, at the time of writing, is the album’s first preview track and also its shortest at a punchy two minutes twenty-seven. It’s quite a fun jam and definitely reminiscent of the band’s recent stripped-down, garage-punk style numbers, serving as a nice contrast to its more droning predecessor.
Pipe Down! (rude slang for instructing someone to be quiet) recalls Ty Segall’s acid/psych rock project Fuzz and Atlas Stone borrows from early Monster Magnet (John McBain era) and their heavy Hawkwind (again) influenced sounds that make for yet another space-rock/psych classic. Ball Lightning utilises the vocal talents of Cath Tyler in a track that one can only describe as doom-folk. A curious yet fitting conclusion to the album.
Land Of Sleeper achieves that difficult balance of tipping its hat to the band’s older doom metal past while still drawing from the more diverse fare of recent years. That they manage this so convincingly and effectively is a testament to Pigs x7 immense talents, resulting in a release well worthy of your attention and time.
Scribed by: Reza Mills