The period since Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs 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 – indeed Dawson himself guests on their latest album King Of Cowards, both on synth and as part of a vocal ensemble on the opening GNT – moreover, guitarist Sam Grant has been working hard on a new incarnation of Blank Studios, which began its life with the recording of this very album.
King Of Cowards 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 longdrawn-out riff-fests sharpened into addictive hammer blows and the nihilistic dirges of yore alchemically transformed into an uplifting and inviting barrage of hedonistic abandon.
Against all odds, the writing of this record entailed encounters with actual pigs. “We hired a remote, converted barn in the Italian countryside and spent a week there writing the bulk of the album and trying to make friends with wild boar.” notes Adam Ian Sykes. “The results are shorter, more concise songs with, I guess, a little more focus, especially thematically. We wanted to shift slightly from our old jam-based way of working. In places, the album gets darker than Feed the Rats, especially lyrically but we also tried to get a fair amount of levity in there.”
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” So George Orwell noted at the end of a certain slim volume. King Of Cowards is nothing less than just such a metamorphosis, one in which – in a blur of primal urges and beastly physicality – this band shows us just which animalsare really in charge of the farm.
- The Wizard and the Seven Swines
- Sweet Relief
- Cake Of Light