When I first properly encountered Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (or PigsX7 for brevity) it was as they were preparing to release their third record, Viscerals, and they visited Guernsey to play a show at St. James and put on a set I can really only describe as a sonic kick in the face.
Now, after a few years gaining an even bigger reputation off the back of Viscerals, they are back with Land Of Sleeper.
Even before putting the CD in the player (or the vinyl on the turntable depending on you media of preference) this one strikes a mood with some excellent artwork by Callum Rooney that combines aspects of Gilliam, Scarfe and Steadman in the way of many classic heavy and psychedelic records of the past.
This sense of the past is something that runs through the whole record as it’s clear the band’s influences stretch back to the earliest days of hard rock and heavy metal in the late 60s and early 70s, but without ever feeling dated.
From the off Land Of Sleeper is once again an intense storm of all encompassing heaviness with riffs for days and Matthew Baty’s vocals coming out like Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman at his most intense.
After the heaviness of Ultimate Hammer and Terror’s Pillow, Big Rig somehow manages to add a riff reminiscent of Ocean Colour Scene into a six and half minute track that plays with speed and tempo in spectacular fashion with some hyper speed psyche rubbing up against crushingly slow doom.
The first half ends with The Weatherman which adds a kind of shamanic, and possibly demonic, chanting to the formula creating an atmosphere as enticing as it is unsettling.
The second half of the record doesn’t let up and gives us more of the same but without ever feeling same-y as the band seem intent on throwing a little bit of everything into their heady mix with bass, guitars, drums and vocals all coming together to create textures as much as anything with moments of voice coming to the fore to keep you clued in as to what is going on here.
In the lyrics it comes with a feel of sitting alongside the likes of IDLES and Sleaford Mods in having a social conscience, even if PigsX7 have a rather different way of expressing it.
This I think is what has helped the band find the crossover success they have with interest for the more mainstream end of radio, such as BBC 6 Music.
Similarly they often seem to look more like a modern indie/punk band, even if they never really sound like one, but the tone and production is just clean enough to cut through to a wider audience while still keeping a lo-fi edge for the heavy purists.
While Land Of Sleeper clearly wears its influences on its sleeve, with hints of Mastodon and High On Fire along with Electric Wizard, Motörhead and even Black Sabbath present, it is possibly PigsX7’s most identifiably ‘them’ record yet and sees them sounding more assured and confident in themselves than ever (and they’d hardly been short on that front before) making for something this is quintessentially British in tone while having layers that reveal themselves over multiple listens and is, quite possibly, the quintessential Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs album.
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