Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs: King of Cowards review – pulverising but accessible metal

Rocket Recordings

Pigsx7’s is a world of downtuned doom in which no riff is too monolithic, no chord progression too bludgeoning. They sound as if they should be caught between the conflicting urges to hit a massive bong or go out on choppers. In fact, they’re a perfectly unbikery-looking quintet from Newcastle upon Tyne, longtime participants in that city’s music scene (two of them play live with the brilliant Richard Dawson) who have suddenly and unexpectedly broken the surface with this project, in which 70s heavy metal is played both straight and as some kind of art project.

Their second album is rather more accessible than last year’s debut, Feed the Rats, in relative terms at least. Where that had only three tracks, two of them more than a quarter of an hour long, this one offers six, and none break the nine-minute mark. It’s more sonically expansive: on Feed the Rats, all the instruments sounded as if they were recorded on top of each other, in the world’s loudest broom cupboard, but there’s rather more space to breathe this time round. That doesn’t reduce the effect of the riffs: they’re still pulverising, but now they sound like an advancing storm front rather than as if you’ve been trapped in a sudden downpour. I’d love to tell you about the lyrics – sin is apparently a big theme – but they’re largely obscured by the guttural bellow of singer Matt Baty. Still. It’s hard not to hail the magnificence of a group who name the album’s centrepiece track A66, though they’re probably thinking of the Middlesbrough end rather than having afternoon tea in Cockermouth.

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