PIGSX7 OXFORD GIG APRIL 10, 2019. HERE’S WARM-UP REVIEW #2
- Psychopomp 15.06
- Sweet Relief 4.39
- Icon 17.00
Look at those numbers. Look at the bloody LENGTH of it. Exciting, eh? Especially when you’ve already capitulated to Pigsx7’s debut release The Wizard and the Seven Swines, which is itself a 22-minute purge of damaged psyche and slamming riffs.
Debut full album Feed the Rats looks like it does a similar thing, even before you play it. This is a Good Sign because Wizard’s stretched-out scorch was a win win win win win win win. Can Rats match it?
With Psychopomp, you don’t have time to think about that – straight in with a no messing, bam-bam-bam riff and Baty in immediate full vocal hurl. It’s an abrupt, Pigsx7-style wake-up that picks up exactly where The Wizard and The Seven Swines disintegrated.
Thing is, your head tells you it’ll calm into a purer Sabbath-influenced groove
no chance. Psychopomp shakes that kind of lame-o conditioning right out, and Pigsx7 aren’t Sabbath knock-offs anyway, are they? Too rough, too jam-based, too psyche/d. You sense that, like it is for many of us, Year Zero for direct heavy influences is somewhere in the 90s at the noisier, more ragged end of the desert/psyche/drone scenes.
Psychopomp rams all that stuff together in a quart-hour charge: early Desert Sessions twists (flickers of Fatso Jetson?), Heads-like space-rock afterburn, Kong-sized mega riffs (six minutes in, ‘kin HELL) and brief Boris-worshipping ponderosa are all there, shoved in a bag and dragged without care up a northern peak. Bruising. By the time you reach pomp’s end you’ve had four minutes of squalling heavy charge and galactic wah. Fucking magic.
Did that meet expectations?
‘course it did. We know what we’re getting by now. Sweet Relief does what it says, but it’s relief in length only. Rammed with tarmac-splitting bounce, it shoves you through to a storm-force battering from all sides.
The beyond-massive Icon starts with a riff classick, Baty gets buried by guitar leads, the rhythm’s uber-tight and we’re caked in Pigs glory all over again – an over-amplified shitstorm you don’t wanna leave. The last five minutes is pained repeat and jarring battery:
“HOLD ME ….
ICON ….. FESS”
Meaning? Dunno. But the lyrical fragments that come through match the music’s exhale, and even without knowing the words, Baty’s delivery gushes existential.
In a 2018 round-up, buzzed by the enormity of King of Cowards, I wrote that Feed the Rats perhaps didn’t quite match The Wizard and the Seven Swines. Wrong. The Wizard crash landed from nowhere and had surprise on its side. Feed the Rats had summat to live up to and it went for the Full Ugly: gut-busting endurance with a soul-cleansing pay-off.
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. Worth repeating: it’s physical.
- File next to Gnod, Sleep, The Heads, Part Chimp, Drore, Rollins Band, early daze Monster Magnet
- Feed the Rats: released 2017 on Rocket Recordings, get it on Bandcamp
- No time for a King of Cowards review before the gig, so we’ll see you on the other side. Unless Shockmaster bulldozers us first (pleeease)