Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Land of Sleeper
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs have just unleashed their fourth album on the world, Land of Sleeper, via Rocket Recordings. The band, who we’ve described before as “stoner/psych/doom noise kings,” hails from Newcastle upon Tyne in the North of England and haven’t released a full-length record since 2020’s Viscerals (with the exception of 2021’s Off Cuts, a vinyl-only collection of live studio versions of previous releases). This much-anticipated totally new record brings the thunderous madness Pigs x 7 fans have come to crave, while also showing off how the band’s sound continues to evolve. Land of Sleeper deftly demonstrates that this raucous quintet can bring on the doom metal of their early albums just as fiercely as they can blast through some of their more recent stripped-down songs. Not an easy feat to pull off such a diversity of sounds and influences in one album, and that’s what makes Land of Sleeper so satisfying.
“Ultimate Hammer,” the opening track, catapults the listener into a heavy psych dream state, with guitarists Adam Ian Sykes and Sam Grant conjuring up a storm of guitar thunder that threatens to carry you away into the ether. Frontman and vocalist Matt Baty’s lyrics also suggest dreams (or nightmares) and an Icarus-like propulsion toward the sun: “I will admit that I’m frightened by the speed / and turbulence needed to fly around the sun / I keep spinning out / What a time to be alive.” The band shot a very psychedelic video for the song featuring rainbow auras, flashing colored lights, and the glitter of smashed glass flying.
The state of the world over the past three years has also possibly contributed to the themes of existential dread present in some of these songs, although Baty admits that he was quite comfortable diving into the darkness before the pandemic. On the Pigs x 7 Bandcamp page, Baty confesses, “Shouting about themes of existential dread comes very naturally to me, and I think because I’m aware of that, in the past I’ve tried to rein that in a little. [But], there’s definitely moments on this album where I took my gloves off and surrendered to that urge.”
The release into doom feels tangible in “Terror’s Pillow,” where Baty’s full-throated rumblings and groans seem to take on the voice of a monster taking control, as the band thrashes through below, with John Michael Hedley’s relentless bassline and Ewan McKenzie, the band’s original drummer (now back in the fold after a four year hiatus), smashing the kit. Grant, who produced the album in addition to his prowess on guitar, describes the heavier tracks like “Terror’s Pillow” as more of a response to the band’s earlier work instead of a reflection of current events who says their aim was “more as a counterpoint to earlier material, as opposed to any sort of political or social commentary. I still very much see these heavier moments as musically euphoric, and emotionally cut loose or liberating.”
However, the euphoria is still present in Land of Sleeper’s more garage-punk offerings as well, such as the high-energy “Mr. Medicine.” Baty’s lyrics here are joyous and celebratory: “When did I begin / To fall in love again? / That song you sang to me / Made me strong and completely / Fearless.” “Mr. Medicine” also has a hilarious video directed by Wilm Danby that makes glorious fun of various doom metal tropes, with the band rocking out in a sparkling Stonehenge dreamscape, with tiny bats flying down to feast on Baty’s brain (the top of his skull is gone at that point) and a strange monster sent by the moon that rips Baty’s head off. Maybe this is Mr. Medicine? Who knows? Who cares? The song rocks you to your core without taking itself too seriously, and that’s really the beauty of Pigs x 7.
Land of Sleeper also boasts some exciting (and surprising) guest artists that help Pigs x 7 explore new musical realms. Folk singer Cath Tyler is featured on the album’s final track, the Sabbath-esque “Ball Lightning” melding with Baty for a kind of doom-folk duet. Bonnacons of Doom vocalist Kate Smith weaves ominous chanting through “The Weatherman,” the album’s longest (and slowest) track. She adds an eerie feeling to the quiet haunting dirge in between the massively heavy moments of the song which also features a choir that includes Richard Dawson and Sally Pilkington from the wonky-pop duo Bulbils. Baty shares about the lyrics “This one presented an opportunity for me to do something completely unbridled. I wanted to surrender to the weight of the song, so the lyrics came about in much the same way I imagine a frenzied artist might throw paint at a canvas. I just wanted the lyrics to present an uncontrollable energy.”
The wait for Land of Sleeper was long (and understandable), but this exciting new album from Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs shows that they have many other musical dreams and nightmares to hurl at us. In support of the album, the band will soon kick off a huge tour that will see them wind through North America, the UK, and Europe. The tour lands here in NYC on March 11th at St. Vitus and you can be we’ll have more soon about the live show. In the meantime, get Land of Sleeper in your ears and let the somnambulant frenzy begin.
Land of Sleeper is out now via Rocket Recordings and available on all major streaming platforms.