Reviewed: December 2020
Released: 2020 Bizarre Leprous Production
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
So last month it was “Swedish Beaver Grind,” this month its “Pig Metal” by way of the Czech Republic. And once again, just when you think you’ve seen or heard it all, the extreme metal world urps up another surprise.
Incredibly, Pigsty have been at it since the late ‘90s – though they have been largely silent since 2009. But the band glommed onto a “pigs in space” – or “PIIIIGS IIIN SPAAAAAAAACE!!!” for any of you who remember the recurring Muppets Show sketch – schtick with 2005’s fittingly titled Pigs Are Back album. This after the mishmash of slasher, weed and sex anthems on its predecessor, The Return. Not sure if that’s an improvement, but whatever.
Anyway, the band – actually a duo of vocalist Topi and instrumentalist Otyn – genuinely “returns” with Pig Blood, a seven-track EP that takes its “Pig Metal” conceit and mashes it up with “The Omen” movie thematics, for some reason. But as was the case with the Belarus Beaver referenced above, Pigsty are certainly no slouches when it comes to the music or its delivery.
With Pig Blood, the band offers a grandiose, almost symphonic blackened grind/death metal – though peppered with legit pig squeals, at least on “The Arrival,” and not the “pig squeal” vocals one often associates with brutal death metal – that is surprisingly sophisticated and very well executed. I shit you not.
The EP is as elaborate as it is brutal, borrowing plenty of Omen movie dialogue and effects and lathering on opulent chorales and film score instrumentation to offset the band’s death metal pummel. Indeed, at times, it’s as if Pigsty were providing an alternate soundtrack to the film. But it somehow works, coming off sounding a bit like Fleshgod Apocalypse, but with less technical inclinations.
The music here is very heavy, with a pronounced bottom end and the guitars tuned to ball-crushing lows lending added ammunition to Topi’s commanding gutturals and shrieks. And all of this makes the orchestral contrasts and various snippets that much more jarring and effective. It’s a curious, but clever mix, and these guys are able to pull it out without it sounding like a dumb joke. And hats off them for that.