Raymond Watts has been Pig for a long time, and on
Pigmata it shows. Consumed in a vacuum, the album is a solid
work of gritty intensity utilizing the skills Watts has acquired over
the course of his long career, which includes collaborations with
industrial luminaries such as KMFDM. Heard in the context of
Pig's lengthy discography, though, Pigmata shows signs of treading
water - or, perhaps, given Watts' preference in lyrical imagery, shooting
up from the same needle one too many times.
Like Pig's last album, Genuine American Monster (2002), Pigmata
mostly alternates between one-word song titles ("Reject,"
"Take," "Junky") and tripled alliteration ("Suck
Spit Shit," "Vitriol Vice And Virtue"). Over a generally
midtempo beat, simple distorted guitar riffs and moody synthesizer
lines back Watts' chant-like tales of degradation. But again, like
the previous album, Pigmata avoids monotony and reveals the
breadth of Watts' sonic capacity by throwing occasional curveballs,
from the Aphex Twin-like beats that open "Kundalini"
to the truly bizarre "On The Slaughterfront," which opens
with female vocals over a light R'n'B shuffle, then launches into
a perverse, gravel-throated rap in which Watts sounds like nothing
so much as Tom Waits covering Green Jello's "Three
Little Pigs." As if that weren't enough, the track features a
surprisingly tasteful saxophone solo that seems to have wandered in
from one of Morphine's noir-drenched sagas. If its title is
about as clever as, say, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, "On
The Slaughterfront" does beat Genuine American Monster's
parallel effort at wordplay, "A Fete Worse Than Death."
But it's an undeniably gripping tune, surviving its shock appeal to
sustain repeated listens. With more of its ilk, Pigmata coulda
been a contender, so to speak.
As is, this is the kind of album that offers few surprises, "Slaughterhouse"
duly excepted. Watts can't be faulted too much for doing what he does
best, and Pig changes things up more than the Ramones ever
did; which didn't stop them from (deservedly) attaining legendary
status. Tracks like "Filth Healer" might sound exactly like
you'd expect them to, but if you know Pig, those expectations are
1. Suck Spit Shit
2. Here To Stay
6. Vitriol Vice and Virtue
8. Arbor Vitae
9. Stage Slut
11. God Rod
12. On The Slaughterfront
13. Filth Healer
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