War Pigs

This album is one fucking weird cocktail of styles. Stoner rock mixed with a vocalist similar to John Joseph (Cro-Mags) and tiny touches of crust added in for good measure. As I judged this book by its cover I thought I was in for a d-beat treat, mainly because the cover art and layout are all done in black and white, but that was quickly dismissed during the first riff in the first track which is some semi-weak COC meeting Fu Manchu style nonsense. A lot of the riffing seems to go absolutely nowhere, but when the singer kicks in the energy level is upped across the board and honestly he salvages this release for me. As he is a stand alone vocalist (he plays no instrument) I hope his surrounding bandmates realize what he has added to their otherwise mundane material and perhaps they should up the ante themselves to match his intensity.

I don’t know how familiar the world is with my homegrown local boys on the rise Freedom Hawk (Meteor City Records), but similarity between the 2 bands guitar tones is noticeable, however FH smoke War Pigs in the songwriting department. At their best War Pigs riffs might rival Alabama Thunderpussy , but at their worst they are mining modern Zakk Wylde territory. The labels bio compares the band with timeless acts like Sabbath, Bad Brains and MC5, but my ass, this ain’t in that league.

All the players on hand appear to be able to do goo d shit on their respective tools, but I get a vibe these dudes may not have gelled yet, because I refuse to believe they can not come up with more compelling material. They either need to fatten up their sound and get mean like the singer or at least play at the more up tempo that he seems most comfortable with. My frustration is in the fact that I believe all the parts and hearts are in place to make something I can really get with, but on Degeneration I feel they are at least one album and 2 years away from that unfolding.

I will wrap this review up with an obvious but mundane complaint. They named this album Degeneration. Is that a shout-out to the shitty movie Airheads? Or Reagan Youth (who had done that song originally)? With tracks titled “Evil Woman Blues” and “Breathing Fire”, I’d really like to see these boys clever it up a bit more too.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Ben Hogg
June 29th, 2009


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