PIG
The Gospel


2.5
average

Review

by Polyethylene USER (23 Reviews)
October 10th, 2016 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All gristle and no meat, The Gospel is a frustrating disappointment.

I wanted to love this album. I really, really did.

PIG, aka Raymond Watts, aka the Lord of Lard, aka the Mighty Swine, aka a bunch of other self-given titles, is an industrial musician who has brought me much listening pleasure in the past. His stage persona is that of some depraved, id-driven antichrist, taking the sex and drugs and filth that clogs an inner city gutter and channeling it into industrial rock. Think of Trent Reznor at his most odious, and you won't be too far off.

While I've never properly delved into PIG's scattered solo discography, he has had numerous collaborations with German industrial rock outfit KMFDM over the years. As KMFDM are one of my all-time favourite bands, I've listened to Raymond's voice for innumerable hours before. His guttural growls and croons have been the gritty icing on the cake for a number of my favourite KMFDM songs. Listen to the exhilarating 'Ultra', the anthemic 'Juke Joint Jezebel', the sleazy 'Disgust', the soaring 'Disobedience' or the thunderous 'Kickin' Ass' to hear Raymond bring his distinct brand of bilious hedonism to a song, and elevate it to another level. My more pretentious nature has me think of KMFDM songs as being like industrial-strength ships, sturdy leviathans wrought of metal that churn proudly and rhythmically forward. Raymond can play the captain to great effect, draping himself provocatively over every beam and pole, rallying his crew members through lewd and drunken cries. When Raymond's voice is partnered with strong hooks and soulful feminine vocals, you have an irresistible mix of bile and honey, heaven and hell.

Heralded as a triumphant comeback record, I thought new album The Gospel would be as good a means as any to break into Raymond Watts' solo output. Unfortunately, this album serves as overwhelming evidence that PIG's shtick only works in the context of other people's music. Lacking the songwriting polish of Sascha Konietzko or En Esch, Raymond opts instead to throw half-written guitar riffs and other splatters of sound together into a gritty mess. There's claps and choirs and guitars and synthesisers. Few of these sounds stick, and fewer still compliment one another. The results are often intriguing, but rarely much fun.

Church bells usher in opening track 'Diamond Sinners', one of the album's better moments. Over a grinding industrial groove, Raymond growls the fearsome chorus "Hallelujah, Hallelujah, the drunken devil is speaking through ya." The line, both in content and delivery, is quintessential Raymond. Unfortunately, without a KMFDM diva vocalist such as Dorona Alberti to serve as his foil, PIG's lust-filled snarls quickly grow tiresome. KMFDM are a band that take conflicting ingredients - rock riffs and electronic beats, masculine voices and feminine ones, dissonance and melody, the goofy and the sinister - and play them off each other to thrilling effect. With only his own meagre bag of tricks to work with, PIG begins flailing and squealing very early on in this album.

Almost every inch of this record is drenched in Raymond's rasping, masculine voice. If his voice had range, or his porcine persona was enough to carry such an underwritten album, perhaps my feelings towards it would be warmer. Unfortunately, everything is a homogenous smear of sex and pork and sweat and filth, with not nearly enough depth or detail to make it worthwhile. It's all gristle, and no meat.

It seems a little pointless to talk about individual tracks, when they almost all play out the same. However, there are a few moments that stand out from the grime. 'The Fly Upon The Pin' features crumbling acoustic guitar and melancholy vocals, before locking into a pulverising groove of synth bass and mechanical percussion. It is the album's most interesting moment, and the closest it gets to three-dimensionality of mood or structure. Also of note is 'Viva Evil', which appears to be a rework of an earlier PIG song, the cracking Nihil-era KMFDM throwback 'Evil Does.' Unfortunately, the strongest asset of 'Evil Does' was easily its buzzsaw riff that kicked in halfway through the track. Here, the once delectable guitar line has been glitched and disjointed into a third-rate impression of what Trent Reznor was doing on Year Zero. To hear PIG butcher what should have been The Gospel's defining moment is frustrating, to say the very least.

That isn't to say this album is devoid of any redeeming features. It has energy in spades, and as many abrasive industrial textures as one could dream of having, albeit inconsistent and disorganised ones. Raymond also has an ability to pleasantly recall some classic KMFDM moments, such as the "oh whoah whoah" vocals on 'Mercy Murder' that sound so very much like those on 'Revolution'.

As such, I'm awarding this album a generous five out of ten. I would sooner point you in the direction of KMFDM classics like Nihil, Angst and Naive, and leave this album to the diehards.



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user ratings (10)
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
KevinKC (4)
PIG is back in great shape but minus the heaviness...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Polyethylene
October 10th 2016


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hey pig, piggy, pig, pig, pig... all of my fears came true

Rolling Girl
October 10th 2016


2028 Comments


Good review, except gristle is the best part of just about any meat.

Polyethylene
October 10th 2016


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't eat meat lol I'm not really an authority on choice cuts or meat consumption at all

KevinKC
October 10th 2016


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Well, I disagree. And I think you allow yourself to be particularly unfair. A sentence like "It seems a little pointless to talk about individual tracks, when they almost all play out the same" really is just plain false and very unappreciative of one of the main quality of the album.

You sound a lot like someone who wanted this album to be Nihil part 2 and who would have disliked anything different. And I understand how you could be disappointed when this album is everything but a KMFDM release.

But when you say something like : "That isn't to say this album is devoid of any redeeming features. [...] Raymond also has an ability to pleasantly recall some classic KMFDM moments." Well, you say it all. Relisten to Nihil and leave the Gospel alone.

And I too am frustrated that KMFDM and Watts haven't worked together for years and I'm uselessly crossing my fingers for the 2017 release. It was never said that Sasha and Raymond had had an argument, so they could totally work together on something(Although I have the feeling it would already be done by now).

Polyethylene
October 10th 2016


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The comparisons to KMFDM are very much relevant to my analysis, because I am familiar with PIG as an artist via KMFDM, so that's my point of reference. I also felt obliged to compare the two because I find Raymond's shtick to work wonders in the context of their music, and to fizzle on this album. I'd do the same comparison with any musician I was first introduced to as a member of a collective, e.g. a Beatles member going solo.



I really feel that KMFDM is a banquet of different flavours, and none of its constituent parts work as well in isolation. That's why KMFDM have been patchy as hell since En Esch and Guenter left. I think En Esch and Guenter have made great music as Slick Idiot, but I'd be lying if I said it was anywhere near as good as when they all worked together. These guys need each other.

KevinKC
October 10th 2016


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

You're only explaining to me how biased you are.

Imagine that The Gospel wasn't Raymond Watts work. It'd be a good surprise for you. You'd be praising the singing, the ominousness, the groove, the climaxes etc... and overlooking the flaws

But it's Raymond Watts and you're judging the album as if it was the new KMFDM and yeah, it would be a disappointment from this point of view, because that's not what we want from KMFDM.

You're judging the album on the basis of what it isn't, not on what it is.

And keep in mind that you have it at 2.5, I wouldn't be saying all this if you were only underestimating it a little bit.

It's really really not a 2.5.



Polyethylene
October 10th 2016


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Would I be praising it though? My points about his limited vocal range, mediocre songwriting and how tired his shtick gets... those would all still stand.



This album just straight up doesn't sound good half the time. The songs aren't that inspired, none of the beats or riffs are particularly catchy. Why, I think if it wasn't Raymond's work and I didn't have positive associations with him already, I would have rated this harsher.

KevinKC
October 10th 2016


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Anyway. Goodnight.





Digmecolder01
March 21st 2018


1 Comments


It doesn’t really seem like you are qualified in the slightest to write a review for this album... I’m not saying you must like this album but, a little prior knowledge of the artist’s background and long career, solo or otherwise, would have certainly helped. KMFDM is clearly what you wanted this to be (despite my personal opinion that KMFDM has not been good in years) and drawing that comparison over and over just negates your credibility that much more. It goes beyond an album you just didn’t particularly favor and stretches towards an ignorant approach in writing for music. Raymond Watts was a great extension for KMFDM to utilize but, he clearly had his own vision and path to follow... you circumventing that path and arriving at an opinion on what he brings to the table musically as a talent or artist, is doing that artist a disservice.

y87arrow
October 8th 2018


711 Comments


I wish someone makes a review of Praise The Lard. That was a great album and always gets me in the mood of playing SNES games like F-Zero and others.

This album here has only 4 votes but 2 reviews.



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