Playing York on a Monday night was never going to see the venue packed out, but as one might expect, a double-header with two cult acts was always going to attract a passionate crowd. With the headliners playing in rotation, It’s PIG on last on tonight, and Glasgow’s Seraph Sin are the act charged with the task of warming things up. Their brand of metal-edged industrial rock may be a shade obvious in its execution, but they deliver some solid riffage and look – and sound – suitably menacing, while also delivering some discernible choruses.
Mortiis may be synonymous with prosthetics and theatrical black metal, but the return of Håvard Ellefsen’s project after a lengthy break reveals – and reveals is the word – a more direct, and more brutal incarnation of Mortiis, unmasked and on the attack. Unsurprisingly, tonight’s set draws heavily on material from ‘The Great Deceiver’, and that’s no bad thing: it’s a strong album which showcases an intense, abrasive sound. The album’s opener, ‘The Great Leap’ is both typical and a standout on the set with its pounding Ministry-esque assault, a mesh of grating guitar noise against a thunderous, high-tempo crash of drums.
Ellefsen is an interesting performer: he burns with a blistering intensity, and overall, the band, daubed in smeared corpse paint, look as scary as hell, but between the songs, his thanks are polite and sincere. This is high art, and it’s also well-executed.
It’s been 23 years since the mighty PIG played the UK, and that was as support to Nine Inch Nails on their Downward Spiral Tour. They’ve released a fair few albums since then, and taken a break of almost a decade, before returning with ‘The Gospel’, which provides the focus of tonight’s set. Being one of the band’s more accessible, song-orientated albums, it makes for a punchy set, and Raymond Watts – a sprawling mass of lanky limbs – leads a band of staggering pedigree, featuring as it does KMFDM legends En Esch and Gunter Schultz through a strong set with a showmanship that’s something special.
Delving into the back-catalogue to deliver blinding renditions of ‘Serial Killer Thriller’ and ‘Wrecked’, it’s a killer set delivered with a knowing balance of theatricality and in-yer-face sleaze-groove. Given their heredity, PIG invite comparisons to NIN and classic-era Wax Trax! Equally, there are elements of Foetus in the mix, but ultimately, PIG are a unique sonic proposition and equally, a live act who offer something beyond the ordinary.