PIG EYES, the side project of Henke Palm from In Solitude, is a not a darker turn for Palm considering the direction the band went with “Sister,” but it approaches darkness from a much different angle. This angle is offset by a gnarly bass tone that’s a prominent factor to the shadowy side of their sound. It opens with a fuzzy take on modern punk. The vocals are screamed in rather typical faux British accent. Almost doom-tinged riffs lurk like a troll under the bridge of the opening song. The lyrics take some effort to make out; there is something about revolution in there, leaving anti-establishment disillusion as the topic of the day. So they are leaving the esoteric leanings to In Solitude.
The album sheds a layer of it’s punk skin as it slithers deeper into its cave. The jangle of the guitar in “Black Path, Clear Spot” wants to make it known that they are not a metal band. There’s way more of a wink in the direction of the Jesus Lizard than Mercyful Fate going on here. This puts the band in a similar sonic zip code as a band like Pop 1280. The vocals on “Black Path, Clear Spot” find a more melodic moan against the chilling wall of guitar, filled with wobbly effects in all the right places, to create a melody in the background that sounds like it’s right out of a pulp horror movie from the 60’s. The guitar tightens up into a more Fugazi-oriented groove on “Up the River”. The bassist and the two drummers lock into another like puzzle pieces to give the song the needed push. The element of two drums is used mainly to thicken the sound, similar to the approach Kylesa takes with this. At seven minutes, this instrumental is doing something right to keep me engaged. Though I prefer songs like “Silver Dad”, where the crazed spewing of the vocalist adds a chaotic narrative – as “Sliver Dad” builds, it sounds like he is having a nervous breakdown.
On “Warlord,” it sounds like the band recycles one of the riff’s from “Sister”. It’s a good song, but the fact that this element figures in so heavily is somewhat of a distraction. The “Edge of Seventeen”-feel makes this one of the most straight up rock ‘n roll songs on the album. The album closes with the pt. 2 of “Up the River”. This is also the first song that bears any likeness to Joy Division. Some of this is in the monotone drone of the vocals. The same doomish vibe coats this song.The drums take a lingers pulse rather than establish more of a beat as the song hypnotically drives the point home. If you are a fan of In Solitude this album might not be what you expected, but it’s sonically heavy with an eerie ambiance that draws you in. The rock ‘n roll in punk rock is underlined at times, but the song writing is well balanced and nothing seems glaringly out of place. Going into the winter months, this provides a suited soundtrack for the coming gloom.