PIG IRON at Hard Rock Hell VI – Live Review


We admit it. We love Pig Irön. They kinda summarize all we like about sweat-soaked blues rock. They sound fuzzy – like vintage Sabbath. But they also sound clawingly metallic – like early Zeppelin. The most important thing is, they really know how to write songs. They have gradually matured – like a fine bourbon – and continue to deliver the goods.

Pig Iron’s 2010’s “Blues+Power=Destiny” CD was described as “Bloody brilliant… simply a great album” by Powerplay magazine. Filled with “Glorious riffage… crushingly heavy” according to KERRANG!, and by Classic Rock magazine as “Biker Metal Extraordinaire”, which they were able to demonstrate in front of 10,000 Hells Angels at last year’s Bulldog Bash festival.

Pig Iron have now returned with a fresh studio album; ‘Pig Iron: IV’ released on the new hard rock and heavy metal label, HEAR NO EVIL recordings. Distributed by Cherry Red records. Their new sound features ax-slinger Dan Edwards, and announces a return to the bluesiest roots of the band, with more of that familiar wailing harmonica. It is a sound that Classic Rock once described as “Big Rock…”

Starting out dramatically at Hard Rock Hell with ‘The Tide Within’ from the new album, the band maximized tension gradually, building up the song with stupefying increases in time and heat. A voice claws at the grate, creating key emotional tensions in your heart. And the guitar advocates for attention. In the end, the voice gives way to the low bounce of the bass (Hugh Gilmour) and those feverish guitars. This song ends with a hymn full of texture, as the song seems to ascend to heaven along a smoky spiral staircase of sounds.


Then ‘Hitch’ had those big yawning riffs that seem to extend endlessly into space. And drums that thrum, with a type of strutting rhythm that makes your neck spasm and your blood vessels flick. A cross stitch of guitars and rumbling bass-notes added force to this insane party feast . Then the vocals contributed their unmistakable throaty gravel to the mix of sand. And we got nearer to that blues-rock heaven that we (in our hearts) hope we will eventually visit one day. The HRH crowd sang the “Pony and ride …” chorus. All together. It was almost religious.

After another new number ‘Diggin’ in the Well’ we went back in time for the supreme number ‘Hellacious Days’. The salacious dirty harmonica tones (Johnny Ogle) in this song sum up what Pig Iron are all about. Unctuous, smoky bright blues, set against a lasciviously hard rock landscape. The undulating rhythm is enough to slip you off the ledge, and into an immoral sunset . But, before you fall into the sweat pit, you had better alert your ears to a sudden change of pace. A blistering attack on your auricles causes your brain to become unhinged. The throttle-fast harp – along with the intensely smooth guitar – maximizes your reaction. Oh god. This is good.

Finishing off with ‘Lord Kill the Pain’ with its anguished whining and scurrying percussion, and the required singalong chorus … the band gave a solid performance of genius and intensity. This is a blues song, properly agonising. Sung from the dying heart . And the song went with us, down in our roots, as we stumbled happily from the dance floor. Slightly dazed!

What a band! What a show…

-© Neil_Mach December 2012 –




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