Just like the Texas-sized garbage heap drifting in the Pacific Ocean, Bloated Pig are an oasis of sludge in Calgary’s sea of extreme punk and metal bands. Since their 2005 formation, these groovy riff-kings have enjoyed being the odd men out – until now – in our heavy music community.
“We were always playing with punk bands and then we started playing with all extreme metal bands, and we’ve kind of just been neither,” says shade-wearing bassist Wolfsbane. The trio employ sunglasses and pseudonyms in a half-sarcastic attempt at anonymity.
This individualistic style, while allowing Bloated Pig to stand out in a trend-dominated metal culture, has led to some confusion in categorization, according to guitarist Al.
“They used to call us a southern rock band, how fucking offensive is that?”
“We call ourselves northern rock,” adds the laughing Wolfsbane.
“We’re from fucking Canada man, we can’t be southern rock, it’s geographically impossible.”
And now, in the midst of a stoner metal explosion both in Calgary and elsewhere, Bloated Pig are just as wary of flying the stoner flag.
“I like to get stoned all day, every day, don’t get me wrong,” jokes drummer Wil. “[But] I don’t consider us a stoner rock band, whatsoever.”
Despite this reluctance for label games, Wolfsbane admits that their new full-length, set for release on August 24, contains an enhanced heaviness, playing to the group’s doomier characteristics.
“Yeah this [album] is a little bit more doomy and I guess you might say stonery, at times.”
Produced by Ian Dillon of Electric Park Studio, who also helped organize the CD release show, the new album, Made for Hell, features maturation in the act’s writing with increased structural diversity as well as an ominous and experimental synth outro.
Not only are Bloated Pig producing what they consider to be their best work to date, but the sheer volume of new material has accelerated as well: Made for Hell represents the band’s second full-length release in as many years following 2011’s Ways To An Early Grave, and they already have a half-written EP, scheduled for recording in December.
This surging productivity stems from what Wolfsbane dubs a “singular vision” of the band’s three members who write, play and even live together, as well as an emphasis on studio work over live gigs.
“We’re not a band that tours all the time so why not be writing and putting out albums and make them better and better?” suggests Wil.
In terms of the overall tone of Bloated’s music and lyrical themes, which have remained largely constant throughout, all three agree on the adjective “crummy,” an intentionally sardonic understatement.
“Feeling crummy can be healthy in small doses,” chimes Wil, referring to the band’s bleaker elements.
“Just looking out your door and just not being impressed,” rephrases Wolfsbane.
The prospective album artwork penned by Danille Gauvin further illustrates Bloated Pig’s cynical outlook.
“This is kind of how we just view the whole world. We have our beliefs, and it’s an everyday life thing,” reveals Wolfsbane during a serious moment.
These beliefs centre around an anti-theist inclination and a mild dose of misanthropy, concepts typically delivered by extreme metal bands, not the high-octane hard rock Bloated Pig are known for.
“You don’t have to wear face paint or do blast beats to be involved in everything cult,” Wil interjects.
So it seems, Bloated Pig are condemned to walk the narrow path between ‘70s cult rock and satanic sludge, and will continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
“We’re putting out a fucking recording every year,” begins Al before the enthusiastic Wolfsbane cuts him off.
“Until they tell us we’re not allowed anymore!”
Bloated Pig’s album release show is on Friday, August 24 at the Distillery with World Class White Trash, Victimize, and Visceral Trance. Tickets are $15 at the door and include a copy of Made for Hell.
Words and photo by Ian LemkeAB, Alberta