Pigs are getting a bit of bad press at the moment, what with swine flu terrifying the whole world and making us feel that MASS DEATH IS IMMINENT!!!11!!!1 It's probably not the best time to be sporting trotters, but now, just to make things even worse for pigs, they've got Gallows to worry about as well.
While I did love the first Gallows album, Orchestra of Wolves, and think that they're a brilliant, visceral live act, I have to say that Grey Britain - a "very scathing economical, social, political, historical review of the world to date" according to singer Frank Carter - sounds like it's going to be a bit, well, wanky in it's '4 REAL' insistences. If not wanky, at least a bit pretentious. It's album on which, apparently "nothing is fake". Including the sound of a dying pig. Nice.
Although, is it real? It's difficult to tell. At first, in a video interview on the NME website (available here), the band claimed that they rocked up to a Halal slaughterhouse and recorded the sound of this poor swine's dying breath as a sample to be used on the album. I'm not sure why the sound of a dying pig is relevant to a song (even if pigs are "a recurring theme on the album") and, if I'm being honest, my first thoughts were more along the lines of "euw, gross!" rather than "wow, that's dedication!"
But that wasn't a popular thing to have said, despite Carter's claims that "it's special" (it really isn't; it's just a dying animal). PETA, top of every farmyard creature's speed-dial list, issued a statement saying that the sample is likely to turn many listeners vegetarian. Personally, I think I'd just be turning the song off, but you never can tell how others will react, and apparently PEA have received lots of requests for vegetarian 'starter kits' since Gallows made their claims. A bit extreme, perhaps; I just thought it would sound a bit icky. And now my curiosity's piqued as to what's in a vegetarian starter kit.
Even though they're well punk rock and all that, and so should love pissing off all those wimpy squeamish souls, the band seemed pretty keen to do a handy little backtrack at this point. They issued a statement of their own in response: the sample was simply found on the internet, and the band were not present at its recording.
"We do not want to upset our fans who we consider intelligent enough to realise we didn't kill a pig or any other kind of animal to achieve the sounds on Grey Britain" - so why bother making the claims in the first place, espeically if they're not true? Surely upsetting people was the point? or is the latter statement the falsehood? Who knows. As Tim Jonze fantastically summed it up on Twitter: "Don't worry, that wasn't Frank screaming live...it was actually recorded from a live stoning in Iran."
If you're now worried about the authenticity of Grey Britain as a whole, fear not. Gallows even made sure that they traced the sample to Spain, "where they still use inhumane forms of slaughter." Because obviously potential animal cruelty is fine to be used, as long as it's at a few steps' remove.
Ooh, it's all so mysterious and 'edgy'. Or all lies. It just reeks, to me, of a cheap publicity stunt to drum up some interest about the album. Which is never a good sign.
Gallows - Abandon Ship