Flesh, flesh, everywhere. This extended EP from Canadian hardcore group Fucked Up wallows in uncomfortable lyrical imagery and violent viscerality. Although the title song comes padded out with four extra tracks that stick closer to the traditional hardcore sound, there is no doubt that the 18-minute pig is the prize specimen on display here. And what a beast it is: demented, squealing, covered in shit and properly scary.
Proceedings start innocuously, with guest vocalist Jennifer Castle singing over a waltzing Hammond organ motif. After a few minutes of this, regular vocalist Pink Eyes drops into the mix (yes, he is named after the infection you get when you don’t wipe your bum properly, then accidently touch your eyes. Sure another one of them is called Concentration Camp). Pink Eyes sings like Tom Waits on steroids, huge phlegmridden growls and heckles, low register burps and barks. The words he spits into a building guitar maelstrom come thick and heavy with nihilistic pig-related metaphors. Blood runs freely, bones are sucked dry, corpses pile high, humans get fat, pigs get eaten, the apocalypse arrives.
What is it all about? It’s hard to untangle such bleak abstraction, really. The song seems to rail against all human life. Not since Nirvana’s in Utero, or the Manic Street Preachers’ The Holy Bible has State heard something this brutal and despairing outside of death metal. With The Year Of The Pig, Fucked Up have completely progressed outside the boundaries of the hardcore genre, with a stunning song that is as forward looking as it is vicious.