Photos by Gary Anderson
Review by Peter Karoly

It scares me, but I am starting to sound a bit like my mother. I am starting to think that things used to be so much easier in the good old days, the days before life got so fast and complicated. Back in the days when rock 'n' roll was all we had and, no matter how it sounded, it fell under the one category and our parents didn't like it.

Now there are so many different genres of rock. Most of the stuff that I really like is now called classic rock (whatever that is supposed to mean) and I have a penchant for what I call hard rock. In fact, if the music has a driving beat, more than one guitar, and isn't acoustic, then I probably call it hard rock. Then things got difficult. Things had to be dissected finer and finer until we had soft rock, hard rock, progressive rock, jazz rock, contemporary rock, AM rock, FM rock, heavy metal and you name it. I once thought I liked heavy metal, but I believe my eardrums and middle aged mentality are now telling me differently. That doesn’t mean, however, that I can't still be fond of it on occasion. The CD Fragments by Pig Children is one of those occasions. While providing songs that I suppose could be called "typical" heavy metal, there are enough surprises and twists to make this an enjoyable listen. It may not have gotten my blood boiling, but I was at least on medium heat for awhile.

There are two things I find interesting and unusual about Pig Children. One is that they write and perform songs that change tempo, tone, and style. A song may begin like a "typical" heavy metal song, with driving bass and loud lead chords, but it then changes key and speed, followed by vocals that I can actually understand most of the time (more a criticism of my ears than their voices). They only scream the lyrics a few times, which is something else that is unusual about heavy metal bands but something for which I am grateful.

I have to apologize because, while the track listing on my CD is incorrect, I also lost the sheet that had the correct listing. Anyone who knows me would know how I could lose one sheet of paper, but that really doesn't matter. I just ran through the songs and listened without knowing the titles. There are the usual grinding, pounding rhythms of heavy metal but also the more restrained, melodic kinds of songs, too. There is also a driving background with rap lyrics song that is actually rather intriguing, like mixing sweet and sour and coming up with something you like but can't really explain why.

The band is made up of Kyle Phillips on vocals, Jeff Schaffer on guitar, Parker Languardt on bass and Ben Chargot on drums. The CD was recorded at Fire Hyena Studios in Saginaw. I have to admit, there is enough talent here to make for some worthwhile listening, even for my old ears, and enough edge to make it not sound like this is a glossy, knock-these-songs-out-in-our-sleep band. I understand that Pig Children have a great stage presence, put on a good show and have an enthusiastic following. What more could you want there?

If heavy metal is your staple, then I suggest you try the other white meat and put Pig Children on your table. It should satisfy your cravings until they can provide us with a second helping.

© Peter Karoly, 2010