THE MIGHTY SWINE was constructed under the most classic conditions of band formation: frustration with the local scene. Such was former CHASTAIN member Mike Skimmerhorn’s beef with the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, so rather than continue playing in cover bands, he decided to form a new band that would eventually write and perform original material. His weapon of choice would be classic ‘70s/’80s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.
Skimmerhorn’s new band is a power trio, with Skimmerhorn handling vocal and bass duties while Marty Bates and Dann Norris delivering guitar riffage and drum poundage, respectively. The band stays very true to the classic sound of early Heavy Metal, and for once, it’s not just the guitarist’s fault; all three band members seem to complement each other perfectly. While Marty Bates has a very bluesy style of soloing (which is very apparent on “Madam Adam”), Skimmerhorn and Norris often lock themselves into a tightly rehearsed fast-Blues groove, as on the fantastic “My Luv 4U.” While the best songs on the album are the bluesiest ones, “Why Tell Me Why” proves that the band can also write a great straightforward ‘80s Metal tune.
Though the album has a ton of great cuts, it’s also got a bit of weaker material. At five minutes and thirty seconds of playing time, “The Light Of Day” isn’t a particularly long track, but man does it ever drag on. This slower track just plods on, and even the pseudo speed-boost in the middle isn’t enough to save it. “Human Sacrifice” is another track that falls flat, albeit for different reasons. The track is the right tempo, the groove is right, the riffs are right…but the vocal hooks fail to deliver, especially in the lacklustre chorus. The cover of the CREAM classic “Sunshine Of Your Love” is also somewhat unnecessary, as the band is clearly better at writing their own material than metalizing someone else’s.
Still, these are minor quibbles. THE MIGHTY SWINE’s debut album is a solid piece of classic Blues-tinged Heavy Metal. These guys have that rare “click” where all the band members can play off each other perfectly, which is all the more impressive given the raw and loose nature of the music. Sate your curiosity and give Skimmerhorn and crew a shot!
(Online September 5, 2010)