I just finished my third listen to THE MIGHTY SWINE’S new album Last Man Standing, out now via Broad Horizon Records, so I figured it was time to share it with everyone. For those of you who are not aware, bassist/vocalist Mike Skimmerhorn is better known as part of the rhythm section in CHASTAIN. This is the band’s third record, and it’s great to see Mike have an outlet where he gets a chance to shine and be out front. Deeply rooted in an 80’s metal sound, the band unapologetically mines their influences for all they’re worth, and in this day and age who can blame them? And it’s not like these are young bucks paying homage, either. This is four guys who just get how great a real rock and metal sound is, not that watered down or noisy crap that floods Sirius XM radio nowadays.
“All That is Evil” and “Two Graves” immediately reminded me of something in the old METAL CHURCH vein, not that that’s a bad thing. Are they a bit dated? Sure, but so what. As long as the music is good, that’s what counts. The next two tracks “Empty Shell” and “Last Man Standing” are my favorites, no question. Rory Faciane’s double bass chug really drives the first one, and the riff work of new member Stacey Donahue and Jeff Tong combined with that sticks-in-your-head bridge part make the title cut one that stands out. But that’s not to say Faciano isn’t all over this one, too, because he is. I actually think these songs wouldn’t be half as good with someone else pounding the skins. He really brings something special to the table; an attitude, if you will.
One of the darker tunes is “Tomorrow” which has just enough evil in it for a guy like me. And the overall aesthetic of “Dead Man’s Stare” is one of a man on a mission, it seems. It moves along like something or someone fiercely determined. Admittedly there are a couple moments on the disc where the vocals aren’t quite up to snuff or they’re a bit buried, but they really get the balance right on “Thick as Thieves” easily one of the better mixed tracks found here. And as much as I’d like this to be all positives I have to say that I couldn’t get into “Rite of Passage” at all. It just goes nowhere, and unfortunately it does so at a snail’s pace. “Vengeance Is Mine” wasn’t exactly a favorite, either.
However, I thoroughly enjoyed the cover of JUDAS PRIEST’S “Hell Bent For Leather” which was made even better by the fact that Skimmerhorn didn’t try to emulate The Metal God Rob Halford, he sang it his way while still keeping true to the spirit of the original. PRIEST covers are very hit and miss with me, but this one is a sure-fire hit, 100% Maestro-approved! In short, THE MIGHTY SWINE are a damn good band that provides a great soundtrack for whatever you may be doing, whether that’s driving down the highway, or getting a workout in. Check ‘em out, pick up Last Man Standing, and see what you think!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Empty Shell”, “Last Man Standing”, “Thick as Thieves”, “All That is Evil”