Skin The Pig : Article XiX

They Say :- Formed in 2000 by Matt Geary, Skin the Pig are a 6 piece progressive metal band; originally from Belfast, N.Ireland, now based in Manchester England.
11 years , 2 demos (one we donā€™t like to talk about) 2 EPS and an album later, while other bands have given up the ghost, Skin the Pig are still going with as much passion, graft and dedication as they ever did; Older and wiser about the musical world, they enjoy what they do, have no preconceptions about where it will deliver them and will carry on doing what they do and playing what they play, simply for the love of it.

We Say :- Aaarrrrrgggghhhhh, my bloody ears !!!!

Right, got that out the way let’s move on to one of the more, how to put it, schizophrenic releases to arrive at CackBlabbath recently, the latest album from Manchester’s own Skin The Pig..

Article XIX opens with a fairly epic slice of instrumental progressive metal in the shape of Stendhal Syndrome, a frankly awesome 3 and a bit minutes of just about the best example of this type of thing I have heard all year. Starting off with a neat little picked guitar riff it builds gradually to a crescendo, drawing the listener in and sweeping you along as the emotion builds. It’s incredibly well done and I have to say sets the bar very high for the rest of the album to follow.

Or it would if Skin The Pig were just a progressive metal band, but that’s the Dr. Jeckyl side to these guys personality. Next up… Mr. Hyde..

You know when iTunes plays a track you weren’t expecting and you have to go check that you’re still listening to the same album ? Well that’s EXACTLY what happens when the band who played the opening track are suddenly locked in a cupboard by their shouty hardcore alter-egos. They even lull you into a false sense of security when they start I Rise, You Fall in a similar proggy vein, before all hell breaks loose with some top notch furious hardcore. Certainly woke me up šŸ™‚

It’s always good to see a band who are not afraid to mix things up a bit and Skin The Pig do that with, it has to be said, some style. Prog metal, Hardcore and Heavy metal all taken, mangled and then beaten into shape over the course of 10 tracks as the band not so much bend genres as kick massive holes in them. Take, for example, In Loving Memory which starts off with Heavy Metal, before going all shouty hardcore, then quieting down before winding the intensity back up again as the track progresses.

I must confess that it took me a couple of listens to really get what the band were trying to do here, and after getting over the initial “what the fuck” of I Rise, You Fall this album has really grown on me. I think it works mainly because the band seem to be equally adept at whatever style they decide is appropriate at that particular moment. Another bonus is that the vocals courtesy of John and Chris are strong throughout, with everything from emotional and melodic through to frankly mental delivered with equal panache.

It’s a brave band who try to cover this wide swathe of the rock/metal spectrum in one album, but Skin The Pig are clearly just such a band. I shudder to think what the genre purists and men with beards will make of it, but who really cares when the end result something that gets better with every listen.