“The disparate guitar styles are the band’s
greatest strength,” says Castaneda. “Steve
is a southern-blues slide player and metal
riffer, and Zack is a melodic, folk-based fingerstylist
with a wailing vibrato. The song
‘War Path’ features Zack’s soaring, vocal-like
leads matched with palm-muted metal
riffs. Other songs, such as ‘Constrictor,’ are
forged around Steve’s hypnotic slide patterns.
Their flexibility often results in lush, beautiful
metal, or crushing sludgy blues, depending
on your interpretation.”
The band’s influences include a mashup
of Pink Floyd, Santana, Rory Gallagher,
Porcupine Tree, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith,
Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, Seasick
Steve, and Scott H. Biram.
“It’s no surprise that Steve’s tone is
heavy and gritty, while Zack’s is warmer
and sweeter,” says Castaneda. “Steve’s
classic, raw ’70s bite, combined with the
midrange clarity of Zack’s fingerstyle adds
contrast and dimension to our music. A lot
of Steve’s tones are a product of experimentation.
He owns a guitar business, Lynch
Guitar Repair, and is constantly trying different
combinations of the various guitars,
pickups, and amps at
Like many retro-influenced
rock bands, Swamphammer
is more than fine leaving its
vintage, heavy-rock approach
much the way they found it.
“We’re resisting modernization,”
says Castaneda. “You’re
not going to see an iPad up on
stage with us. We’re playing
real music with real instruments
for lovers of good
old-fashioned heavy music.”
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