Wednesday 19 February 2014

Slough Feg - Digital Resistance (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 18/2/2014
Label : Metal Blade Records

Digital Resistance, album track listing :

1. Analogue Avengers / Bertrand Russell’s Sex Den 03:50
2. Digital Resistance 02:52
3. Habeas Corpsus 05:08
4. Magic Hooligan 03:51
5. Ghastly Appendage 03:20
6. Laser Enforcer 04:12
7. The Price Is Nice 04:36
8. Curriculum Vitae 05:02
9. The Luddite 03:21
10. Warriors Dusk 04:35

Bio :

SLOUGH FEG has a style that's best described as an eclectic mix of Celtic Folk and Traditional Metal peppered with buckets of energy and lyrical depth. The band, who's name is derived from a character in ancient Irish mythology, originates from Central Pennsylvania and relocated to San Francisco in 1990 in hopes of resurrecting the ailing 'true metal' scene in the United States. The band quickly gained a reputation as, 'the band San Francisco loved to hate' by taking a stand against the trends and incorporating stage savagery with strong visual imagery.

The band's latest offering Digital Resistance was recorded with Justin Weis (who produced the album with vocalist/guitarist Mike Scalzi) at Trakworx in South San Francisco from January-October 2013 andmarks the band's first new studio album since 2010's The Animal Spirits. When asked if the new album was a concept album, singer & vocalist Mike Scalzi explained that Digital Resistance is a concept album in the sense that The Beatles Sgt. Pepper is a concept album. "It has somewhat of a consistent lyrical theme that runs through several of the songs, but not every song--- it is not a concept album in the sense that our Travelleralbum is.

The Band :

Mike Scalzi | Guitars/Vocals
Angelo Tringali | Guitars
Adrian Maestas | Bass
Harry Cantwell | Drums

Review :

“Digital Resistance” is the first Slough Feg record I have heard. Have in no doubt; I will be seeking out more. Kicking off proceedings with Analogue Avengers/Betrtrand Russel's Sex Den, one band immediately springs to mind: Jethro Tull. Before you all turn away in Grammy-stealing disgust: this is absolutely a good thing. Tull, with albums such as “Aqualung” and “Songs from the Wood” were a damn good band- great guitar player in Martin Barre, great drummer (who used double kicks to great effect on SFTW) and a charismatic, wry front-man. They also had a sense of humour. Those boxes are ticked here too. The title track continues on the frenetic prog-rock with no subtlety in the lyrics- this is very much an album about exactly what the title says it's about.

Habeus Corpsus gives a pun in the Latin-ish title and offers acoustics and thumping toms in what is again a rather frenetic performance from the whole band- no one needs to feel guilty about their performance here! The grooves roll very well and the solo soars.

Magic Hooligan offers up a very Thin Lizzy feel to rhythms and guitars before the pace picks up and triplets roll. Frontman Michael Scalzi sings of ancient times- perfect for the retro feel.
Ghastly Appendage Brings more twin guitar work and a galloping pace. Laser Enforcer ups the early maiden quotient and allows for some dexterous lead work (and playing from the whole band in general, to be fair).

The Price Is Nice doesn't appear to be about the mid-priced albums prevalent in the 70's and 80's (often found in Our Price!), but that does not detract from the finely played and stealthy track as the grooves is set behind a memorable riff. Curriculum Vitae builds up slowly to a passage of riffs and finally vocals (overlaid acoustic guitars add expanse to the sound).

The Luddite brings back the Tull feel to proceedings- less Maiden, but no less British in its sound- odd considering the band's American provenance. Warriors Dusk is the album's final track and brings together a rather folk-ish feel with Thin Lizzy elements to, with triumphant guitar work. The album would not have been wholly out of place had it been released anywhere from 1972-1980 (albeit the production and sound are top notch and the drums have more modern phrasing). I can heartily endorse this album for any fans of any of the aforementioned bands. It's weird, idiosyncratic stuff that doesn't quite fit anywhere, but is still, rest assured, heavy metal of the highest calibre.

Words by : Richard Maw

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