Review Summary: The Lord Weird Slough Feg gets a little less weird.
Slough Feg have always been a band lost in time. Formed at a time when metal music as a whole was getting more and more abrasive, they reveled in rock 'n' roll's booming late 70's glory instead. It worked. They survived. Even now, at a time when having “throwback” influences has permeated just about every facet of the heavy music scene, Slough Feg's traditionalism remains pure to its core. Their Celtic rhythms meets classic hard rock vibe has withstood the test of time like few other bands of their ilk. Yes, long time acts like Manilla Road and Grand Magus are similar, but it's not quite the same. They're missing that special “oomph” that makes Slough Feg so unique. They're missing Mike Scalzi. He has always been the root of all things Slough Feg – his status as the last original member only brings that home even more. His distinct wail and usually beyond out there lyrics bring just as much personality to the band as his galloping riffs and superb lead work on guitar.
With their 8th full-length LP, Digital Resistance
, Mike and the rest of Slough Feg are at their best, recalling the likes of Thin Lizzy's cocksure braggadocio, Cirith Ungol's dark mysticism, and early Genesis' artful textures. It's a powerful blast from the past, that, now in the era of the over compressed loudness wars, sounds even more lovingly out of place. From the first seconds of the album opener it is clear that Digital Resistance
is delightfully analog. The drums resonate in their own natural low end, and the guitars are thick and meaty in a way that current trends have all but forgotten. The production, along with that powerful barrage of bold, melodic riffs, all plays along to the image that Slough Feg have helped create for themselves over the last two decades. Moreover, it is furthered by the loose fitting concept of contempt for all things modern and technological that ties together the album. That's not to say that there's not something missing. While musically Slough Feg deliver just as they always have, Scalzi's lyrics have lost that insane and out there quality that personified the band at its best. It isn't that he doesn't deliver quality stuff here, it's just that it's your standard metal doom and gloom, and lacks his distinctive bizarre approach that many have come to associate with Slough Feg just as much as the music itself.
With Digital Resistance
, Slough Feg have given us the first great rock record of 2014. It's no surprise, really, as everything they have put out is top notch. Their pre-NWOBHM influences continue to reign supreme in the best of ways, but this auditory backlash to all of the technology that we surround ourselves with on a day to day basis takes itself a bit too seriously for what most of us would come to expect from a Slough Feg record.