Slough Feg
Traveller


5.0
classic

Review

by Steerpike USER (24 Reviews)
April 16th, 2006 | 57 replies | 9,970 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


4 of 4 thought this review was well written

It's a crime this hasn't been reviewed yet. Traveller is the fourth and possibly most distinctive studio album of San Francisco's own Slough Feg. After listening to this album, I trust many of you will agree with me that this is a group that should be touring with the likes of Iron Maiden. Why? Slough Feg are known for their infectious vocal melodies, compelling lyrics, driving rhythms, and memorable riffs and melodies. Of their five albums, they havenít released a bad one yet. And on top of that, their live show is a spectacle that is not to be missed.

Though most of their songs revolve around themes of Celtic mythology and folk tales, Traveller is a concept album with a sci-fi bent. Itís based on a now-defunct penínípaper RPG by the same name, but explaining the story behind this album as well as the setting of Traveller would take more time than I really have. Suffice to say that the main issue of the story revolves around conflict with an alien race of dogmen called the Vargr.

The album opens up with marching riffs of The Spinward Marches, an instrumental clocking in at just and a minute and a half, which immediately is followed by the breakneck riffing of High Passage/Low Passage. This high adrenaline number makes the listener feel like they really are piloting a spaceship in a high-speed chase through treacherous asteroid belts. In a bit of a self-referential moment, the lyrics include vocalist Mike Scalzi (the mastermind behind the band) singing the song in first-person perspective and referring to himself as a ďskyway corsair." Slough Fegís lyrics have had a recurring them of the highway corsair, here adapted to the setting of the Traveller album. The energy and wailing solos never stop to let the listener catch their breath, creating a rollercoaster ride of an opener that gets the blood pumping and ready for what else is to come.

Astroid Belts follows this up with equal energy to, but more of a desperate feel than High Passage/Low Passage. A nice segue into Professorís Theme which features several memorable riffs and melodies in one compact package. Mike gives the already chilling lyrics an added touch of menace as he sings out the words of the eponymous Professor.

Vargr Moon is a mid-tempo number, more drawn out than the songs preceding it. It also has a much moodier tone, constantly building up tension, but only seldom resolving it before only going back to slowly building it back up. About half-way through, the tempo picks up and the tone of the vocals and instruments becomes almost feverish. Though not as bombastic for the most part as the other songs that have come before, this is one of the most inherently dramatic songs on the album.

Just when you think the album is in danger of starting to slack off, Vargr Theme/Confrontation picks up with a proud marching tempo and riffs. The first half of the song is very anthemic and haughty, but soon turns into something more vengeful and angry. In case you havenít noticed, the ability to convey a variety of moods, sometimes within the same song, is a hallmark of Slough Fegís trademarks. Pay attention to the vocal melody in the final two minutes of the song, as it will be revisited later in the album.

The strength and pride of this song makes way for the acoustic riffing and sad vocals that open Baltechís Lament. Mikeís melodramatic vocals herald disaster and despair before the electric guitar comes in followed by the bass and drums for a solo. The song ends on acoustics as it began.

Once more, the pace is picked back up with one of the best songs on the album, Gene-ocide. This song contains some of the most memorable melodies, both on guitar and vocal, as well as one of the best solos on the album. Which among an album full of tasteful, memorable solos and uniquely styled melodies is really saying something. This song brings out images of action, drama, and galactic conflict all at once.

Following up is the shorter, more visceral Curse of Humaniti. Short, tasteful solos and galloping rhythms back a narration of the coming of the fight to the finish. The tension in the music is thick enough to cut with a knife and keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Next is another stand out track, The Final Gambit. The vocal melody I mentioned from Vargr Theme/Confrontation is revisited here, though there are several for different sections of the song. A tasteful usage of double bass drumming gives an extra drive to the overall feel of the song. The galloping rhythms of the verses give ample headbanging material while at the same time there really is no line in here that you wonít find yourself sorely tempted to sing along with. Itís a highly bombastic and dramatic number thatís earned a spot on my favorite mp3 list for some time now.

As a slight reprieve, The Spinward Marches (return) is exactly what it sounds like, providing a very cool segue into the final song on the album, Addendum Galactus. This melodramatic piece covers a variety of tempos and attitudes and features a spoken-word section. The melodies would feel equally at home in a movie soundtrack, and slowly fades out to an ambiguous ending that concludes this album perfectly.

Any metal fan owes it to him/herself to buy this album or at the very least give it a chance. I guarantee it will be unlike anything youíve ever heard before. This stands out as one of the most high-quality and unique metal albums of recent years, an underrated modern classic.



Recent reviews by this author
Edguy Space Police - Defenders of the CrownAncient Bards Soulless Child
Ancient Bards The Alliance of the KingsVolbeat Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
Jonathan Coulton Where Tradition Meets TomorrowHuman Fortress Eternal Empire
user ratings (73)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2006



16083 Comments


Good review. I've heard of this album off hand, been thinking about getting it for a few days. I pretty much now know to most definitely pick it up.

pattern_recognition
April 17th 2006



950 Comments


Oh my god, is it sad that I actually recognised this as being based on traveller before I read the review?
Misspent youth indeed.
Any singer who refers to himself as a 'skyways corsair' is okay in my book.

JausmetalJ
April 17th 2006



21 Comments


Sweet review Steerpike. I think it might have been you that I got my two Slough Feg songs from (Highlander and Warpspasm)

Pretty awesome songs, I'll look into gettin some more songs or an album..

Just a question, why "The Lord Weird"?

Stoic
April 17th 2006



161 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I certainly didnt expect anyone to take some time and review this. I'm beyond words Alex, such an excellent review it is! It makes me proud for being a huge fan of this band and I can assure you that you've perfectly expressed the special feeling of this album. Thanks man m/

Steerpike
April 17th 2006



1860 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Stoic, I figured if I didn't review this, you would eventually. I just got a little impatient. You were the one who got me into this band, so consider this review a dedication to your persistence in getting their name out there.

As for "The Lord Weird" title, the band gets their name from a demon in a tome of Irish myths and legends. The demon is, of course, The Lord Weird Slough Feg.

halfdeadhippo
April 17th 2006



52 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Expect my rating to go up once I've heard it more than once. It just doesn't feel right giving a 5 to a CD I've only heard once. Good review, btw.This Message Edited On 04.17.06

Stoic
April 17th 2006



161 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you for your kind words Alex

halfdeadhippo, the more you listen to Slough Feg the more they stick to your head and the more they stick to your head the more you want to listen to them! There's no escape, I predict you'll come back here soon :p

metallicaman8
April 17th 2006



4677 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is a great album, but i think its slightly overrated

metallicaman8
April 17th 2006



4677 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh and good review. keep up the good work

GenuineImitation
April 17th 2006



49 Comments


Nice job sterrpike. I will check this out ASAP.

Apocalyptic Raids
April 18th 2006



810 Comments


I want to check this out.

Stoic
April 18th 2006



161 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good luck with finding it guys. If you have trouble you know where to find me ;)This Message Edited On 04.18.06

Apocalyptic Raids
April 18th 2006



810 Comments


Seems great so far

JausmetalJ
April 18th 2006



21 Comments


Thanks for that Stoic.
Having heard the two tracks I have, what album would you say I should check out?

halfdeadhippo
April 18th 2006



52 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[quote=Stoic]halfdeadhippo, the more you listen to Slough Feg the more they stick to your head and the more they stick to your head the more you want to listen to them! There's no escape, I predict you'll come back here soon [/quote]You were right... :P I just didn't want to jump the gun in case the novelty wore off, like it's done so many times before.

Stoic
April 18th 2006



161 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

m/ - soon you'll be starving for some more ultra catchy and addictive slough feg tunes!

5thformetallica II
The songs you've listened to are off Twilight of the Idol and in my opinion they're not even the best songs. Definitely get this album since you already like these songs.

Also, I think it wasnt Steerpike who sent them to you but FreezingMoon (he had posted a slough feg thread a while back).


JausmetalJ
April 19th 2006



21 Comments


Ok cool, Ill check it out.

Btw, Im JausmetalJ stupid thing still hasn't changed.

Or you can call me James.
And yeah, I think it was Steerpike now that I remember.

Apocalyptic Raids
May 4th 2006



810 Comments


I will raise my rating for this. it's truly awesome.

I am tempted to give it a 5, but I try reserve that for albums I think are truly special. Who knows? maybe I'll raise it to five in the future ;)

Stoic
May 4th 2006



161 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"1000 credits is my humble price" :D



Tyler
Emeritus
May 6th 2006



7926 Comments


How does this compare to 'Atavism'?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy