|Review: Slough Feg - Traveller|
Label: Dragonheart Records
Year released: 2003
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: October 30, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
How very fitting that this band should do a concept album based on a science-fiction storyline, as The Lord Weird Slough Feg are a very, very cool band that are apparently from another planet. Long known in the San Francisco underground scene for their over-the-top stage antics (including wearing red warpaint and having a friend wearing a cow's pelvis on his head join them onstage to fling raw meat at the crowd.) It is high time they became known as one of the greatest heavy metal bands in the whole damned world. This is their fourth CD, and how a band this cool could slip under my radar for so long is bewildering.
This is another one of the those back-to-the-basics bands that will give you fits trying to describe in words, as they have no gimmicks or trendy flourishes to their sound – they're just fucking cool. This album is a never-ending cascade of awesome and inventive riffs that will give your air-guitar hand a major cramp by track 4 – not that it stops there, oh no. There are some similarities to early Iron Maiden or Manilla Road, but really TLWSF have a sound and approach all their own. A sticking point for some may be the vocals of Mike Scalzi, as he is a little warbly and nasal – he is a bit reminiscent of Mark Shelton of the aforementioned Manilla Road also – and he takes some getting used to. His voice sits just fine with me, but those used to the more operatic voices of Power Metal may be put off at first.
It's almost impossible for me to pick favorites here, as every song is just amazingly cool. The opener "The Spinward Marches" is an instrumental, but you won't find any keyboards here (or anywhere for that matter), just metal-in-your-face riffs stacked on top of each other. "High Passage/Low Passage" has another bushel of headbanger riffs, so does "Asteroid Belts", and - oh Hell, I could list every single song on here. You want the standouts? Read the tracklist.
The CD package is a digipack, which is the only strike against it. The sleeve art on the front and back cover is just first rate, and the design of the interior is extremely well-done. Anyone who remembers the "Traveller" role-playing game will get a kick out of the look of the CD case, as well as the story itself.
I can't say enough good stuff about this. I have listened to it all the way through twice in a row while writing this, and I'll probably spin it again when it's over. This is a band who deserve major attention, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure they get it, also to get as many people as possible to check this CD out. If you are a fan of old-fashioned heavy metal then you need this, pure and simple. "Traveller" is retro, progressive, classic and unique at the same time. A massively enjoyable album, go get it.
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Interview with Mike Scalzi (Guitars/Vocals) on November 9, 2003 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with Mike Scalzi (Vocals, guitar) on December 22, 2010 (Interviewed by Adam Kohrman)
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