|Review: Slough Feg - Twilight Of The Idols|
|Twilight Of The Idols|
Label: Dragonheart Records
Year released: 1999
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: November 16, 2007
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:Twilight Of The Idols
Slough Feg's first few albums are quite possibly the definition of "fun" in its musical form. Quirky, jagged, folksy riffs blend with funky, 70s style basslines and the deep, theatrical tenor of lead barbarian Mike Scalzi make for quite the engaging listen, and also quite the original formula in a time when metal was already looking as stale as that jug of milk sitting in the back of your fridge that expired last month. Seriously, you can't really compare Slough Feg to any other band, ever. They might have similarities to Iron Maiden here, and a dash of Manilla Road there, and maybe a few cups of Thin Lizzy and Jethro Tull to the side over there, but they're far too cool to ever sound like a copy of any of those bands.
While their other early albums were more focused on traditional fantasy D&D style storylines, Twilight of the Idols was a volleying, head-first leap into the realms of high-flying, mead chugging Scottish fantasy and mythology; complete with deeply melodic, folk-tinged leads, barrel-fulls of galloping, chunky riffs that will get your head flailing in no time, and lyrics so cool and original that you'd think they came from a medieval folk bard traveling through time. Standout tracks include the galloping, vibrant opener "Highlander," the jingly folk tune "Brave Connor Mac," which will have you laughing and tapping your foot along before it finishes the first time, the riffy duo of "The Wickerman" and "Slough Feg," and the extremely catchy, bouncy commentary on the metal scene, "Life in the Dark Age." There are a few instrumentals here, both jam-packed with the same sloppy goodness you knew from Slough Feg's obscure little debut back in 1995, and they're both delightfully and instantly cool. Seriously, it really doesn't get more awesome than the good songs here.
If there's one gripe I have here, it's that there are a few songs that could've been cut from the final product to make for a much better listening experience. One of the problems in evidence related to this is the fact that Slough Feg have never been adept at writing long songs, and it shows here on the attempted epic "The Great Ice Wars." I really don't want to hate on this song, as it's not like the band didn't spend time working on it, but it's not that good. It starts off fine, with the same jumpy, headbangable folk riffs you all know you love (yes, that's right; don't deny it), but it meanders a bit and it has a few distinct parts that just don't work right. It feels disjointed, and it's pretty obvious why the band has not written such a long song since - it's just not their thing. "High Season II" and "Bi Polar Disorder" are also weaker tracks; not bad, just weaker than the good songs here.
This might be inconsistent at times, but it's Slough Feg, and if you know Slough Feg, you know that they're an unstoppable force with infinite creativity and songwriting power. The band was young here, and still experimenting, and so this album's inconsistencies are somewhat excusable. This isn't Slough Feg's peak - check the follow-up Down Among the Deadmen for that - but it's still an energetic, catchy, and out-of-this-world example of how to play heavy fucking metal the right way. Highly recommended.
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