|Review: Slough Feg - The Animal Spirits|
|The Animal Spirits|
Label: Profound Lore Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: November 14, 2010
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:The Animal Spirits
Hmmm. Yup. It's been a year! It's time for another Slough Feg album. I don't care if it hasn't been long enough yet since the last one; just put one out. This kind of attitude would normally be rather detrimental to the quality of a band's record, but Slough Feg, this time at least, seem to have hit it right on the nose. The Animal Spirits is a wonderful album in every way.
It's an exercise in pounding, anthemic metal with a tribal bent and some seriously old school Thin Lizzy styled leads to boot...and it is also seriously awesome. It's hard to pinpoint one reason why these songs are good. They're just well written, with masterfully placed hooks that get stuck in your head hours after playing it even once – seriously, this album is so catchy that songs just randomly start playing in my head at any given time, and it isn't just one or two songs; no – it's any of them on the entire album. Tonight it's "Materia Prima" and "Kon Tiki," for example.
There's something very natural and organic about the sound of The Animal Spirits, with its jangling guitars and earthy bass tone and scratchy drums. It's certainly not a heavy album like some of their previous ones, but you really get to hear everything in full, naked color, and the clarity really brings out the best in this band – the infectious riffs, the intricate drumming and the idiosyncratic vocals. Every song is short and sweet, lending to multiple plays in the same afternoon without any regrets. These tracks just never sound any longer or shorter than they should be – that's the mark of a talented band right there.
Lyrics are not presented in the booklet, which is a great shame, as from what I can discern they're more fine Slough Feg fare, revolving around vampires, werewolves and human misery, among other things...yes, even though "Ask the Casket" is about a vampire, it blends seamlessly into "Heavyworlder," which is more about dealing with life problems. It doesn't make very much sense, but then, I don't think Slough Feg really give a crap about making any kind of sense. Mike Scalzi is in top form here with probably his most varied and eclectic performance to date, all the way from a high wine down to a deep, dark intonation. Frankly, he's never sounded better.
Really what it just comes down to is that this album has great songs. From the quick, visceral one-two punch of "Trick the Vicar" and the more calculated "The 95 Thesis" to the noodly werewolf epic "Lycanthropic Fantasies" to the Alan Parsons Project cover "The Tell-Tale Heart," done splendidly here, Slough Feg have whipped out some of their best tunes in years. I think my favorites have to be "Kon Tiki," with its marching tribal rhythms and soaring vocals lending themselves to a newfound Slough Feg classic, and "Second Coming," which is an ode to disappointment, broken promises and life-affirming revelations alike. One of the most honest, beautiful songs in their entire catalog.
Oh yeah, and the last track has the singer from Brocas Helm! That's just cool. Slough Feg has turned out a masterpiece in 2010 that is among their best works ever. I don't want to sound like I'm just some raving fanboy but...hell, this is just a great friggin' album. Go check it out. Go now!
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Interview with Mike Scalzi (Guitars/Vocals) on November 9, 2003 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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