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Slough Feg
Hardworlder

Company: Cruz del Sur
Release: 2007
Genre: Traditional
Reviewer: Vinaya

  • Crusty and archaic, but simultaneously fresh



  • Well hello, what's this? Funny band name (shortened from the Lord Weird Slough Feg), songs under three minutes in length, an album cover that looks like something straight out of Marvel Comics circa the 1970's...and that's without even getting into the music itself, where these West Coast-based nutters really work their weird, wacky wonders. Yes, in a metal world where every genre with more than three active bands seems to have settled into a formula, Hardworlder flies in the face of this somewhat unfortunate trend, sounding crusty and archaic, but simultaneously fresh---definitely not an outright retread of anything in particular that has come before.

    The Slough Feg sound, as heard on Hardworlder, is a real mixed bag, filled with thick, crunchy, 70's-derrived riffing, Thin Lizzy-style harmony guitars, a vaguely Celtic sense of melody and storytelling, and lyrics that read like excerpts from the diary of a character from one of those nifty old Me Generation comic books with a forty cent cover price (and a $40 price in the collector's market of today).

    Adding to this album's uniqueness is its odd structure, in which tunes--many of which are under three minutes in length--segue into one another, often in ways that seem completely illogical when you watch your player to notice when the track changes occur--as if there were a pressing error. But if one ignores the counter, these eleven fairly short tunes (plus two obscure and worthwhile covers) actually gel together quite well, taking the listener on a rich, cosmic mini-adventure despite the album's short duration (another 70's throwback move?).

    Singer-guitarist Michael Scalzi's gruff bellow occasionally gets a bit tiresome, but at the same time is somehow well-suited to the more epic, (super-) heroic material like "Tiger! Tiger!" and the rest of the crazy medley of which that tune is part. He and new co-guitarist "Don" Angelo Tringali make a pretty good Gorham/Robertson-type guitar duo, trading old-fashioned but tasty licks between the deliberately dated riffs and well-executed harmonies. The covers of Manilla Road's chest-thumping "Street Jammer" and Irish band Horslips' plain weird (and rather funky) "Dearg Doom" complete the picture on a release that that is delightfully old-school, but without being totally derivative.

    Lots of bands can play retro, particularly the superficial type of retro that seems to sustain Guitar Center and similar musical instrument chain stores here in the States. Going beyond simple imitation, however, means doing something more than just buying an overpriced "vintage" guitar and making sure your reissued 70's tour shirt is distressed in all the right places. It means digging deeper to find new things that can be done with old sounds, something Slough Feg seem to have mastered in a way that few bands can really claim to have done.



    About this Writer:
    Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: SLOUGH FEG
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    AtavismSlough Feg
    2005
    Veritas7/25/2005
    HardworlderSlough Feg
    2007
    Vinaya Saksena3/13/2009


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: SLOUGH FEG

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: SLOUGH FEG
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
    Slough FegSlough FegChris Galea4/21/2006


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