Release Date: Feb 18, 2014
Record label: Metal Blade
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal
Next year, the San Francisco hero-metal squad Slough Feg will celebrate their 25th anniversary, a benchmark that means founder and sole anchor Mike Scalzi has spent more of his life in the band than out of it. When Scalzi talks about Slough Feg, he often refers to the sacrifice and discomfort it has necessitated—living in the poor parts of an expensive city, working multiple jobs to cover the lifestyle, generally eschewing the responsibilities of middle-class Americans entering their fourth or fifth decades. “That’s how I’ve been able to focus on it: by not having that kind of life by giving up the opportunities for a life that a lot of people want,” Scalzi told Metalsucks in 2010.
The ninth long-player from the Mike Scalzi-led, San Francisco-based purveyors of old-school hard rock/power metal named after a character from a Celtic-themed Barbarian comic anthology, Digital Resistance is so meaty, melodic, and spilling over with divine Iron Maiden/Thin Lizzy-inspired guitarmonies, that it may as well have been released on cassette. As Luddite metal albums go, it's a gem, and while it's certainly deserving of the retro tag, it never feels derivative, due in large part to Scalzi's enigmatic lyrics and air raid siren of a voice, which falls somewhere in between Dee Snider and Roger Daltrey. Big, melodic, and peppered with the kind of hooks that make you lean forward, grin, and nod in time, songs like the effusive "Magic Hooligan," the first-person serial killer narrative "Habeas Corpsus," and the fist-pumping title cut, the latter of which spins a loose conceptual thread that weaves its way throughout the album concerning the speed with which technology is overtaking our biological evolution, are as steeped in pop as they are the decibel-pushing cadences of hard rock.
Review Summary: The Lord Weird Slough Feg gets a little less weird.Slough Feg have always been a band lost in time. Formed at a time when metal music as a whole was getting more and more abrasive, they reveled in rock 'n' roll's booming late 70's glory instead. It worked. They survived. Even now ….
Despite the futurism that bubbles through the lyrics here, Slough Feg's sound is insistently, almost defiantly, old school. There's no breakneck riffage or crisply picked shred; instead, Slough Feg's guitars prefer to gallop like Thin Lizzy used to, driven by a loose, sloppy thrum of Ginger Baker-inflected tom-toms. There are even moments, as in the album-closing "Warrior's Dusk," when main man Mike Scalzi sings like Roger Daltry in his rooster prime.