Monday, January 10, 2011

Slough Feg: Animal Spirits (2010)


Slough Feg (or The Lord Weird Slough Feg) is a well-known metal band, but their latest album Animal Spirits is my first exposure to them. And it's left a good impression.

Animal SpiritsThe musical style is incredibly unique. It has been called Thin Lizzy on steroids, which isn't too far off the mark. In one sense, it's similar to early Danzig, in that the music is a very stripped-down hard rock/heavy metal that allows the vocalist to take the forefront. Some of the chords are Danzig-like (see the cover "The Tell-Tale Heart"). Many songs have a Maiden-esque galloping rhythm (see "The 95 Thesis" or "Free Market Barbarian"), and the bass is prominent enough in the mix to draw comparisons to Rush, at least on instrumental "Materia Prima". But it also has a distinct folk flavor to it, and even though the band is from San Francisco it's definitely Irish. (Many of their lyrics relate to Celtic mythology as well.) Even Mike Scalzi's vocals bear a strong resemblance to Primordials Nemtheanga. The vocals here are definitely the star, as Scalzi has an emotional delivery and creates memorable vocal hooks.

There is also a good deal of variety to be had. It's all grounded in folk-influenced rock/metal, but it ranges from the upbeat ("Tactical Air War") to the sad ("Ask the Casket"). "Second Coming" has acoustic rhythm guitar with compelling blues-rock guitar leads throughout, and "Kon-Tiki" turns briefly into a sea shanty. The only misstep is "Heavyworlder", whose riff is, frankly, goofy.

The Verdict: Slough Feg is a one-of-a-kind band worth checking out regardless of your taste. It could appeal to just about anyone. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


  1. I am a big fan of Slough Feg, or The Lord Weird Slough Feg as they used to be called. I have not had an opportunity to check out this latest release, though I do have three of their other albums. Just a good, fun band to listen to.

  2. Yep, the bass does sound kinda like Rush. Probably a big influence on the guy, which is a good thing. Rush rules!

  3. Well, I think I read in an interview (I think it was in Terrorizer #204) that he doesn't like Rush. But the resemblance is there anyway. (He actually doesn't like a lot of things. He wrote a column for Invisible Oranges explaining he doesn't understand extreme metal's appeal.)