|Slough Feg - Hardworlder (Cruz
Del Sur Music)
"Hardworlder" is a bit stripped down from previous efforts, with song structures that seem to be a bit more direct. This is not a bad thing, as it allows the brilliant guitar work of Mike Scalzi and Angelo Tringali to take center stage. The dueling guitars recalling equal parts classic Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy. The solos have a very honest, old school feel, and are an integral part of the songs, rather than an after thought. Song writing is the key here, Slough Feg has a way of working the most subtle and insidious of hooks into their songs, allowing them to take up residence in you subconscious, and resonate in your mind days after actually listening to the album.
Outside of the guitar work, the vocals are the other aspect of Slough Feg’s music that really set them apart. Mike Scalzi has a very distinct midrange voice, and while he doesn’t possess great vocal range, his voice is quite versatile, working well regardless of the context in which it is used. Scalzi’s style is somewhat reminiscent of what Paul Di’Anno was doing on the first two Maiden albums. Not that he sounds like Di’Anno, but he brings the same gritty street level quality to the vocals. A more restrained Di’Anno, with a bit of an off kilter Mark Shelton (Manilla Road) quality thrown in is the best I can do for a comparison. I may not be able to accurately describe it, but Scalzi’s voice is very unique, and in my opinion, he is one of the best clean vocalists in the scene right now.
The songs themselves are vary in style, from the folkish ballad "The Sea Wolf" to the up-tempo gallop of "Poisoned Treasures", on through to the blues rock inspired "Frankfort-Hahn Airport Blues". Despite the eclectic nature of the album, continuity is not an issue, as these elements are expertly blended into a cohesive sound. This cohesiveness is most evident when the band uses a favorite trick from previous albums, fusing three unrelated songs together in the middle of the album. The melodic title track melds into the mid-paced gallop of "Spoils" which in turn blends seamlessly into the aforementioned "Frankfort-Hahn Airport Blues". "Hardworlder’s" three instrumentals display a more progressive, almost jam like quality, yet somehow manage to fit right in with the rest of the album.
Mike Scalzi is the metal equivalent of a Cro-Magnon man, who was frozen in glacier around 1981 and decided to form a band, after being thawed out over a decade later. Simply put, Slough Feg are playing heavy metal in it’s purest form, and rather than sounding like a nostalgia act, they sound fresh, vital and a little pissed off. If you enjoy any type of traditional heavy metal owe it to your self check this band out, and "Hardworlder" is as good an album as any to start with.
Reviewed By: Garett F.