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The Lord Weird Slough Feg
Released: 2003, Dragonheart
It’s a damn shame that more American’s haven’t heard the name The Lord Weird Slough Feg. You only have to say it once before it’s burned into your memory based on the strangeness of it alone. But for those unaware, San Fran’s The Lord Weird Slough Feg have been operating since the early 90’s playing a unique blend of NWOBHM, doom, folk, and power metal. And they’ve been doing a damn fine job of it. And their latest release TRAVELLER is another amazing entry in what should go down as one of the greatest American traditional metal bands to ever exist.
In the past The Lord Weird Slough Feg have been fairly grounded in Celtic tradition and myth as a basis for lyrics, with a healthy amount of D&D swordplay added for good measure. On TRAVELLER however, the band takes a bold step forward into Sci-Fi realms that was foreshadowed by a couple tracks off their previous album DOWN AMONG THE DEADMEN. This is a concept album based on an absurdly obscure 70’s RPG called TRAVELLER, it centers around the story of a legendary skyway corsair who crashes onto an asteroid and meets up with a mad scientist who wants to mix the DNA of humans and that of the Vargr (a sort of half-human half-dog) to build up a master race with which to march across the galaxy. The story itself is pretty damn engrossing especially in tracks like “Vargr Theme/Confrontation” about halfway into the song when it breaks down into a march tempo and no less then a full on theatrical confrontation scene (set to righteous metal, of course) takes place. I won’t try to tell the whole story here because it would take too long and it takes multiple listens to get a full understanding of it. For most the thing that separates The Lord Weird Slough Feg from many of their contemporaries is the unique vocals of Mike Scalzi (vocals/guitar), his slightly nasal, deep tenor howl is a delight to the ears and fits the music better then any vocals I could have imagined. They simply must be heard to be appreciated, especially in tracks like “Baltech’s Lament” and “The Final Gambit”. The music also represents something new for The Lord Weird Slough Feg. The guitar tone is warmer and more natural then it has been in the past, the mix is superior to their first two efforts and the overall effect of trying to portray the vastness of space has been very well achieved in the production. This is the second album with the current lineup including John Cobbett (guitars) also of Ludicra and Hammers Of Misfortune, and their playing has really hit a new level here. I can honestly say without fear of hyperbole that in my opinion, Cobbett/Scalzi is the greatest guitar duo since Murray/Smith. They simply play around each other perfectly, there is never an off harmony or a run of notes that seems even a little contrived.
This band is criminally unnoticed, and if I could ever impart one thing on any Metal-Rules readers it would be BUY THIS FUCKING ALBUM!
1. The Spinward Marches
2. High Passage/Low Passage
3. Asteroid Belts
4. Professor's Theme
5. Vargr Moon
6. Vargr Theme/Confrontation
7. Baltech's Lament
9. Curse of Humaniti
10. The Final Gambit
11. The Spinward Marches (return)
12. Addendum Galactus
Mike Scalzi - vocals/guitars (Hammers of Misfortune)
John Cobbett - guitars (Hammers of Misfortune, Ludicra)
Adrian Maestas - bass
Greg Haa - drums
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