Friday, August 27, 2010

The Lord Weird Slough Feg - Twilight of the Idols

Slop a-sloppy joe, a-slop a-sloppy joe

Come one and come all! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, gather 'round the internet! The only place where you'll find an American Midwestern redneck like myself consider ground beef covered in barbecue sauce and other assorted spices slathered between two buns fine cuisine. Shit, smack some cheese in the middle of this concoction and you've pretty much got a Jesus sandwich! The sloppy joe is somewhat unappealing to those brand new to American redneck food, looking somewhat lacking in the stability department. A city slicker or European may ask "Well, wouldn't that fall apart when picked up? It's like mega chunky soup smooshed between two slices of bread", and this is where the mullet headed, gun toting, beer guzzling inbreds that I call my family say "Well that's the best part, you can just scrape the excess garbage up with some potato chips and eat that!".... or they just shoot at them and yell violently about never coming near their double-wide ever again if they like their ass in one piece, depending on how much Coors Light said hick has consumed.

Now that we're all uncomfortably aware of how much I love meat in my buns, I'd like to say that The Lord Weird Slough Feg's sophomore full length, 1999's Twilight of the Idols, stands as the musical manifestation of my beloved sloppy joe; messy, yet undeniably delicious. One description I use a lot in my reviews is "precise", I find myself endlessly praising people like Doc Raczkowski and Gene Hoglan for being able to play extremely fast and yet extremely tightly. Yet here, Slough Feg's music sounds like the guitars are playing too fast for the drum beat or that random notes are hit on accident. Cues sound missed, riffs sound half a beat longer than the drums, the entire recording comes off as amateurish at worst, and like a drunken rehearsal at best. The intros of both Warpspasm and Bi-Polar Disorder are two excellent examples of what I'm talking about. And throughout all of that, I have a hard time thinking of a more fun and enjoyable album off the top of my head. The bouncy rhythms and sheer Celtic quirk that saturate this record seep through my speakers, bashes my balls against a running belt sander, and then mushroom stamps me with all of the fury and swagger that one should expect from Slough Feg. Tracks like Highlander, The Great Ice Wars, and Slough Feg carry a slightly dark undertone to the otherwise uptempo and somewhat happy and innocent sounding melodies. It may sound odd, but really, The Pangs of Ulster never fails to make me grin.

There is also plenty of variety to be found here, songs range from the faux heavy metal epic, The Great Ice Wars, the gruesome gather-'round-the-campfire battle hymn, Brave Connor Mac, and the dark galloper High Season II. There's something for everybody here. Bi-Polar Disorder actually wouldn't sound out of place as one of the faster songs on a 70's Black Sabbath release, barring the vocals of course. I'd have to say that the first half of the record is better overall, as The Great Ice Wars has this really unnecessary ambient middle part with Scalzi narrating the story. This is not the only flaw of the album, but it is easily the most annoying, as it is the first time I find myself itching to press the skip track button. And what's even worse is that it's bookended by two excellent sections of galloping heavy metal. But the good news is that almost every other aspect of Twilight of the Idols is pure, auditory sex. The leads are always blistering and ear catching, soaring high over the unadulterated quirk below. It's almost like clutching onto the feathers of a Griffin as it soars over a Medieval battle remeniscent of a scene out of Braveheart or something.

It's hard to describe what The Lord Weird Slough Feg actually sounds like, much less what makes them so good. Think about it, you cannot describe a smell without comparing it to another smell, and it's damn near impossible to describe what color is, and classing Slough Feg is just as daunting of a task. Try it out, try explaining what sizzling bacon smells like without referencing another smell, try defining the spectrum of color without using a dictionary (or by just being smart, you aren't welcome here if you are), and then try pigeonholing Slough Feg. The easiest and broadest term to use would just be "heavy metal", and that's really about as descriptive as it gets. The best description I've found is Di'Anno era Iron Maiden with a Celtic tinge, sans the twang. Listen for yourself, and buy the albums if you can find them.

RATING - 96%

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