If classic metal bands are the literary equivalents of H.P. Lovecraft or J.R.R. Tolkien, then Slough Feg is Frank Herbert, with a healthy dose of the Ulster Cycle. Their name is based on a demon from Celtic mythology who carves stories into the walls of his cave. An apt image, as Slough Feg members have labored in the metal underground since the early ’90s, with 2007’s Hardworlder their sixth in a string of brilliant records that have gone essentially unnoticed by the mainstream.
Mike Scalzi (guitar/vocals) writes music with details like nothing else in the metal universe. Often dubbed “folk metal” due to the Celtic themes and figures (see 1999’s Twilight of the Idols) that often surface in the music, the band is staunchly devoted to the classic sound that roared out of the British Isles in the early ’80s. Hardworlder, like 2003’s Traveller, is essentially a sci-fi concept album that topped the lists of many 2007 year-end underground Best Of lists. Music snobs may roll their eyes, but a listen to Scalzi’s arrangements, the conviction of his vocal delivery and the energy in the performances proves that, when done correctly, metal truly is a distinctive musical art form. (Chris LaTray)
Slough Feg opens for The Sword Wednesday, April 23, at 9 PM at the Badlander. $10/$8 in advance.