Slough Feg

Digital Resistance

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The ninth long-player from the Mike Scalzi-led, San Francisco-based purveyors of old-school hard rock/power metal named after a character from a Celtic-themed Barbarian comic anthology, Digital Resistance is so meaty, melodic, and spilling over with divine Iron Maiden/Thin Lizzy-inspired guitarmonies, that it may as well have been released on cassette. As Luddite metal albums go, it's a gem, and while it's certainly deserving of the retro tag, it never feels derivative, due in large part to Scalzi's enigmatic lyrics and air raid siren of a voice, which falls somewhere in between Dee Snider and Roger Daltrey. Big, melodic, and peppered with the kind of hooks that make you lean forward, grin, and nod in time, songs like the effusive "Magic Hooligan," the first-person serial killer narrative "Habeas Corpsus," and the fist-pumping title cut, the latter of which spins a loose conceptual thread that weaves its way throughout the album concerning the speed with which technology is overtaking our biological evolution, are as steeped in pop as they are the decibel-pushing cadences of hard rock. Slough Feg have always been the heavy metal equivalent of Guided by Voices (minus the supernatural prolificity), and Digital Resistance does little to tarnish that reputation, as it plays as fast and loose with the genre as it does venerate it. Like Bob Mould, Scalzi believes in the redemptive power and pageantry of rock & roll, and more importantly, that all amps should go to eleven.

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