Slough Feg

Hardworlder

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Slough Feg's blend of classic heavy metal and Celtic folk sounds as if the '80s and onwards never happened. Such quirky anachronism, though, has earned the group a devoted cult following. If before the band's fusion of influences was charmingly messy, Hardworlder finds the mix focused and balanced. The record has a space pirate theme, but it reaches way back, faithfully covering old-school heavy metallers Manilla Road's "Street Jammer" and Celtic folk-rockers the Horslips' "Dearg Doom." In a world of death and black metal, this metal is hardly "heavy." However, it rocks hard in a very '70s fashion. "Frankfurt-Hahn Airport Blues" uncorks tough blues rock riffs; "Insomnia" bounces along like a sprightly Black Sabbath. The majestic chords of "Tiger! Tiger!" are positively anthemic, while "Galactic Nomad" has Thin Lizzy-esque guitar harmonies and the grandeur of pre-synthesizers Rush. Even the production is a throwback, capturing instruments with natural clarity. Metal can be epic without clich├ęs; this record is ample proof.

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