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Slough Feg - "Ape Uprising" (CD)

Slough Feg - "Ape Uprising" CD cover image

"Ape Uprising" track listing:

1. The Unchback of Notre Doom (4:47)
2. Overborne (2:53)
3. Ape Uprising (10:02)
4. Simian Manifesto (4:09)
5. Shakedown at the Six (3:51)
6. White Cousin (3:09)
7. Ape Outro (3:17)
8. Nasty Hero (5:25)

Reviewed by on February 14, 2010

"Slough Feg is back with a semi-concept-but-not-in-a-pretentious-prog-sort-of-way slab of heavy metal."

That's right friends, mentally diminish to your primal berserker and put on your war paint because Slough Feg are back with a semi-concept-but-not-in-a-pretentious-prog-sort-of-way slab of heavy metal. “Ape Uprising”, now that's an album title you can sink your teeth into.

For those unaware, Slough Feg (or formally, The Lord Weird Slough Feg) is regarded as a hidden gem of true metal to many, emerging in the 90s wasteland with a blend of Thin Lizzy folk-infused, NWOBHM-influenced heavy metal. With their last album "Hardworlder" the band moved slightly more into the classic NWOBHM sound with less of the thrash/power found on “Traveller” and more hard rock/blues influence. Normally a move accompanied with a death knell, sheer songwriting skill pulled the album through to sit beside the rest of the bands catalog. "Ape Uprising" is simultaneously another move forward for their sound and yet very similar to "Hardworlder."

Starting of with a (cheekily named) straight out doom metal song, this album makes it known it's a touch heavier than "Hardworlder." The title track is a first for Slough Feg (being 10 minutes long), but they pull it off greatly kicking off the theme of simian oppression boiling over as a great ape rises up to unleash an ass-kicking to the human race.

Lead man Mike Scalzi's voice hasn't changed and you will either love it or hate it. Of course, if you’re in the latter department I'd consider getting your ears removed as Scalzi's vocals are some of the original in metal. Lyrics of course stay as philosophical and eloquent as usual, and the ape theme makes the album school-boy giggle inducing for no other reason than invoking the image of monkeys destroying things.

An integral part of Slough Feg's sound, the twin lead guitars here are as up front as normal and in tracks like "Ape Outro" reach an almost laugh out loud level of epic guitar soloing. Ironic that a band so focused on primal regression is slowly reaching further and further back in time with there sound - here the guitars are fuzzy and Sabbath-like, the bass clear and energetic.

"White Cousin" is the highlight of the album to me with jumpy folk melodies, beautiful acoustic and more fantastic shredding. The only possible bone to pick here is that it's not another metal-in-your-face "Traveller"/"Down Among the Deadmen" album, but times are a changing and Slough Feg's picked a winner. In short, this is a fantastic, all killer no filler album and should be essential for any fan of the Feg.

Highs: Classic songs, fantastic lead guitar, pure heavy metal.

Lows: If you thought Hardworlder was a slip you may feel the same about Ape Uprising.

Bottom line: Slough Feg makes it 7 in a row; this is another great album.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)