Slough Feg
Ape Uprising!

Who among you doesn’t now realize that Slough Feg is one of the best bands on the planet? They do in fact rule; always have and always will. Through all the discussions of a sound that is slightly askew in a cult NWOBHM kind of way with a Celtic folk thread that always simmers just beneath the surface (and sometimes overtly above it) and the oddly appealing vocal style of guitarist Mike Scalzi, we sometimes take the most obvious quality for granted; fantastic songwriting. It is the fuel that made Hardworlder go and it is an even more powerful factor on new album Ape Uprising! It is a disc that is a good bet to make my year-end list. Hell, it’s a guarantee!

One look at that album cover (I mean, come on who doesn’t think apes are the coolest?) and you just know that something grand and delectably eclectic is in store for the listener. “The Hunchback of Notre Doom,” an opening slice of classic doom, makes one wonder where things will be taken until “Overborne” hits and we are assured that Ape Uprising! continues in a similar, if heavier and even more guitar-driven, vein as its predecessor.

And then the sparks really start to fly with a series of songs that offer more orgasmic riffs, soaring harmonies, and white hot solos than some bands spend an entire career recording, not to mention a lyrically brilliant foray into a world in which the apes reign supreme. Oh it’s coming, man! Just you wait and see. The title track is the album epic, a 10-minute guitar-lover’s tour de force that is so good you’ll never once consider the running time. But it is “Simian Manifesto” that just may be the highlight. An all-out barnstormer with every riff a killer and every solo resulting in goose bumps and spine tingles, as well as the most memorable lyric/melody of the album: “Never coming down from the trees / never bending down on my knees!” The level of jam worthiness is unmatched, complete with an unexpected left turn into a groovy closing section; it almost sounds like the start of a new track. I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention “Shakedown” too, as its 70s hard rock vibes are heard loudest (particularly Thin Lizzy), including a galloping bass-led break that simultaneously recalls Ted Nugent and Heart – well, something like that anyway; I couldn’t exactly pinpoint the most suitable reference as of this writing. Finally, the cleverly titled “White Cousin” is the most folk-oriented track of the bunch with an absolutely beautiful melody and a delivery not unlike what was heard on the acoustic-driven “The Sea Wolf” from Hardworlder.

Ape Uprising! is one of those pick-a-track-pick-any-track albums; eight songs, eight grand slams. I’m still trying to decide if it is a better album than Hardworlder, at least from a creative/compositional standpoint. Regardless, I do know that this one hit me with more immediacy and on balance I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of it. I suppose that makes it better to my ears. What difference does it really make anyway? You can’t go wrong with a Slough Feg album and Ape Uprising! is no exception.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
May 11th, 2009


  1. Commented by: vugelnox

    everything this band releases is solid fucking gold. One of my favorite bands ever, them and the mighty Hammers of Misfortune both. This album does nothing to weaken that statement. Traveller is my favorite album of theirs but when everything is so good, picking a favorite is almost a little pointless.

  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    never ever got into this band for some reason since they became Slough Feg

  3. Commented by: Shawn Pelata

    This is the first I’ve ever heard from the band and unfortunately am not initially impressed…maybe after a few more spins I’ll get it.

  4. Commented by: Storm King

    I love a band that’s not afraid to get its Thin Lizzy on, and Slough Feg brings that in spades. They’re just a straight up, classic, rocking metal band. The harmony guitar work on the title track is fantastic.

  5. Commented by: Vance

    Hardworlder is a great album and as the reviewer states, the vocal style of that guy is pretty cool and unique, they also have some excellent melodies.

    I’ll be picking this one up for sure, thanks for the great review.

  6. Commented by: Joe

    Slough Feg rules! They managed to take the sheer exhilaration of a song like “Hiberno-Latin Invasion” and carry that feeling through an entire album. Heavy metal the way it used to be done, and that’s saying something.

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