Slough Feg – Digital Resistance


Review by Jason Guest

Metal Blade Records

Almost twenty five years in and Slough Feg have deliver album number nine, the enticingly entitled Digital Resistance. I’m more acquainted with vocalist/guitarist Mike Scalzi’s work with Hammers of Misfortune, their first two albums, 2001’s The Bastard and 2003’s The August Engine (along with the Scalzi-less 17th Street of 2011) being particular favourites, and so this marks a first for me. And definitely not a last (and given that they’re named after a character in 200AD’s Slaine, I should’ve come across them much sooner). Taking an oppositional – or at least a critical – perspective on technology and its overwhelming ability to debilitate rather than liberate, Scalzi and co. paint a dystopian picture of humanity in the twenty-first century. Combining classic rock with 70s prog and touches of folk, doom, and whatever else they lay their hands on, their sound may draw from the greats of the past but is fresher and much more intriguing and vibrant than many of the bands of today that make that very claim.

To say that Digital Resistance is a well-written album would be putting it mildly, patronising even. The musicianship is top notch, the lyrics are intriguing and offer depth as well as meaning (as all good lyrics should), Scalzi’s vocal performance is always captivating, the songs are all great, the album is a structural, textural, and dynamic triumph, and the imagination, the creativity, the passion, and the work that went into its construction never once falter, regardless of how many plays it gets. The album is a crusade, a diatribe both musically and lyrically against the trappings of a consumer society where passivity is both encouraged and celebrated. In a world where a wealth of information is at our fingertips yet is overshadowed by the stream of shit that floods through the unending one-way tunnel of social networks, and greatness, justice, and egalitarianism are the property of that vacuous and vampiric cash cow known as Hollywood, albums such as this are not just needed, they are mandatory.

Both jester and guru, when Grocho Marx said, “I find television very educating. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book”, he may well have been pre-empting Scalzi and co. One listen to this and you may very well find yourself switching off the TV, your PC, your iPhone, and doing something much less boring, maybe even something fulfilling. Leave the stereo on though. Digital Resistance is a pretty good soundtrack to your liberation. Besides which, any album with a track called ‘Bertrand Russell’s Sex Den’ is always going to be a winner.

Slough Feg - Digital Resistance9 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Analogue Avengers / Bertrand Russell’s Sex Den
  2. Digital Resistance
  3. Habeas Corpus
  4. Magic Hooligan
  5. Ghastly Appendage
  6. Laser Enforcer
  7. The Price Is Nice
  8. Curriculum Vitae
  9. The Luddite
  10. Warriors Dusk