Artist: Slough Feg
Album Title: Ape Uprising
Label: Cruz del Sur
This is the seventh full-length album from Slough Feg, an American band playing heavy metal.
The production on this album isn't as clean as this band's recent albums have been. The drums are nice and crisp, but the vocals have a good bit of distortion on them, as do the 1970s-tone guitars. This is a good fit for the band, as the slightly dirty sound gives Ape Uprising a nice, sharp edge. Overall, this sounds as though it could have been recorded no later than 1980! I'd have liked a little more audible bass, though.
More than anything else, this album reminds me of Traveller meets Down Among the Deadmen -- not only are there lyrical and musical callbacks to both albums, many of the the songs combine the wandering, spacey instrumentals from Traveller with more straightforward hook-based passages a la "Sky Chariots" or "Troll Pack". To my ears, this is a welcome change after Atavism and Hardworlder, which had some songs that dragged a bit. Not so here; the triple-punch of "Ape Uprising/Simian Manifesto/Shakedown at the Six" is the best thing the band has done in a long time, and they follow it with "White Cousin", a triumphant tribute to Beneath the Planet of the Apes. The other songs on Ape Uprising are all keepers, too, from the appropriately-named "Hunchback of Notre Doom" to "Nasty Hero", a rocking closer which recalls early Judas Priest. Every single second on this album is heavy, catchy, and just plain great!
Ape Uprising is a sure contender for my best-of-2009 list, and it's going to be pretty hard to beat. Anyone who lives for classic heavy metal should get this immediately. Highest recommendations.
Standout tracks: "Ape Uprising", "Simian Manifesto", "White Cousin"