Some of the things Slough Feg don’t do: sit still, adhere to conventional modes of thought, play unsurprising music, make sure their audience know what to expect with each release, and make bad albums.
I was expecting a whole lot of greatness with ‘Ape Uprising!’ because it had an awful lot to live up to after it’s brilliant predecessor ‘Hardworlder’ – which I seem to like an awful lot more than a lot of people who I’ve spoken to about it.
It’s quite recognizably Slough Feg. The Celtic influence is there still but not so much as was evident on ‘Traveller’ (which is always going to be the yardstick by which to measure any Slough Feg material, past, present and future).
The production is very ’70s, with crunchy guitars, heavy bass and in-your-face drums and vocals. The solos on this album are a little different from what we’ve come to expect from SF – not as melodic somehow, more shredding and noisy, and very crazy.
As stated, it’s recognizably SF. The opening number ‘The Hunchback of Notre Doom’ kicks things off with a total doooom vibe, really slow, maybe the heaviest SF have ever done with a really tortured voice from Scalzi. ‘Overbourne’ is next. It’s a rocking tune with plenty of energy and Scalzi’s vocals again stand out, carrying this song best.
The title track is nice and long, and has all the SF hallmarks. Wonderful intricate Celtic tunes, twin-guitar harmonies, heavy chugging, wild and energetic drumming, many pace-changes and the theme of evolution to keep your mind occupied in case the music isn’t riveting enough (not a chance!).
‘Simian Manifesto’ has more of the evolutionary lyrical concept that this album concerns itself with – a fantastic and very heavy number again, with plenty of changes and some fast sections too. ‘White Cousin’ is a song I’ve got problems with. Well not too many problems. Sometimes though the acoustic mid-section is a little bit boring. The music is actually good – you just have to be in the mood for it.
‘Nasty hero’ is my least favourite song here. I would be lying if I said I like it. I don’t. Maybe someday it will grow on me but it just sounds too upbeat and jolly. The main riff is fairly dull and the constant soloing after the middle part is annoying. It does pick up for a bit with some great riffing though: so even the worst song here has something going for it. You can forgive SF pretty much anything, so you can forgive them these two crap riffs.
Finally, the layout is worth a mention, as great work has been done here by Iron Kodex. Unfortunately I missed their edition of ‘Hardworlder’, so I can’t compare the two, but at least I managed to get one of these records, which somehow it looks like I could eat it, it’s so great. Ultimately it’s a brilliant release with a lot of musical and visual elements to boast. Get it as soon as you can.
3.5/5 – Piotr Sargnanel ::: 04/08/09