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Slough Feg - Digital Resistance

by Matt Hensch

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"Digital Resistance" is a bit of a bomb. It's really the first time I've felt the Slough Feg machine losing a kick in its step, although bashing the record entirely wouldn't make much sense. It's perfectly fine for what it is, but what it is also taints its content considerably. Describing the album is pretty tricky; the best way I can articulate it is by calling "Digital Resistance" two EPs meshed together. There's a lot here that gives the Slough Feg moniker justice, but a huge chunk of the album holds little substance and sounds like a band hinged to its sound because that's just what people expect; "Digital Resistance" is Slough Feg's "Death Magnetic."

I know that sounds harsh, but really, most of this is fan service. "Magic Hooligan" or "Warrior's Dusk" is Slough Feg being Slough Feg, with all the riffs that one finds in a Slough Feg album and all the vocal patterns and ideas one expects in a Slough Feg album; that's as deep as they go. I don't really know how else to describe the one half of "Digital Resistance" other than that. Okay, "Laser Enforcer" and the title track are excellent partly because they're both gushing with the leads and riffs that Slough Feg made customary throughout its journey, but I can't get into the other tunes. They're all commonplace and uneventful-as I said, Slough Feg doing the Slough Feg shuffle. Minus the charm.

But if we're talking about the experimental tunes, then the story is a little different. "Digital Resistance" offers a couple of songs that are completely unexpected yet performed flawlessly. "Analogue Avengers / Bertrand Russell's Sex Den" feels like a prog rock expedition with piping keyboards and a dark atmosphere that sets the tone for the heavy metal journey wonderfully. The spaghetti western overtone of "Habeas Corpsus" is an excellent, excellent addition to the progression of the record as well. These are the tunes that match the quality of the Slough Feg banner along with "Laser Enforcer" and the title track. A handful of other tracks heightened my curiosity for all the usual Slough Feg reasons: they're multilayered, intelligent slabs of brazen heavy metal.

"Digital Resistance" is decent. Compared to the insanely high level of quality Slough Feg's other records aspire to, however, it looks like a comet among brilliant stars. What does the group accomplish by squirreling through a dull rocker like "The Price is Nice" or pandering the illusion that "Warrior's Dusk"-clearly a 'sequel' to "Warrior's Dawn"- somehow lives up to the band's back catalog? This is really the one Slough Feg record that feels limited in sight and scope, and although the group's efforts are occasionally excellent and frequently acceptable, I can't set "Digital Resistance" near the masterful bar of "Down Among the Deadmen" and other stellar Slough Feg releases.

Slough Feg - Digital Resistance
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