By Gruesome Greg
If spending over two hours with the ‘Feg is your idea of a good time, you’re gonna love this! The Slay Stack Grows is a two-disc set featuring the band’s initial “White Tape” demo from 1990, along with their 1994 demo tape, four live performances and a German radio interview. The sound is pretty inconsistent on the white tape, with the bass being too loud on the first few tracks, and various drops and shifts in volume throughout. It certainly captures the essence of a raw demo recorded “on a four track in some dude’s basement,” according to the liner notes. The only member of this line-up who played on the band’s debut album six years later was Mike Scalzi, who wasn’t doing vocals at the time. Instead, a little-known singer named Omar Herd leads the part-thrash, part-NWOBHM attack. I don’t know if he ever made it out of Pennsylvania; his yelping is pretty standard thrash-metal fare. However, a handful of these songs made it onto the band’s first three albums, namely “Highway Corsair,” “Highlander,” “Slough Feg,” “Warp Spasm” (listed as “War Spasm”) and “Marauder.”
The band’s live performance on Disc 1 also comes from 1990, and was recorded in Altoona, PA. Five of the demo’s songs, including “Marauder” and “Slough Feg,” are reinterpreted in a concert setting, along with a sloppy cover of “Breakin’ the Law.” The mix isn’t perfect here, either, with the vocals too loud and the bass too scratchy and in-your-face. From the between-song banter, you get the impression that they broke a mic or two in the process.
“Highway Corsair” and “Highlander” get revamped on the 1994 demo, with a sound much more familiar to ‘Feg fans, albeit still a little rough around the edges. The latter is one of three tracks that opens CD2’s 1999 concert, along with “Fergus MacRoich” and “Cauldron of Blood.” All three concerts on the second disc sound great, and the interview is kinda neat if you ever wondered where they got the name from, although it’s mostly Mike just shooting the shit with a German interviewer who knows more metal than English…
Anyways, the first disc is cool from a collector’s/completist’s standpoint, although it’s hard to listen to at times. The second disc presents some of the band’s earlier material in a well-recorded live setting, and wouldn’t be a bad entry point for those new to Slough Feg—keeping in mind, of course, that CD1 isn’t very reflective of their sound, even if it contains their earliest recordings.
(Shadow Kingdom Records)