By Danielle Griscti
Even if, like me, you’re not exactly an expert on SLOUGH FEG, I’m willing to bet your face will hurt by the end of the first track. “Lost and forgotten it’s his greatest fear, the lone obsolete engineer is here!” … ah, I thought, this *is* going to be as fun and imaginative as their 2003 masterpiece Traveller was. Yes, I used the word masterpiece. I loved that album from the moment I heard it, and I was a little worried that this newest release – despite it still featuring Mike Scalzi’s soaring, piercing, instantly engaging vocals – just wouldn’t deliver the goods in the same way.
Okay, I guess I know a little bit about these guys. What can I say though, when I first heard Traveller my impression was that this is a band who loves two things I do: sci-fi and Iron Maiden. Subsequent listens (many, many subsequent listens) of course would allow me to flesh out that initial impression; still, they’re not bad associations to make. Digital Resistance delivers the sci-fi themed lyrics in irresistible hooks, the same way Traveller did; it’s also similarly melodically complex, but not oversaturated. This is key – I’m continually impressed by this band’s ability to take seemingly simple compositions (there’s no grand orchestrations, over-tuned vocals, or ridiculous gimmicks to be found anywhere) and create such an incredibly memorable sound.
Well, I was grinning like an idiot right away, and my face continues to be sore as I listen while writing this, because from the first track, “Analogue Avengers/Bertrand’s Theme,” all the way through to epic outro “Warriors Dusk” it feels as energetic, varied and fun as being in a crowd full of chanting Iron Maiden fans at a huge summer festival. “Magic HOOOOOOOLIGAN!” – particularly crowd-friendly, it’s guaranteed to make everyone at a live show lose their voice from screaming along. Scalzi throws in an evil cackle at the end leading into “Ghastly Appendage,” a track which is addictive and keeps me coming back to it. As a result I seem to be favouring the second half of the album.
Lyrically, it’s full of pure gold (“the cry of banshees getting clear!”) paired with the band’s flawless brand of traditional heavy metal – plenty of duelling guitars and a galloping pace that doesn’t let up, through to the very end. I found myself amazed at how whole the album feels, as melodies that are briefly teased in one track get fully realized at just the right moment in the following one. Pretty much guaranteed to have you singing along, or grinning from ear to ear, the whole way through.