"The Animal Spirits"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Now who else but Slough Feg would do a metal song about Martin Luther tacking his protests on the cathedral wall? Nobody I can think of. It's the unusual subject matter and eccentricity of this long-running California metal band that makes them so endearing. I can't imagine they'll sell a bucket load of "The Animal Spirits" with Mike Scalzi's rough sketch of a werewolf priest on the cover and no logo or title to go with it, but I doubt if they give a rat's ass anymore.

This record follows very closely in the spirit of other Slough Feg classics like "Atavism" or "Ape Uprising". Compact and quick melodic metal songs with wonderful catchy riffs, a strong Celtic touch and the elegant and baroque vocals of the aforementioned Mr. Scalzi. If you've liked any previous Slough stuff, have no fear of a letdown here.

Some of the other odd subjects covered by Scalzi and crew include the explorations of Thor Heyerdahl ("Kon Tiki"), poking fun at the clergy ("Trick the Vicar", a great opening track), adjusting to high gravity planets ("Heavyworlder") and Luther's religious protests ("The 95 Thesis"). We also get songs about werewolves, vampires and air-to-sea warfare. There's a metallized cover of "The Tell-Tale Heart" by the Alan Parsons Project and vocalist Bob Wright of super-cult band Broca's Helm sings on "Tactical Air War".

Archetypal metal that's anything but typical. "The Animal Spirits" keeps Slough Feg's streak of great albums rolling on.