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The album name is misspelled for some reason - 98%

Empyreal, March 4th, 2007

Anyone who doesn't know this band should be immediately initiated, and give their entire discography a listen. Unfortunately that's not possible for some people, seeing as this is one of the most obscure and underground bands there is (due to some tomfoolery by their former label, Dragonheart Records), and their albums got little to no proper distribution. It's a great shame how bands like this slip through the peripheral vision of most metal fans and people in general, because this band is absolutely first rate. Their popularity seems to have been spread by word of mouth, as I was surprised by the number of reviews they have on this site. But enough griping...this album is absolutely killer, just like mostly everything Slough Feg puts out.

Traveller is a more polished version of everything Slough Feg has put out in the past, much less inaccessible, and much more focused and sleek. The production is the best they've ever gotten, and all of the band members are doing a great job. It's not as weird or folkish as Twilight Of The Idols or Down Among the Deadmen, but the band makes up for that with improved songwriting and musicianship in all areas. It's a concept album based around a 70s science fiction RPG game of the same name as the album, and while I'm not familiar with the game, this is a very original idea...can you name any other bands who would go so far out there and do something like this? Mike Scalzi is a lyrical genius, by the way, and his rhyming schemes sound absolutely perfect with his deep, theatrical voice and the weird, sci-fi riffs packed in here. As others have stated, his lyrics are similar to folkish poetry, and I've never read anything like them. Amazing. Although I don't often get into depth with the lyrics, I have to say Slough Feg's lyrics are among my favorites.

The music here is, as I stated previously, sleek and polished, and goes along with the futuristic science fiction themes found in the lyrics. The riffs are big and chunky and slightly reminiscent of Iron Maiden's early work. And the solos are great fun, screaming and ripping across cosmic planes with a truly unstoppable force (heh). The rhythm team gives the album more energy then it already had, and the band really shows their experience here, with a tight, functioning album with no huge flaws. The songs here are all very cool, and it'd take too much time to describe all of them. I can't even choose a favorite, as every single song has some redeeming factor, whether it be cool vocal lines that sound as if they're coming from inside a space helmet or spacey, futuristic riffs that blast by you like cannons firing from an intergalactic pirate ship. "The Final Gambit" is very cool, with a galloping Maidenish riff and some absolutely killer vocal lines. And "Baltech's Lament" is worthy of note, as it is an acoustic, almost balladesque song, something which Slough Feg haven't done before. And hell, even the instrumentals "The Spinward Marches" and "The Spinward Marches (return)" are both great, stomping riff-mongers far beyond the fluttery keyboard intervals that other bands use these days. "Vargr Moon" is a doomy song much like "Bi-Polar Disorder" from the Twilight of the Idols album, except way better. And "Addendum Galactus" has a mindnumbingly cool opening riff that could likely impregnate any unsuspecting women in the room, it's that catchy...aw fuck I could go on all day about these.

If you want a disc of unabashedly cool and weird heavy metal, then you'd do well to pick up Traveller. There's no other band like Slough Feg, and along with Down Among the Deadmen, this is probably their best. Get it, or be denied entrance to the gates of Valhalla after death. Absolutely essential.