The Lord Weird Slough Feg - New Organon review




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Band: The Lord Weird Slough Feg
Album: New Organon
Release date: June 2019


01. Headhunter
02. Discourse On Equality
03. The Apology
04. Being And Nothingness
05. New Organon
06. Sword Of Machiavelli
07. Uncanny
08. Coming Of Age In The Milky Way
09. Exegesis/Tragic Hooligan
10. The Cynic


So this is the first time since 2003's Traveller that we get The Lord Weird Slough Feg's whole name on the cover. Does that mean that the band has returned to the sound they had more than fifteen years ago? Well, the answer is yes and no.

Five years is the longest gap the band has had between albums and New Organon does indeed sound rawer and more primitive than Digital Resistance, but the songwriting is more a continuation of that album rather than a return to the band's early days. The lyrical theme is now not about technology but ancient philosophy and New Organon is inspired by the 1620 book of the same name by Francis Bacon. Vocalist/guitarist Mike Scalzi teaches philosophy himself and wrote lyrics based on his lecture notes. In his own words the album talks about "primitive tribal society like shamanism as the first philosophers and then proceeds though the pre-Socratics era and then Plato, Aristotle, medieval catholic theology, enlightenment and then existentialist philosophy."

The ability to incorporate interesting storytelling with traditional heavy metal has always been one of The Lord Weird Slough Feg's strengths, and in this album you can almost feel that you are listening to a soundtrack for Plato's dialogues with "The Apology" being the most eloquent demonstration of this. If there is something off with New Organon, it is that sometimes the emphasis seems to be placed more in the narrative than the music itself, and while the lyrics are a treat to read, the tunes are not always as engaging. Don't get me wrong, the band is almost incapable of writing bad songs. However, the riff exhibition of "Headhunter", the Thin Lizzy-esque harmonies and feistiness of "Being And Nothingness" and "Uncanny", the galloping character of the title track, and the lead guitar masterclass showcased in "The Cynic" stand out from the rest of the pack even upon first listen. The remaining songs tread on mid-paced territory, where the music feels more or less an accompaniment of the story rather than the focal point of the album. The fact that this is the first release of the band featuring no instrumental song (if my memory serves me right) is further proof that Scalzi may have focused more on the lyrics than on the music.

In any case, intelligent heavy metal is extremely rare and New Organon definitely gets extra credit points for being a thinking metalhead's album. It is also an enjoyable traditional metal listen, even though it does feel underdeveloped at times, and if you didn't get that impression from this review, it is probably because the reviewer always has ridiculous expectations from The Lord Weird Slough Feg.

"From the soul to observing the stars and their cause
Through a hole in the Earth where the mind's eye will fall"


 



Written on 30.08.2019 by I was into this music when you were still in diapers.


Comments

Comments: 2   Visited by: 61 users
30.08.2019 - 11:40
Arcticus
A fair assessment, I'm a big fan of these guys (Traveller is top 10 all time for me) but "underdeveloped" feels accurate for this. It's kind of frustrating, as there are flashes of the usual Feg brilliance but they're few and far between. I truly hope Scalzi isn't running out of (musical) ideas, but that's almost the impression I get here. The rough production doesn't really help either. Anyway I'll probably give this a few more spins to see if it grows on me more, but otherwise I'll just stick with the classics.
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30.08.2019 - 12:06
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Arcticus on 30.08.2019 at 11:40

A fair assessment, I'm a big fan of these guys (Traveller is top 10 all time for me) but "underdeveloped" feels accurate for this. It's kind of frustrating, as there are flashes of the usual Feg brilliance but they're few and far between. I truly hope Scalzi isn't running out of (musical) ideas, but that's almost the impression I get here. The rough production doesn't really help either. Anyway I'll probably give this a few more spins to see if it grows on me more, but otherwise I'll just stick with the classics.

Traveller and Hardworlder are both out of this world to the point that it's impossible to reach their level of brilliance again but in my mind Slough Feg do not have bad albums. The truth is that I've listened a lot to New Organon for the purpose of this review and it is merely a 6.5-7/10 for Slough Feg standards. For most of other heavy metal bands' standards it's much higher.
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