Slough Feg – Traveller (2021)

When I finally got around to posting about classic Traveller, half a dozen people messaged me with some variation of, “Hey, Slough Feg has an album based on this game.” To those people I say: thank you.

This album fucking rips. It’s a concept album, telling the story of the time the spore-generating space pirate Baltec Budapest got turned into a dog person as part of Professor Rickets’ plan to use gene splicing to create a warrior race with which he can conquer the galaxy. The drama of the story is sky high, there are laments galore but in the truest of RPG fashions, despite all the travails and tumultuous changes, the state of the galaxy is restored to “normal” at the end of the saga. It is obviously non-canon, but comes from a place of deep love for the game — there is a song called “High Passage/Low Passage,” for Pete’s sake!

Slough Feg (previous The Lord Weird Slough Feg) is essentially the work of one man, Mike Scalzi. I’ve casually enjoyed a song here and there before, but this is the first time the band really grabbed me and shook me by the collar. The album has riffs galore, but while there are repeating refrains, I don’t think there is a single chorus in the whole album. And yet it is catchy as hell. I haven’t listened to it in a couple months but I can instantly call some of the melodies to mind. Scalzi’s got a strange sound, too, that lies a little outside my usual metal interests. I can hear the influence of Iron Maiden and Manilla Road, sure, but also…Thin Lizzy and maybe even a baseline of musical theater? It’s very dramatic. Go listen! I dare you to listen to “The Final Gambit” and not feel like your spirit is soaring the stars.

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