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Local metal veterans Slough Feg headline Oakland's Elbo Room

SAN FRANCISCO -- Holding the banner for true metal high for over three decades, headbanging San Francisco outfit Slough Feg plays to its loyal fans at the Elbo Room in Oakland this Friday night.

Though founded in central Pennsylvania in the late 1980s, the Lord Weird Slough Feg (as the band was known initially) had relocated to San Francisco by 1990. Fronted by guitarist/singer and principle songwriter Michael Scalzi, the group crafted a sound that was true to it's unusual name reportedly taken from a Celtic myth. Drawing sonic influences from the twin-guitar attack of Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden with occasional touches of Celtic folk, the band made a name for itself with its theatrical presentation featuring flaming torches and warpaint to go with their galloping metal anthems.

The Lord Weird Slough Feg - Sky Chariots (OFFICIAL) by Metal Blade Records on YouTube

Several demo tapes were followed by the band's self-released, eponymous debut in 1996. That effort attracted the attention of European imprint Dragonheart Records, who would release the next several albums starting with 1999's Twilight of the Idols. By the time the group recorded their celebrated follow-up album Down Among the Dead Men, Scalzi had been joined by noted San Francisco metal guitarist John Cobbett, who had already established himself with the bands Osgood Slaughter and Unholy Cadavar. That latter group also featured Scalzi as a member and would morph into the group Hammers of Misfortune.

High Passage / Low Passage by Slough Feg - Topic on YouTube

Scalzi and Cobbett would earn a higher profile with both outfits after the release of their respective conceptual albums -- Hammers of Misfortune's breakout debut The Bastard in 2001 and the Lord Weird Slough Feg's sci-fi opus Traveller, that was based on a late '70s role-playing game similar to Dungeons and Dragons. With the two talented players and songwriters contributing to each other's bands, both groups put out a string of acclaimed releases that further spread their notoriety.

Scalzi would depart Hammers of Misfortune by the mid-2000s to focus his attention on Slough Feg, with the guitarist leading new configurations of the band through more sci-fi epics like Hardworlder and Ape Uprising! Slough Feg put out its first new album since 2014's Digital Resistance. Issued in 2019 by the group's current label Cruz Del Sur Music, New Organon finds Scalzi and company unleashing another batch of tunes spotlighting their familiar twin-guitar attack and the band leader's concept-driven songwriting (the title tune refers to a book on the scientific method published in 1620 by English philosopher Francis Bacon).

The Lord Weird Slough Feg - Uncanny by heishizixingk on YouTube

This Friday night gig at the Elbo Room will reportedly be one of the last presented by longtime Bay Area metal show promoter Lucifer's Hammer at the Elbo Room with the pending sale of the venue that was announced last November. Slough Feg is joined by two bands of note. Side project Hands of Goro which features Pounder guitarist Tom Draper -- who has also toured with Carcass and Angel Witch -- bashing out New Wave of British Heavy Metal style tunes with members of Slough Feg. Opening band Gravedodger is an all-star amalgam of musicians who have played with local underground favorites including Glitter Wizard, Hightower, Walken, Hazard's Cure and Rock Bottom.

Slough Feg
Friday, January 21, 8 p.m. $10-$13
Elbo Room

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