Birds of Prey
The Hellpreacher

Super group Birds of Prey consisting of Ben Hogg (Beaten Back to Pure), Erik Larson ( The Mighty Nimbus, Alabama Thunderpussy, Hail!Hornet), Bo Leslie (The Last Van Zant, Throttlerod), Summer Welch (Baroness), and Dave Witte (Municipal Waste, Burnt by the Sun, Discordance Axis, Human Remains) have always been promising with their Southern take on groovy death ‘n’ roll, but their albums have never quite been the sum of their parts. Sure, the material has been enjoyable, sludgy groove metal with a sprinkle of death metal, but it seems it was never fully developed or memorable. Album number three, The Hellpreacher changes that.

Finally, the collective known as Birds of Prey have reached that creative zenith where all their influences come together and form a cohesive awesome album that fulfills the promise of the line up as well as the attempted death ‘n’ roll pacing with a collection of tracks that actually stick. Birds of Prey sound like a band now rather than a side project bringing in all the members respective influences.

Rendered with a dirty, beefy down-tuned guitar tone and with vocalist Ben Hogg in full on Jan C (Gorefest) mode delivering conceptual lyrics of an inmate turned priest, The Hellpreacher rumbles with earthy grooves, dirty southern riffs and drawling solos that come together as a single filthy, rollicking entity. From opener “Mama” through sickly catchy crawl of personal favorite “Juvie”, huge grooves of “The Excavation”, punk fueled “Taking on Winter Blood” to the more urgent, thrashing closers “Warriors of Mud… The Hell Fighters” (another favorite) and “Giving up the Ghost” the album is littered with the band members other influences and a healthy dose of Entombed’s Wolverine Blues as well as Gorefest’s Erase/Soul Survivor (vocally and musically- just listen to “Blind Faith”). Even the two interludes “As the Field Mice Play” and “The Owl Closes In” fit perfectly in the arch of the album. And not to give lip service to new TOTD staffer Ben Hogg, he really has developed into a top notch vocalist with a killer roar, that while rooted in Jan C’s unique tone, adds his own drunken, dirty snarl and surly spoken words.

Up until now, Birds of Prey have been an enjoyable, but unremarkable side show of a band, unsure of how to interplay all the elements of the band members, but maybe with the glue of a concept album, The Hellpreacher fulfills the promise of an actual supergroup with super results.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 13th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Staylow

    “Juvie” is also my fave on the album. Good stuff, and good review Erik.


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