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Birds of Prey - Weight of the Wound Review

by Travis Becker

Seems like everyone fears offending anyone else these days. The stifling absurdity of so called political correctness casts a long shadow over modern society. With the white hot intensity of a thousand suns, Birds of Prey eradicates that shadow and delivers up a brutal wave of Death Metal destruction. Featuring an incomparable lineup of Stoner Rock and Metal talent, Birds of Prey lay down a debut with Weight of the Wound, which sounds less like a super group and more like a seasoned band, returned from a bygone age to resurrect the power of the blast beat and return the growl to the belly of the beast. Let chaos ensue.

Combining the sizable talents of several Virginia-based musicians, the group sheds any hint of Southern Rock influence or Blues inflections in favor of an all out assault of guitars and guttural screams. Erik Larson of Alabama Thunderpussy among many other bands, and Bo Leslie, formerly of Throttlerod, now of the Last Van Zant, handle the guitar duties. Easily keeping all of the paces from the frenetic to the murky, the pair tears the album up with dual guitar butchery. Drummer Dave Witte, though, stars in this Death-o-rama, hammering out insanely fast blast beats that will leave your brain bouncing around from ear to ear. Summer Welch ties the rhythm section together with his bass, and bolsters a structure that's rock solid top to bottom. One cannot forget, of course, singer, Ben Hogg, usually of Beaten Back to Pure. He pulls throaty bellows from God knows where and slathers them all over the whole record. Hogg can sing, mind you, he does on the last BBTP album, but he sure doesn't do much pure singing on this record.

Early press had the band pegged as "death and roll", an homage to the originators of the very small genre, Entombed. In fact, "death and roll" may include only Entombed. Until now. Birds of Prey certainly deserve consideration for inclusion into that exclusive club. While the unrelenting, pile-driving force of Death Metal drives the record forward, the groove just beneath the surface is undeniable.

Birds of Prey probably succeed in large part because the band is chocked full of songwriting. While the Death Metal template seems to be employed generally, there is no lack of variety in the songs on Weight of the Wound. To balance the all-out fast and ferocious numbers like "Mangled by Mongoloids" and "Buttf***ed with a Shotgun Barrel", Birds of Prey throw in a couple of numbers like, "Murder of an Off Duty Cop". The slower grind of that song gives a nice break before the blistering finale of "Coke Mule" and "To Kill a Co-Worker (You Ain't My f***ing Boss Man). In particular, the guitar solo to end the latter makes for a memorable moment with its intertwined guitars.

Now that some of the song titles are out there, it should be noted that, lyrically at least, Weight of the Wound is not for the squeamish. While some may find the subject matter of "Mangled by Mongoloids" fairly humorous (it's easily the best song concerning this subject since "Mongoloid" by Devo, maybe the only one) it's probably a safe bet that Jerry Lewis probably isn't on board with his support. "Front Lawn Filled with Family Members" and "Hustling the Coroner" also suffer from a certain tact one usually employs when say…dealing with one's family or spouse, but for Death Metal songs, they flat out stomp a mud hole in blue skies and butterflies. Of course, if you've found this band at all, you probably understand the intentionally, blatantly offensive approach for which Birds of Prey are clearly aiming.

While Birds of Prey may constitute a side project for all of its members, Weight of the Wound definitely does not feel like a one-off, one-time aligning of the stars type project. The urgency and continuity in the album mow down the competition and the sheer brutality of their sound hits like a twelve-pound hammer to the skull. If you're into heavy music and, as long as scary lyrics about death, mutilation, and gruesome ends of all sorts don't give you nightmares, Birds of Prey is a band to check out. Sleep tight, now.

CD Info and Links

Birds of Prey - Weight of the Wound

Label:Relapse Records (USA)

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