Birds of Prey: The Hellpreacher

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By Ola Mazzuca

Erik Larson (Alabama Thunderpussy), Bo Leslie (The Last Van Zant), Summer Welch (Baroness), Ben Hogg (Beaten Back To Pure) and Dave Witte (Municipal Waste) come together to create concept album, The Hellpreacher.

Birds of Prey are not your stereotypical death metal band, with obscure vocals and an intimidating façade. They are simply “metal fans making metal for metal fans”.

You won’t find lyrics that deal with death, disease and decay but lyrics based on religion and the trials and tribulations of life. Tracks ‘Blind Faith’, ‘False Prophet’ and ‘Alive Inside!’ speak of believing in God and the search for salvation.

By analyzing the lyrics of each track it is evident that a story is being told. ‘Momma’ starts the album off with an individual depicting a rough childhood. As the album progresses, the individual grows older, faces more challenges such as war, described in the second last track ‘Warriors of Mud…The Hellfighters’ to the final track where the individual dies, ‘Giving Up The Ghost’.

Musically, the elements involved are not necessarily complex. The Hellpreacher is straightforward, straight up southern-tinged death metal. It almost has a sludge/doom feel to it. The guitar work remains simple, not sloppy and bass is strong, especially on ‘Juvie’. Vocals and drums could be slightly more intense in order to keep the listener interested.

The idea of incorporating a story within an album’s lyrics and music is very interesting. It is not certain whether the lyrics represent a memoir of a band member or if it is completely fictional. What is certain is that Birds of Prey have made a somewhat satisfying metal release that is sure to please anyone who is craving that old-school death metal sound.
(Relapse)

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Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.