Birds Of Prey - The Hellpreacher
28 April 2009

01. Momma
02. Juvie
03. As The Field Mice Play
04. Alive Inside!
05. Tempt The Disciples
06. Taking On Our Winter Blood
07. The Excavation
08. Blind Faith
09. False Prophet
10. The Owl Closes In
11. Warriors Of Mud... The Hellfighters
12. Giving Up The Ghost

The Hellpreacher marks the third release of metal supergroup/collaboration Birds Of Prey (see the band trivia page for specifics), and is their first take at a concept album.

The basic premise is the happy tale of a young child, raped and beaten at home, rough life, goes to Juvie where he gets passed around the cell block a few times before his evil epiphany, conversion, and ascension into a happy go lucky, cruel, sadistic Jim Jones meets Caligula cult leader who ultimately self destructs, killing all of those around him. Himself included. How uplifting!

The music - sludge with a side of death metal and the hint of southern spices - is every bit as, well, dirty, as the storyline.

The gang of five play primarily pretty fast paced, rockin' metal with a great sense of both groove and swagger. They do, to break up any potential monotony, mix in the occasional slower sludgy bits, as well as the a couple interlude pieces - early on they have the dirge-like "As The Field Mice Play" and later the creepy "The Owl Closes In" which centers around a foreboding, droning acoustic guitar. Overall the production is fantastic.

Summer Welch's work on the bass rumbles along audibly (always a plus whenever detuned guitars are involved), the harsh vocals of Ben Hogg really fit the music and capture the spite of the album's main character, Dave Witte's work behind the kit sounds pretty good, he's got some fantastic fills in "Taking On Our Winter Blood".

And the guitars. Ah the guitars, coupled with the production, have a fantastic crunch while maintaining a bit of a dirty edge. Good metal should have good, powerful guitars, no? Well, The Hellpreacher certainly has those. In droves. Erik Larson and Bo Leslie lay down some fantastic riffs and a couple really cool wah drenched solos that give this album its muscle.

Favorite tracks o' mine would be "Alive Inside", the eerie-but-short "The Owl Closes In", the great closer "Giving Up The Ghost", and "Taking On Our Winter Blood" which nearly caused me to spit out my coffee the first listen through when they broke into a chorus bit shouting 'I'm not crazy!/You're the one that's crazy!/You're driving me crazy!' As a long-time Suicidal Tendencies fan, I appreciate this tip of the cap to ST, whether intentionally done or not.

All in all, I dug the album. Perhaps it was the The Hellpreacher, perhaps it was the pot of coffee I drank, or most likely a combination of both, but I have been bouncing up and down in my home office/man fort with a big grin on my face all morning, which is probably really odd considering I've spent the last hour or so listening to tales of Juvenile Detention Center prison rape and murder of acolytes.

The Hellpreacher is definitely worth checking out, and, fortunately for you, Relapse has gone out of their way to make it easy to do... Clicky here for sonic goodness!

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Band profile: Birds Of Prey
Album: The Hellpreacher


Written on 16.06.2009 by
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
More reviews by BitterCOld ››


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Fat & Sassy! - 17.06.2009 at 07:27  
This sounds very interesting, to say the least. Prob check this out. Good review!
BitterCOld - 17.06.2009 at 07:34  
Thanks for the kudos.

the link at the very end of the review goes to a site where the entire album (minus one track) is streaming, so Relapse really did make it easy. if you find yourself on the fence, give it a couple listens through. i think i was sold somewhere between 2nd and 3rd listen.
Bigpaul - 17.06.2009 at 11:21  
Thanks for adding the the link to the album stream.....on first listen they remind me of an uptempo version of Crowbar which is no bad thing in my opinion. Considering I had to give away my ticket to last nights Down gig this little piece of old school riffage is a very plesant find indeed!
Derwood - 21.06.2009 at 23:15  
This review just bumped this album several notches up my to-be-listened-to pile.

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