Birds Of Prey - Weight Of The Wound - Relapse Records  2006
10 Slugs To The Skull
Running Time: 35:39

What happens when you take two Virginia boys blitzed on bathtub gin, then throw them in a padded cell with one of the most technically proficient drummers on the planet and a couple refugees from Baroness and The Last Van Zant? Well, Birds Of Prey is what happens, and I'm not sure even an F-15 could knock this bad bastard out of the sky.

"Mangled By Mongoloids" kicks spurs into flesh with some bastardized Allman Brothers riffery filtered through somewhere between a noseful and truckload of crank, Ben Hogg relying on his burled up, grisly bellow for most of Weight Of The Wound, which is where he (moon)shines best. Before too long - as you knew they would -, things disintegrate into musical mayhem with all the violence of Jerry's Kids rising up and rioting at the annual telethon, wheelchairs and back braces flying like Surface To Air missles. Ripped from the pages of classic Entombed, "Hustling The Coroner" finds Dave Witte clearly having the time of his tech-metal life, being able to just pound the skins like Keith Moon on a three day bender. Near the end, "Hustling…" slows to a slothlike crawl, Birds Of Prey channeling Buzzo*ven and the ghost of Iron Monkey with appropriate demented glee, kicking open the door for "Buttfucked With A Shotgun Barrel". The rabid redneck ruckus continues, Erik Larson and Summer Welch making like Siamese sumos joined at the fretboard, and plowing through a tribute to Discharge by way of Extinction Of Mankind, Aus Rotten, or any other D-beat band worth their weight in crust. Ram an electrified cattle prod up a Sasquatch's ass, and the sound made should closely approximate Hogg's unearthly howl during "Landfill Burial", a Cable-ized slugfest, and easily the most blantantly Southern tune here. "Fuck Farm Of Washington State" is a song of unbridled lust written from an equine perspective. Hey, can you blame him for enjoying the tight fit? Proving that even greasy redneck stomp can be educational, it's here we learn that - to paraphrase Hogg's quote of Plato - idiocy is also sometimes the mother of invention. You've really got to be from the South or some other devilishly ruined area falsely billed as "God's country" to understand the mindset of a song like "Front Lawn Filled With Family Members", and knowing Ben, he may have gotten a little too autobiographical for his own good here. Nonetheless,  midway through when a blackened wildcat screech scrapes out of his battered esophagus, Larson  and Welch rend heads from shoulders with cleaver-sharp string attacks. Witte finally gets to hammer  out a few bars of mind-numbing speedgrind, but isn't at all fearful of slamming the whole wreck into  a wall if it means more damage will be done in the end. And because every album needs a power  ballad, Birds Of Prey present to us the soft-spoken paean to friendship won and lost that is "Murder  Of An Off Duty Cop". Sustained doom-drenched chords hang in the air ala early Pentagram as interpreted  by Molly Hatchet, resulting in a hayseed hatchet job par excellence, and proving that BOP doesn't always  have to be full speed ahead to be dangerous as fuck. "The Old Lady Rots" reiterates the simple fact that  Norman Bates ain't got nothin' on Hogg. Bo Leslie's bass has gone unsung thus far, but is thick as a roadhouse  Louisville Slugger and twice as painful when rumbling against the eardrums. Black vokills rise from the tombs for oldschool juggernaut "Coke Mule", a south of the border travelogue with all the inherent evil of a Fistula / Celtic Frost cage match. The finale of "To Kill A Co-worker" hits equally close to home for those of us chained to mill machines and cubicles, BOP going off like 1,000 tons of C-4 rammed up the southernmost orifices of 1,000 corporate lackeys ground into slavery by the man in the office, Human fucking Resources, or whoever decided to piss you off that particular day.

It's not so much the Weight Of The Wound I'd be worried about with Birds Of Prey. It's more the weight of the anvil this stenchridden slab drops on your head. A rollicking ride in a burning shortbus over the edge   of an Appalachian cliff. Strap in, bitches, the first dropoff's a motherfucker.

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