Review Summary: Coming in like a flash flood Bird of Prey is angry, violent and over very quickly.
Bird of Prey started out under the band moniker Heatseekers but I can only assume it fell back to Zozobra to avoid confusion and another band introduction. Scofield continues here somewhat where he left off with Harmonic Tremors but with a slightly different stylistic feel. One instant change you can hear is the less mechanical beats and a livelier feeling from behind the kit. Santos Montano was so precise and unwavering in his drum style that people thought he was a drum machine; this time Aaron Harris takes drumming duties and fleshes out a more aggressive feel. With the freedom to break out of Isis
’ slower crushing grooves, Harris is able to showcase his talent.
Scofield is all about the riffs and doesn’t fail to deliver; along with vocals he also plays both guitar and bass. The bass carries all the rhythmic duties with the guitar usually providing a spacey vibe or mimicking the bass line. He actually pulls off the guitar rather well but doesn’t try anything too complicated comfortable with allowing the guitar to create atmosphere.
Now while this record is good fun it feels less creative than the previous album which had more bombastic riffs and directional changes, more unpredictable would be a better description. There are no songs like Levitate
which perfectly blended his metal leanings with less cathartic musical work. In Jet Streams
is one of the few songs that any clean vocals are heard as well as being one of the tracks that really stand out. It uses a palm muted staccato type riff and varies it during the chorus while Scofield roars, “Endless are the tidal waves.” His lyrics are violent and he seems to have a fascination with blood; at the same time he can be quite poetic. Lyrics like, “Death descending in silver screams, they hide under a shield made of clear glass,” from Sharks that Circle
paint rather distinct vivid imagery.
One thing to wonder about is why there are only 8 songs, one of them isn’t really a song, Big Needles
is just static and some ambient drum noise. I would think he would have attempted to make a few songs longer or have waited until he had at least 10 or so since each averages out to about 3 to 3-1/2 minutes. Laser Eyes
would be about 5 minutes if the rehash of Big Needles
was cut out from the start of it.
While I am a little disappointed that more time wasn’t taken to expand upon the songs and add more tracks I can appreciate the fact that this wasn’t supposed to be part of the Zozobra catalog. It just seems that the idea was to make a fun album and not stress about it too much. If you liked the last album you’ll likely find things you like about this one as well. Scofield’s mission seems to be to crush your skull into a paste and for the most part he succeeds. This is loud, heavy and fun; just don’t expect it to blow your mind.