Reviews Zozobra Bird of Prey

Zozobra

Bird of Prey

Originally planned as a whole other project of Caleb Scofield under the moniker Heatseeker, Bird of Prey is instead the second full-length release from the Cave In/Old Man Gloom member’s Zozobra. Joining Scofield this time around is Isis drummer Aaron Harris, who also engineered the album, in place of the departed Santos Montano. The decision to release this album under the Zozobra umbrella makes sense as there really aren’t any differences sonically when compared to the previous offering, Harmonic Tremors

Bird of Prey begins with “Emanate” and if you had forgotten what Zozobra was about, you are immediately greeted with a reminder. Bludgeoning basstones, thundering drums, heavy riffs, and Scofield’s coarse yells welcome you back. “Heavy with Shadows” follows; this is the track that was originally introduced as a Heatseeker song. Again, the basslines are thick and sludgy, matched by the deep and bellowing roars of Scofield. The guitars are still heavy, but there is also levity to their sound, not unlike the air and loftiness of an Isis or recent Neurosis album.

“Heartless Enemy” sees the project focused on a more melodic tone. The guitar melodies take over the song from the rhythm section, mixing droney repetition with a variety of intricate guitar meanderings. The song still packs a punch, however, the use of intricate guitar melodies falls more in line with versatility heard of the previous album. “Big Needles” acts as an interlude with a variety of electronic gadgets making noise while programmed drums and simple echoing guitars loop. This leads directly into “Sharks that Circle,” which again sees Zozobra returning to typical form of loud and punishing music.

“In Jet Streams” is another of my favorite tracks because of Scofield’s use of clean vocal harmonies. These were used a lot more on the previous full-length, something that I miss quite a bit. Hopefully future recordings see a return to this, as the songs become a bit one-sided with Scofield only screaming and they could use with some complexity.

The album concludes with “Laser Eyes,” a seven-minute hodge-podge of sounds, mixing drone-metal, experimental noise, and the aggressive metallic sounds we’ve come to expect from Zozobra. My only qualm is that the song ends rather abruptly, they could have easily elongated it by another three minutes and I would have kept listening.

Bird of Prey is another solid performance from Scofield, proving that the previous venture was much more than just a one-off collaboration. It is a bit less varied than its predecessor, but perhaps on the last album there was more collaboration that this full-length - just a theory. Anyone into gritty noise-metal should pick this up.

7.5 / 10Michael
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Hydra Head

2008

7.5 / 10

7.5 / 10

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