Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Birdflesh - The Farmer's Wrath

Release: 2008
Type: CD
Label: Obscene Records

Let's step back to 2008 for a moment. Why? I wanted to go back further but that is as far as my time machine can cope with at the moment. What happened? Among other things, three-piece Swedish satirists Birdflesh return for another dose of blastbeat thrash on The Farmer's Wrath. And how did they follow up the masterpiece that is Mondo Musicale? By seeing just how hard they can press their tongue into their cheek, that's how. I predict that by their next album it's punching through but for now it looks like a real bad abscess. All in all, I'd say it's business as usual with Birdflesh: want seriously good thrash? You've come to the right place. Want seriousness? Move along.

One of the great things about this album is that with one exception the songs do not remind you of their earlier work. "External Wounds of Vagina Power," track two, has the feel of being a holdover from Mondo, mostly because of a few throwaway riffs. Other than this, there are 25 songs that are new in every way. Of course the jokes are still there in the lyrics. While they may not be as overtly humorous as "Crocophile" - and there are no deer with road rage - there are definitely some notables. But the big change on Farmer is that the humor begins encroaching the music. And we're not talking about "Victim of the Cat" (meow, meow, meow) type jokes. These are songs bordering on plain silliness that you just need to hear. The bonus in these "joke songs" is that they are all followed by quality tunes.

So how about some good songs? The first one that comes to mind is "Our Rice." The main riff reminded me of a song but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. It's not a rip off, more a variation, and was just vague enough to misplace. Then the chorus kicked in and all became clear: "Under a pale gray sky we eat Our Rice!" Maybe it's me, but I love this song. Maybe it's memories. I'm old enough to remember when it was new - and before a certain band member become a wanker. For the poor souls who need everything spelled out for them, or worse yet, those with no knowledge of classic thrash, it's a play on "Arise" by Sepultura.

Right in the middle of the album is every kid’s favorite treat: "Cake Full of Maggots." A nice head-nodder of a bassline over d-beats opens this one. Mid-way through they cross into thrash before a blasting outro. Everything about the first minute sounds like a classic crust song.

Down the track list a bit we come to "Acdeicide," which is a kick ass title by the way. The feature riff here is charged with energy to the highest degree. It's not Deicide; more a thrash version of something classic Deicide might have played. And the lyrics are quality - even a "Suicide Sacrifice" reference. Easily the most energetic song on the album. On a side note, Glen Benton gets picked on a lot. Is he the new Seth Putnam?

It doesn't take a keen reader to notice those songs (intentionally) sound like other bands. How about some Birdflesh songs? Check out "Suffer in the Dark of Darkness," "Wrath of the Farmer" (echoes in the night!) and "Flamencorpse."

Another item of note is the use of blastbeats. They are all over the album but seem more concentrated toward the end. The first half of the play list has blasts used mostly as accents with thrash drumming and d-beats taking the focus. Right around track 20, "The Spaghetti Strangler," blasts pick up in frequency and intensity. But of course blastbeats do not mean grindcore. Birdflesh came to thrash and no blastfest, no matter how long, can change this simple truth.

This is a great album. For those who gave it a listen and moved on, it deserves a second chance. Maybe you were too serious the first time. Maybe you were expecting Mondo 2.0. Both innocent mistakes that can be rectified by checking it out here. Also, rumor has it the economy is picking up, which means your wallet is getting a little heavier. You know that leads to future back pain, right? Help your future back by picking this one up.


Gravemarker said...

Nice work here, brotha. This might be my favorite review of yours so far.

206 said...


Andrew Childers said...

my only knock on this one -- like crom -- is that the ratio of actual songs to just pointless goofery is a tad skewed. other than that, solid swedish goodness.

206 said...

Agreed. Blame the new bassist. It's always the new guy, right?

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