There is absolutely nothing revolutionary about Let Us Prey, the new album by Detroit native Stevie Branch, a.ka. Spyder Baby. The album even shares its name with a 2002 release by doom metal band Electric Wizard, and its sound comes out of the industrial metal heyday of the late nineties. Nine Inch Nails and Rob Zombie are represented in the heavy, electric grooves, but the real godfather of Spyder Baby is Al Jourgensen. In addition to mentoring Branch and producing “Bitter” for the album, the mind behind Ministry has obviously inspired much of Branch’s approach to music. Though Let Us Prey feels retro in its straightforward approach to industrial rock, the fourteen tracks are solid head banging metal material.
Branch doesn’t mess around with subtlety on Let Us Prey. Aside from a few samples of ambient noise thrown in between tracks, the album maintains a steady groove throughout. Rather than seizing on a single rhythm and pushing it into overdrive, however, Branch varies the tempos to good effect. Some songs such as “Goodbye” and “The Worms” are slower and have more easily discernible lyrics, and the guitar line on “Sex Action” sounds suspiciously like something out of the Guns ‘n’ Roses playbook. While these songs have merits of their own, they also serve as a control for the rest of the album.
The greater part of Let Us Prey is devoted to Branch playing impossibly fast guitar over programmed beats and various other bits of noise and backing vocals. It is here that the album achieves its greatest success. Though the Jourgensen track will undoubtedly gain the lion’s share of attention, Branch delivers several tracks with a fury that stands with any of the genre’s classics. “Kill the King” and “We All Fall Down” thunder along and offer the assurance that even if Branch is paying homage to the masters on his debut, he’s offering the sincerest form of flattery.