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Review: Butcher Babies – Goliath (Album)

Los Angeles Based groove metal mob The Butcher Babies strike hard with their debut album, ‘Goliath’. Find out what we thought.

 Artist: Butcher Babies
 Release: Goliath (LP)
 Release Date: Out now.

In the world of metal, especially within the more narrow focus of ‘mainstream’ metal (if there is such a thing),  it  takes an awful lot to stand out from the seething masses. Some bands try gimmicks, masks, capes, beards  etc.  Some ‘purists’ (i.e. Dickheads) may argue that within the typically masculine world, having a female  anywhere  near your band as more than a groupie is such a ‘gimmick’. Well, Butcher Babies has not one, but  two female  vocalists. And they are far from gimmicks, eye candy, or any such other such nonsense  accusations.

For a start, both Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey are fucking terrifying. The vocal performances on the  album leak ferocity and vitriol, almost on par with scream legends such as Randy Blythe. The delivery is also  incredibly versatile, with screeches and snarls, croaky and cracked as well as melodic and clean vocals.

The other band members aren’t just the backing musicians for this dynamic duo, however. Acting together as a unit, they are tight, focused. Drummer Chrissy Warner lays down metronome-specific drum work, with some really fantastic double bass patterns, Jason Klein’s bass locks into these and rides them out well, and six-stringer Henry Flury eschews solo shenanigans to focus on pure riff excellence.

There are many elements of different genres on offer that keep things fresh throughout ‘Goliath’s run time. Opener ‘I Smell a Massacre’ batters in with a driving thrash rhythm and a soaring, defiant chorus, title track ‘Goliath’ is drenched in Pantera-like stomp and groove, ‘In Denial’ drips with Deathcore fury. If you’re going to listen to just one track, though, make it ‘Dead Poet’. I am not exaggerating when I say it is one of the most well crafted and enjoyable metal tracks I have heard in some time, and the best snapshot of what Butcher Babies do best.

You’d be forgiven this was a second, or maybe even third album. It is incredibly focused and well executed for a debut effort. Sure, some of the tracks feel a little like ‘filler’ compared to others, and if you aren’t a fan of the ‘groove’ in groove metal some of the patterns and phrases can seem repetitive. But this, as well as occasionally cringeworthy vocals and (very rare, but there) production balance issues, can safely be ignored while enjoying this for what it is: An enjoyable, thrashy ride that will have you headbanging along from first note to last.

7/10

Review: Jay Hampshire 

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