Butcher Babies
Goliath


2.5
average

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (149 Reviews)
March 5th, 2014 | 13 replies


Release Date: 07/09/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Butcher Babies take faulty footsteps into the metal world, and produce a debut effort which is at the very best, average.

Black Gaffer-taped boobies? Check. Catchy band name? Check. A seemingly enigmatic frontwoman to steal the show? Check...Actually, double check, and definitely double the trouble. For what is currently one of the most hype-ridden acts of the US metal scene, Butcher Babies don't at first appear as fake or ridiculous as you might think. It's only been about a year since the band garnered proper mainstream recognition for their obvious “talents” and already the media is trying their hardest to convince everyone the band are something special. So, not exactly worlds apart from, say, Babymetal then? Except Babymetal consists of three young girlies who surprisingly enough are a more compelling act than Butcher Babies claim to be.

The thing is with Butcher Babies, the music is decently solid. The band's image is, when considered by a passing metal fan, somewhat convincing. But the vocals are pretty embarrassing, and the songwriting often comes across as either confusing or half-baked. We might as well get the good bits out of the way first then. For the most part, the instrumentation on Butcher Babies' debut album Goliath is actually fairly well performed. The production makes for a greatly audible sound and does the standard albeit choppy riffs justice. The fist-pumping action of the rhythm section, including mostly audible bass work and some neat drum-based interludes, is enough to get metalheads moving into the moshpit. The only songs which don't succeed with these successful features are “C8h18 (Gasoline)” and “Give me Reason”, and are as a result pretty damn terrible. Thank heavens then for songs like enigmatic opener “I smell a Massacre” and its popular successor “Magnolia Blvd” (which is evidently influenced by Devildriver's style). What's more is that there's an overall vicious, hateful feeling running throughout the album, so despite its inconsistency, it makes for a sometimes invigorating listen.

Unfortunately, there are more flaws with the album and its sound than there are advantages. Firstly, the vocals. Oh good lord, those vocals don't work at all. When you have one person shrieking like a disembowelled eagle and another trying to harmonize with admittedly beautiful clean hooks-at the same time, to exacerbate the matter-it sounds like a complete and utter mess. Of course, the choruses of songs such as “Grim Sleeper” and “The Mirror never lies” are largely helped by those infectious clean melodies, courtesy of Carla Harvey, and on its own this particular vocal style is ideal. Yet when Harvey's soulmate, Heidi Shepherd, thinks it's a good idea to scream 95% of the album's lyrics out of the stereo, listeners will probably opt for an instrumental version of the recording. The harsher vocal style isn't terrible, but it just distracts from the good instrumentation far too often, and what we're left with is a seemingly hesitant musical consistency, something which plagues the production in the process.

The other major flaw is how at least half of the album is so incoherent. The band often seem to mix infectious nu-metal grooves with a fast-paced, almost thrash metal-esque style, and although this sounds like a naturally brilliant hybrid sound, Butcher Babies simply manage to confuse the two sub-genres in a really bad way. The title track is excellent for the first twenty seconds or so, and then somehow slumps into an irritatingly confusing sound. Throughout the following three or four minutes, you just can't decide whether the band want to be vicious, soft, evocative with clean vocals or all of these three elements put together. The instrumentation just doesn't flow that well, and the vocals are unfortunately out of place. Because of this, the song feels rushed, and following in its footsteps are three or four other songs which continue to prove the band's inconsistent musicianship and songwriting.

You could moan and groan about other things which stop Goliath from being anything more than average, but the two major disadvantages are enough to mark Butcher Babies' debut album as simply nothing special. It's disappointing too, when you want an album like this to be so brilliant and it just disappoints time and again. Perhaps the band can create a more consistent, decisive sound with the next album, but as over-hyped as they are, there's nothing creative or indeed magic here. Truth is, if you can put aside the annoying vocals and headbang along to a more or less incoherent song structure, then it might be the album for you. But for anyone else, it will be an album put to the side to collect dust.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2014


1878 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Full album, for those who are interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_fd8uSQhUw

Digging: Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

Calc
March 5th 2014


12197 Comments


babymetal bit seems shoehorned. pre good rev though.

Digging: Jizue - Shiori

ReAnimator
March 5th 2014


315 Comments


"Shrieking like a disemboweled eagle" is too metal a simile to be applied to Butcher Babies

Kalopsia
March 5th 2014


933 Comments


this band reeks of 'corporate inception'... like a bunch of old record execs saying

"well kids like boobs, metal, and screaming. go find me two girls with tits and match em up with some no-nothing band on our label"


they might have something someday.. but like the review says, it's a confusing album. but the gaffer taped boobs are hot

Greyvy
March 5th 2014


4531 Comments


ive seen these fuckers live unfortunately, they sucked, the singers aren't even hot lol

Digging: Fat Pat - Ghetto Dreams

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2014


1878 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Really? I would have thought Butcher Babies could offer a better performance live than on record...

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2014


1878 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Re-Animator: Well the band is still 'metal', and I meant that simile in a bad way.

TheGreatQ
March 5th 2014


1396 Comments


Well, when I saw them they were opening for Marilyn Manson so I wasn't really in the mindset for this type of music, but I thought every flaw you point out in this review applies equally well to the live version. Also only one of them was actually decent live (I think it was the blonde but I really don't remember).

Digging: xSPONGEXCOREx - How Tough Are Yah?

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2014


1878 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Interesting. I'll certainly see the band live if I get the chance just out of curiosity. Also, opening for Marilyn Manson must be pretty daunting for a fairly new band like Butcher Babies.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2014


7041 Comments


That artwork sucks, the record doesn't sound appealing at all.

TheGreatQ
May 16th 2014


1396 Comments


Just saw them. They got better but the blonde (now redhead) still isn't that good.

RottingChrist
September 17th 2014


12 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Awful band.
But seriously boobs.

RottingChrist
September 17th 2014


12 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Awful band.
But seriously boobs.



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