The Defiled + Butcher Babies @ The Asylum, Birmingham – Monday February 17th 2014

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Words and Photos by Tony Gaskin

Two bands that are visually stunning and rely on their stage theatrics to entertain us? That’s the impression I get when researching both bands before tonights gig and having only seen The Defiled once before when they put on a chaotic performance during the Jagermeister tour in 2012, I was prepared to go to the gig with an open mind.

Butcher Babies
Butcher Babies

So first up was LA’s Butcher Babies promoting their new album Goliath, and here I need to stay focused and try not to be chauvinistic, sexist, bombastic or even just simply dismissive. Yes, they are fronted (no pun) by two stunningly attractive ladies, Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey, who share the vocal duties, but there are three other male members (again no pun) who do their best to give this band some credibility. There I’ve said it, credibility. Take away the dual visual aspect and replace with one competent vocalist and you might just get a half decent band, because although it pains me to say it, despite their many talents, the ladies vocal abilities are sorely lacking, especially if you start to compare with the likes of Angela Gossow or Cristina Scabbia. But in a competitive business any advantage or twist you can use to sell records must be used and although my brain says no, my heart says why not? If people want to buy into it then fair enough, and there were plenty of people here tonight who were buying into it. So taking off my reviewers hat and putting on my photographers hat, I gotta say I enjoyed it!

The Defiled
The Defiled

So, to The Defiled then. A band that’s been bubbling under now for a couple of years, nabbing some high profile support slots, is it time for them to step up and prove that they have more to them than the look and stage antics?

I’m a little surprised that tonight is not sold out, but The Asylum is a big room and it was about two thirds full, but what surprised me the most was the mix of male/female, young/old. So are The Defiled breaking down barriers and winning new fans? Well the new album “Daggers” is actually not too bad, with the band really stretching the boundaries of what they do and blending their horror metalcore with a more technical black metal edge to it.

Mixing up the set with tracks from the aforementioned new album and older favourites, they weren’t bad actually, but I definitely prefer the later tracks, there is more depth and structure to them. Front man Stich D was struggling tonight and he does apologise, but it doesn’t impact too much as The AvD fills in most of the gaps in between songs.

The Defiled
The Defiled

From opening track “Sleeper” to the chaotic mosh fest of “Call to Arms” they pulled no punches and gave everything, with just one more date after this they’ve honed the set to almost metronomic perfection with the only blip for me being the acoustic “Five Minutes” where Stich D struggling as he was with his voice, should have perhaps dropped this one, plus an out of tune guitar didn’t help.

Overall though they have gone up in my estimation, and if they can expand on the more technical aspects of “Daggers” we might just have a band that can look to bring a fresh style to British Metal.

See more of Tony’s photos here;