Butcher Babies – Goliath


Review by Jason Guest

Century Media

The Butcher Babies of today is a far cry from the Butcher Babies that I saw supporting Steel Panther on their Monday night slot at The Key Club on Sunset Strip, LA, in 2010 (photos here). Then, they were a metal band with plenty of punk attitude spat into the mix, a band fronted by two naked-but-for-stockings-and-nipple-tape psycho bitches storming around the stage masturbating their knife mics, rubbing their crotches with the head of what I assume was one of their victims, tossing a disfigured baby doll about, screaming in each other’s face, and tearing at each other’s lingerie. Yep, it was quite the sight to behold on a Monday night. Almost enough to distract from the music.

While the girls were the focus of the performance – I swear I saw someone spit their beer out when they entered the stage – the music was raw and aggressive and packed as much punch as it did promise and compounded the band’s sexually aggressive image. Since then, it appears that the band wised up to the fact that their Wendy O-inspired image had served its purpose and would perhaps be detrimental to their credibility. 2012 saw the release of their eponymous EP, a four-track stab that served well to establish the band as more than the gimmick that they could so easily – and erroneously – have been dismissed as. After all, if the music’s no good, it doesn’t matter what you look like. With the band’s début full-length appearing in the US in July 2013, the UK has had to wait until February 2014 to get their dirty mitts on it. And after being non-plussed by the video for ‘Mr Slowdeath’ from the EP, I have to say it’s much better than I thought it would be. Much better.

I’ll avoid the euphemistic cliché that vocalists Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey both have an impressive set of lungs on them (damn! almost…), if only to point out that while both are fierce, together they make for a schizophrenic beast at the mic, complementing and balancing the aggressive with the melodic. And  guitarist Henry Flury, bassist Jason Klein, and drummer Chrissy Warner can’t be overlooked. The noise they make is something else, the band’s influences being scarred deep into every flesh-tearing riff and every bone-breaking beat of this album’s twitching cadaver. The chromatic aggression of Pantera, the stomach-crunching grind of Slipknot, the heavy techno stomp of Rob Zombie, the garage ghouls of Alice Cooper, and the punk venom of the aforementioned Wendy O all feed this monster.With a dirty sleaze to fuel it, there’s a horror movie atmosphere that contaminates the album’s already filthy air, and no amount of bleach is going to shift that foetid stench or cleanse the blood stains from the walls of the torture chamber that this beast was recorded in. Throw in the polished production of Josh Wilbur (of Gojira, Lamb Of God, and Hatebreed notoriety), and love, blood and baby guts, you’ve got a – wait for it – Goliath of a début on your hands.

Butcher Babies – Goliath7.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. I Smell A Massacre
  2. Magnolia Blvd.
  3. C8H18 (Gasoline)
  4. Grim Sleeper
  5. Goliath
  6. In Denial
  7. Give Me Reason
  8. The Mirror Never Lies
  9. Dead Poet
  10. The Deathsurround
  11. Axe Wound