Live Review: Butcher Babies “Goliath” Live Stream!

Produced by Josh Wilbur (Trivium, All That Remains, Gojira) the debut album from Los Angeles Groove Metallers Butcher Babies (ex-Amen, ex-Scars of Tomorrow, ex-Azdachao) appeared in 2013 via Century Media a year after their self titled debut EP and big single “Mr. Slowdeath” and with the success of “I Smell a Massacre” and “Magnolia Blvd.“, the band fought against the tide of naysayers who essentially called them out as being a gimmick and getting ahead of the pack due to frontwomen Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd taking on the nipple-tape look created by Wendy O. Williams, late frontwoman of American Punk Rock act Plasmatics in tribute during their live performances, something which they ditched six years later which saw them branded as “Slut Metal” in some parts. Indeed they took their name from the Plasmatics song “Butcher Baby” and their fierce “I’ll do what I want to” attitude has certainly been a middle finger to anyone who said they couldn’t do it, something very much in the Wendy O. Williams style. Billed as a full album performance, tonight’s show is from the current line up of the band, original drummer Chris Warner stepping aside to be replaced by Chase Brickenden in 2016 while original bassist Jason Klein served a decade and now sits by the side lines with Ricky Bonazza taking his place in 2019 on the five string. The only member of the band we haven’t mentioned at this point is guitarist Henry Flury, who should be considered something of the mastermind behind the bands sound armed with an eight string guitar.

Our introduction to Butcher Babies wasn’t actually “Goliath” but the follow up album “Take It Like A Man” via the huge single and music video “Monsters Ball” before going back to to this one and knowing what their live show is like having seen them live before, this one should be pretty special. Drenched in red light from the LIT live studios, the ladies stand upon stage blocks screaming “Brace for the massacre, No one’s safe here, Run for cover, go!” while Flury and Bonazza stalk the stage deriving that clanky bass toned opening cut. Dressed in black with freshly dyed hair, heads are banging and necks are getting ruined from the very start; unlike some other live streams we’ve witnessed, Butcher Babies are all adrenaline, all smiles and clearly having a good time, which makes a huge difference to the viewing experience; they may not be in front of an audience in the studio, but the band are behaving as if they are! Flury’s tapping sequences during “Grim Sleeper” and “In Denial” are brilliant on during the haunting vocals and his ear to ear grin as the ladies scream about their thoughts of violence is one of pure joy, the band are very much in their element. They take a couple of sort breaks and during that time we’re treated to a few famous named guests including Lena Scissorhands from Infected Rain, Chris Jericho of Fozzy and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante sharing their memories of past Butcher Babies shows and while the later is perhaps bias as he’s been dating Carla Harvey since 2019, the sentiment isn’t lost. Some of the songs of “Goliath” were inked more than a decade ago and haven’t been played live in the past eight but “Give Me A Reason” being one of those still sounds as fresh as a daisy and very much as relevant today as it was then.

Let’s not forget that the tight rhythm section of Bonazza and Brickenden haven’t played some of these songs and weren’t in the band when they were written, yet they give it their absolute all and are really impressive tonight. It is Bonazza’s first show with the band, despite having been with them for more than a year. “I have a death pact, With myself, Single barrel on the shelf, So let’s make it real, Spin the f***ing wheel!“. The ladies get their sweat during the raging final third that concludes with a particularly brutal rendition of “Axe Wound“, bouncing around and facing each other as they perform intertwining vocal harmonies to perfection. After the album is done, the band crank though a trio of new singles back to back, starting with “Bottom of a Bottle“, a more melodic offering with all clean vocals but but not too much of a departure overall. DJent fueled and partially programmed “Sleeping with the Enemy” brings back the uncleans for a savage verse and if anyone thought the band were mellowing out, that ain’t the case, they’re simply pushing their extremes out and having fun with it. “Yorktown” is the final one of these with the Heidi Shepard mentioning their fourth album is on the way, a particularly feisty cut that is actually a fine summary of the bands overall career sound while including a rare solo from Flury. After shots of Jagermeister, Alexia Rodriguez from Eyes Set To Kill joins the party adding a second guitar to “Jesus Needs More Babies for His War Machine” from the bands self titled EP, which goes down an absolute storm as a live staple and firm favourite in Groove Metal for the grand finale. 79 minutes, 15 songs and a guest so all that’s missing is crowd [9/10]

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
12. Bottom of a Bottle
13. Sleeping with the Enemy
14. Yorktown
15. Jesus Needs More Babies for His War Machine

Goliath” by Butcher Babies has been out since 2013 via Century Media

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