Review: “Self Titled” by Butcher Babies (10th Anniversary)

Produced by Andrew Mudrock (Godsmack, Avenged Sevenfold, Eighteen Visions) and self released in 2011, the debut EP from Los Angeles California quintet Butcher Babies was followed by a music video for “Mr. Slowdeath” almost a year later. That has reached 5.7 million views on YouTube to date and combined with their high octane live show earned them a deal with major label Century Media which saw debut album “Goliath” released in 2013. Adorned with cover artwork creating a Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse Movie vibe of a Zombie Apocalypse, dark humour and aestheticization of violence, Butcher Babies self titled record maybe one which you find hard to locate. Together, ex-Amen guitarist Henry Flury, bassist Chris Warner and drummer Jason Klein form a tight rhythm section that create a loud crashing blend of Groove Metal, Thrash and Punk that recalls Pantera while the double headed dragon of Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey deliver a combination of theatrical Death growls, screams and both unclean and clean vocals which assault the senses.

The band had formed in 2009 and released comic book at San Diego comic con in 2011 to coincide with their EP release, written by Harvey and illustrated by Anthony Winn. At some point along the line they had become branded as attention seeking Slut Metal, having taken then name from “Butcher Baby” by the Plasmadics and used the nipple tape of Wendy O. Williams during their furious live shows, something that they stopped after six years. In truth it was a much a middle finger to the establishment, taking Williams message of individual creativity and “I’ll do what I want and not what you tell me and see how far it gets me” as much as anything else, but some people can’t see past the headline. The EP itself is a riotous blend that starts with “Axe Wound“, a cut that would eventually appear on debut album “Goliath” in a slightly different form. Mexican style, El Paso Texas flamenco guitar work gives the song the From Dusk Till Dawn or El Mariachi gun slinger atmospheric vibe while the fist pumping anthem mosh pit mid section is as solid as they come. Both frontwomen show incredible range across all of the cuts here, singing, screaming and roaring their way through the lyrics with constant up and down steps and no set formula. The uncleans are reminiscent of My Ruin vocalist Tarrie B Murphy while the Groove Metal sound of “Mr. Slowdeath” has something of Pantera about it as it roars through a tale about the darker side of the Hollywood life. The storming “Jesus Needs More Babies For His War Machine” takes the best elements of both of the previous songs while adding some haunting keys to a sing-along chorus “Have you seen my boy jack, I don’t think he’s coming back” as they build the theatrical side that often goes unnoticed with this band. There is an argument that says the EP is actually in the¬†wrong order as closer “National Bloody Anthem” is a real live set opening cut, the equivalent of the self titled cut by Bury Your Dead, a crowd lung busting affair that should have them all screaming “There’s blood everywhere!” at the top of their voices. This is where it all started and they ain’t looking back; it needs a vinyl release to celebrate it’s 10th Anniversary [8/10]

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Track listing

  1. Axe Wound
  2. Mr. Slowdeath
  3. Jesus Needs More Babies For His War Machine
  4. National Bloody Anthem

Self Titled” by Butcher Babies is out now and available over at SoundCloud

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