Thursday, December 19, 2013

#6 of my Top 12 Albums of 2013: Goliath

Butcher Babies' Goliath

Release Date: July 9th, 2013
Label: Century Media Records
Genre: Heavy Metal

     I've been looking forward to this review because this album is easily my favorite aggressive type of metal album of the entire year and yet another debut album by yet another band I had not listened to prior to 2013.  I got into Butcher Babies during the last couple months of summer when I began making playlists on Spotify and Pandora of bands that would be a part of the Mayhem 2013 tour.  Bands in this list included some of the biggest names in metal Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Children of Bodom, Amon Amarth and Machine Head but also included a lot of newer metal bands such as Motionless in White, Huntress and, of course, Butcher Babies.  I had already listened to and seen Huntress live before and one of my friends was singing Motionless In White's praises to me over and over again so Butcher Babies was one of the bands I had not heard much of from anyone, including a lot of online metal websites, so these guys were relatively unknown prior to the release of Goliath.  I liked the few songs I had listened to from their EP and was looking forward to seeing them and they blew me away, easily being one of the best performances of the entire show, and that is saying something when compared to the heavyweights listed previously.  I picked up Goliath at Mayhem, got it signed, and started listening and found that the magic from their live show holds on their studio releases, which I have been listening to ever since, making this one of my most played cds of the year.  In fact, two of the songs from the album, "I Smell a Massacre" and "Magnolia Blvd." are some of the most-played songs on my iTunes and iPod now, hopefully that is a testament to how much I love this album.
     A little bit of history, because this is the point at which I talk specifically about the band.  Butcher Babies was formed in L.A. only three years ago and consists of frontwomen Heidi and Carla, guitarist Henry Flury from Amen, bassist Jason Klein from Azdachao and drummer Chris Warner from Scars of Tomorrow.  From what I've seen in interviews, Heidi and Carla met in a hardcore punk cover band and decided to make original music and found the other three who also wished to make as heavy music as Heidi and Carla wanted to make, so every person in the band has good metal experience with a lot of punk influences.  They originally started making waves by utilizing nipple-tape during live shows and attracting some fans due to the sexuality in the shows but this was simply a tribute to original female metalhead Wendy O. Williams and after making more music, they wanted their own thing, ditched the tape, and released Goliath.  For me, I compare them to Otep, which is fantastic considering Otep's recent call for retirement, but they also bring in influences from experimental metal, hardcore punk, metalcore, heavy metal and a bunch of different influences that can be seen in their unique music.

"Magnolia Blvd."
     The above song is probably my favorite track off of the album and thankfully it became the first music video they produced off of the album.  Stick with the song for about 60 seconds to see if you like this type of music or not, I will honestly say that it is not for everyone, but this music fits perfectly into my collection.  It's heavy, aggressive, melodic and downright in your face which gives it a character that says, "We're playing the music we want to play."  Every element of the song blends together very well, particularly Heidi and Carla's tradeoff of harsh and clean vocals and sometimes union of these types of vocals, as well as Warner's drumming, which is top-notch and one of my favorite elements throughout the entire album.  My favorite part of the song is when these lines come up that show the versatility and variation that can be found in the ways these women sing and scream:

Shattered dreams is all that remains
All those things that you can't regain
Last chance, you're caught up in the scene
Ingest and gorge this empty city 
Very well-crafted lyrics and very well performed lyrics too.  The entire song just makes me want to find a sledgehammer and just start destroying everything around me, on par with Hatebreed's classic "Destroy Everything."  A lot of the album has to do with fears and things that generally scare people, whether it be physical manifestations or things that appear in our dreams and this gives the album a good consistency.

"I Smell A Massacre"

     "I Smell A Massacre" is probably my second favorite song on the album, which immediately sets the tone for the album as the opening track.  Butcher Babies does not waste any time giving people a 30 second opening song or anything with a negligible title attached to it but instead burst directly into a wall of screeching sound, telling the listening that you cannot stop this beast of a band in the chorus (although that is slightly out of context).  Its the first song you hear when you pop the cd in your stereo (yes, I still prefer to use cds instead of digitally-acquired music) and is very well put together and introduces just about every element of the band you are about to hear so if you don't like what you hear there, get out now.  I don't believe there is a bad song on the cd but one thing that confuses me is why the last song on the album is "Axe Wound."  I ask this because it was on their first EP, Butcher Babies, alongside two songs that were more popular than that song, "Mr. Slowdeath," which was given a music video, and "Jesus Needs More Babies For His War Machine," which is my personal favorite from that EP.  Maybe it fits more in the dream and fear theme but I always felt it would be a stronger ending note if one of the other songs were chose, not that I'm complaining since I still like "Axe Wound" too, just not as much.  I would also recommend the songs "C8H18 (Gasoline)," "The Mirror Never Lies" and "Dead Poet."

"The Mirror Never Lies"
     Overall, this is a fantastic cd by a band with a lot of potential in the future music industry.  The fact that this cd entered the Heatseekers chart at #1 shows that I am not the only person with this opinion and that this band really is here in the metal market to stay, I hope their future releases are as challenging and unique as this release was when it broke into the market.  Butcher Babies will be going on tour soon with In This Moment, a great headliner to support for their type of music, and I recommend anyone who liked what they heard to check them out in concert because they are as good if not better live when you can feel the energy they give off on stage.

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