By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
I will admit, when I first laid eyes on the Butcher Babies, I was immediately taken away by both Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey’s beauty. Then I decided to give their band a listening to. The first song I heard from their catalogue was “Axe Wound,” and I was stunned by its aggressive nature and cutthroat lyrics. I mean just the chorus, which goes “I am not your savior, I’m your Anti-Christ; Taking from your insides, to fall into a curse,” spills out heavy metal hostility. Combining with those vicious vocals, are strong riffs provided by a terrific backing band in guitarist Henry Flury, bassist Jason Klein, and their new drummer Chase Brickenden. They have two albums under their belt, Goliath and Think Like a Man, which have garnered them a diehard following. They are now back at it with probably their greatest work yet, Lilith.
Starting things off is the wicked “Burn the Straw Man.” Straight away, you are twirling your head round and round, until it feels like it pops off. Brickenden, who replaces original drummer Chris Warner, rages it up on the drum kit. I absolutely love his nasty technique, when he pounds away, like he does on the title track. Both Harvey and Shepherd’s wrath reaches new heights, when they shriek into the atmosphere. What makes Lilith unique is when they decide to provide more harmonious singing, especially on the hit single, “Headspin.” I never knew just how beautiful their voices can, be under those ferocious exteriors. They have dug deeper into their minds, to come up with some very powerful lyrics. In “#iwokeuplikethis,” I enjoyed the phrase, “Choking on my consciousness ’cause now I know I’ve died the most.” The meaning behind the song escapes me, but I sure am curious to find out. From “The Huntsman” to “Korova,” these are some well-crafted lyrics. “Oceana” is clever, in the sense that it describes always swimming with the sharks, a metaphor of how this world can be vicious and we are surrounded by vicious people.
Musically speaking, they start to explore new sounds to go along with their infectious groove and death metal vibe. Look at the hauntingly gorgeous “Look at What We’ve Done,” Flury plays a ballad style riff to coincide with the overall tone of the lyrics. Throughout the record, Flury performs some ferocious riffs and solos. My favorite from his repertoire, is adding a classic rock and jazz beat to the preppy “Underground and Overrated.” Klein’s groovy and heavy bass lick for each song, gives the album a much needed jolt to the nuts, especially when I hear his beats on “Controller.”
There is a slight downside to Lilith, and that is “POMONA (Shit Happens).” While I loved hearing the hardcore thrashing, I felt the words were a little down trodden. The chorus continuously uses “fuck” and “shit” over and over. There was no real substance to the lyrics. The overuse of swearing is kind of a turn off for me personally. However, its ferociousness musical content helps make not a totally dull tune. It is not a bad song overall, because I like its forceful nature, but I do view it as one of the record’s weakest songs.
Lilith is the Butcher Babies crowning achievement. They decide to explore new paths in music, and they end up on the right path. I see it as their most accessible album for any metalhead to get into. To this date, it is their magnum opus. This record is filled with raw passion and dedication. Each song has its own identity, which I am sure a metal fan can relate to in some way. Harvey and Shepherd are both forces of nature that are not going away any time soon. The Butcher Babies are back, cocked, locked and ready to decimate their fans, luring them in, and then blasting their metal loving souls with their raw, intimidating sound. To the Butcher Babies, I salute you. Horns up!!! 9.0/10
01. Burn The Straw Man
06. The Huntsman
09. Look What We’ve Done
10. Pomona (S**t Happens)
11. Underground And Overrated
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