September 15, 2015 Butcher Babies – Take It Like a Man (Album Review)
Los Angeles natives the Butcher Babies have kept their promise in delivering a brutal and bloodthirsty sophomoric album in Take It Like a Man. This twelve track record, consisting of nearly forty-five minutes of venomous mayhem, was released on August 21 2015, via Century Media Records. Rising in the rankings in recent years, the road has never been easy since the Butcher Babies’ formation in 2010. Fighting to be heard and respected within the Metal scene, the band took their name from the Plasmatics’ track, “Butcher Baby,” off of their debut album New Hope for the Wretched (1980), honoring the legendary Wendy O. Williams. Williams was a major controversial spark-plug in her time, not caring what anyone thought of her, a sentiment Carla Harvey (vocals), Heidi Shepherd (vocals), Henry Flury (guitarist), Jason Klein (bassist) and Chris Warner (drummer) all share.
It was the Butcher Babies’ debut album, Goliath (2013), that stirred up both praise and mixed perceptions in the Metal scene, proving them to be more than just Glam and crushing the attitude so many artists in the eighties demonstrated by hiding their own talents behind long hair and black eyeliner. After Goliath, the Butcher Babies have been touring non-stop, opening for bands such as Marilyn Manson, GWAR and In This Moment, along with performing in major festivals including Welcome To Rockville and Carolina Rebellion. With real world, harsh realities trying to bulldoze them down, it is no surprise that Harvey and Shepherd especially have been “taking it like a man” their entire lives. Moving past those critical walls, they have focused on doing what they love while keeping true to themselves. This ferocity and honesty is now displayed in Take it Like a Man.
The first single, “Monsters Ball,” is no stranger to fans, as the band has been performing this aggressive track live for quite a few months now. This Metal circus ringleader introduction could not get any better with its enjoyable raucousness that will launch listeners right out their seats. Shepherd teases with, “Hey you there in the Neo-Thrash Prog math whatever Metal shirt and cut off jeans trying to sneak away, don’t leave yet! The best part of the show is just about to begin!” As humorously as it sounds, the lyrics showcase that it does not matter to this band how fans style themselves. This show is for all rockers alike to join forces and have a good time by simply being themselves while having a Metal ball.
Firing in with raging intoxication is “Igniter,” incorporating Thrash Metal with a twist as Harvey and Shepherd vocally sword fight their way across the track. The band continues to blister in with Metal explosions during “The Cleansing” as the raging theme carries on. This track would be great as a radio hit thanks to its catchy riffing and aggressive bass lines. The production quality is well mixed by equalizing instrumental deliveries that includes hardcore, thunderous drumming from Warner. Building a sing-a-long chorus melody with the personal defense lyrics, “We built these walls/ We built them for protection,” “The Cleansing” molds into a concluding howl that echoes in the listener’s eardrums.
“The Butcher” opens with an interesting guitar riff by Flury and eases into a vocalizing massacre that will tremble through even the most jaded fan’s bloodstream. “Gravemaker” climbs in on a slower melody which erupts into unsympathetic bliss, keeping the listener hooked as it coarsely whips in with cutthroat vexation. Tapping into a different tone is “Thrown Away,” a tune reminiscent of an older Jack Off Jill sound and mixed with glimpses of the late ’90s and early 2000s, passionately delivering at a dramatic pace as emotional vocals pour out: “Slow down, please don’t throw me away. With each step towards regret I know I’ve done it to myself.”
Picking the pace back up with the second single, “Never Go Back,” Butcher Babies maintains the head thrashing rhythm and monstrous vocals that fans know and love. “Marquee” opens up with a riveting guitar riff, gradually building into another aggressive track that includes the sadistic, chilling scream, “They will know my name!” The barbaric “Blood Soaked Hero” keeps the truculent pace of the album afloat. Towards the end of the record, “Dead Man Walking” surprisingly cuts in with an atmospheric sound and emotive lyrics, with a guitar solo that will make the listeners beg for more. “For the Fight” rages in with a radio flavor Pop sound, while the band continues to stick with brutal, melodic punches on a delivery that has showcased quite a broad range. Quickly morphing into their known Neo-Thrash style as they rip into the chorus has once again, “For the Fight” showcases the clear production quality that the album has consistently displayed.
No stranger to any Butcher Babies fan, a new version of the ’10 debut single “Blonde Girls All Look the Same” rolled in as the grand finale of this merciless album. Consistently pulling in apathetic, catastrophic tunes for all twelve tracks, the Butcher Babies have proven that their sophomore album has exceeded many expectations, giving Metalheads a headbang-worthy offering for their CD player and permission to accept one’s unique personality. Cryptic Rock gives Take It Like A Man a 4.5 out of 5.