It’s been a long gap between albums for L.A. metalcore beauty queens, Butcher Babies and if you hadn’t been keeping tabs you may have thought their 15 minutes of boobs and blood instigated fame were up.
In fact they released an E.P. of covers, ”Uncovered”, last year, although that hardly
left you convinced of their long term future. It was a typical collection of pointless standards by bands Butcher Babies wished they were as cool as and was no doubt encouraged by a record label
desperate for easily marketable product.
I was quite kind on debut “Goliath” in my review on this site as I think I was surprised at just how vicious the quintet sounded. Well now that the initial shock is over and the girls have stowed the tit tape and put a few more clothes on it really is time for Butcher Babies to deliver a strong follow up. I am however,
entirely unsurprised to say they have failed dismally. The accompanying press for “Take It Like a Man” finds the girls explaining how this record is more real, and also heavier and thrashier. This is, of course, disingenuous horse shit as the band must be well aware that if they are to achieve any greater success that they must write more broadly palatable songs, even if they do tackle personally distressing subject matters. Also anyone looking to the Butcher Babies for a taste of reality must live in a very strange place indeed.
Anyway, rant over, what does it sound like? Well the band admit to more of a thrash influence coming through on this album and that is
certainly true – most of the early numbers having a very Bay Area sound, with especially strong echoes of Exodus. That is once you’ve
got past the slightly cringe-worthy opening number ‘Monsters Ball’ which mixes breakdowns a plenty with a hucksterish vocal performance
from Heidi Shepard which comes across as a bit desperate to be wacky.
As I suspected, the band have also moved to incorporate a more commercial, melodic sound. ‘Thrown Away’ is a breathy, slow number
which mixes a very Scorpions-esque melody with a more modern Evanescence vibe. Evanescence are also referenced in ‘For The Fight’
which mixes with the bands earlier metalcore stylings to okay-ish effect. The rest of the album is full of generic screaming and hollow, tough
bitch posturing attached to unremarkable tunes.
Butcher Babies have shot themselves in foot here and the wounds may be critical. Sorry to be so crass, but they would have been better off
staying more heavily reliant on the sexy, shock rock gimmick and getting ever more outrageous and cartoonish – a decent festival slot would been assured for as long as the singers remained perky enough to pull it off. By striving towards being taken seriously on a level playing field, and
apparently ‘taking it like man‘, they have ironically left themselves naked and exposed as the very average rock band they are.