Truth be told I was not a fan of BUTCHER BABIES last effort, Take It Like a Man. I have flown the flag for this band ever since our first crazy interview when A&GS was still in its infancy. Live show reviews, more interviews, and more live show reviews followed, and all told we’ve done ten features on them. And we did that because we fell in love with the tunes and the fact that they are 100% USDA Prime experts at BRINGING THE MOTHERFUCKING THUNDER LIVE!! Seriously, go see them sometime. You’ll leave with a sore neck from all the headbanging. And from my usual higher up vantage points, the circle pits they get going look pretty vicious.
So, how does a band I love follow up what I consider a misstep? By releasing arguably the best album of their young career, that’s how. Lilith is out now via Century Media Records and believe me when I tell you this is a much different BUTCHER BABIES, albeit in very good ways. First up, we have a new man pounding the skins in Chase Brickenden (OTEP, THROWN INTO EXILE) and quite honestly he fits like a glove. Meanwhile vocalists Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd are doing things I never knew they had in them. There’s definitely more clean singing on this disc which I love. Oh don’t worry, they still scream their lungs out, but now it feels like it’s more controlled.
Songs like “Headspin”, and title track “Lilith” showcase a very haunting sound to go along with the heaviness and attitude. It’s a real nice added dynamic. Opener “Burn the Straw Man” was an immediate favorite, Henry Flury’s riffs lighting up the night sky as everyone else pours kerosene on the fire. This is a song that should be in serious consideration for the next installment in The Purge film series, because that’s the vibe I got while listening. “Korova” is an exercise in brutality, from both vocal and musical standpoints; it kicks you right in the ass! It also has a very melodic chorus, and at the three minute mark there’s something special going on.
“#iwokeuplikethis” is another tune that I just can’t get enough of. Jason Klein’s bass and Brickenden’s kick drums pound away at your chest while Flury, Shepherd, and Harvey tear you limb from limb for the duration. And now we come to “The Huntsman”, a twisted take on Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf that had me abusing that REPEAT button. Another standout on a record full of them. “Controller” spins a yarn about turning the tables on the asshole fuckface in a relationship. Ooof…bad news for that guy! The contrast in the vocals between light and dark make “Oceana” another winner from jump, especially in the middle. It transports you to a whole different plane.
Out of nowhere comes “Look What We’ve Done”, which almost qualifies as a ballad, believe it or not. The vocals from Shepherd and Harvey are top notch and the song will have you glued from beginning to end. “POMONA (Shit Happens)” is the tune that will pretty much fuck your earholes raw whether you like it or not (you probably will) and closing track “Underground and Overrated” showcases a band at the peak of their powers while browbeating you into submission. At the end of the day THIS is the penultimate BUTCHER BABIES album, and one that deserves a perfect score. Lilith hits on every single level, and is without a doubt one of my favorite releases of 2017. Wow…just…WOW!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM