I began to really listen to Heavy Metal when I was about 8 or 9 years old, in 1996. I used to pick up every band I saw on my brother’s collection and spin it, like Agent Steel, King Diamond, Helstar, Jag Panzer, Rage, Running Wild and such. But why am I telling you this? Because I thank my brother every day for making me skip the awful trend that started in the 1990’s called nu-metal, with bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine, Slipknot and (insert your generic nu-metal band here). I was unfamiliar, then, with Butcher Babies’ work, as they drink from the fountain of the infamous genre. These Americans from Los Angeles are in the scene since 2010, having released just one album, ‘Goliath’, before this one, achieving considerable exposure in the US. Relying on two main vocalists, Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey, the band mixes the more modern approach to heavy music with a little bit of alien elements.
‘Take it Like a Man’ is the sophomore release by the band, and it continues where the previous album had ended. The attempt to insert thrash metal elements into the tunes – as the band itself notes -fails grandly, as there are no elements of the genre to be found. The album begins with “Monsters Ball”, which starts with an old-carnival-announcer cliché (that keeps coming back throughout the song, with no apparent reason), a feature that has been visited by god knows how many bands before them, and the song itself seems like a combination of elements that should not go together. What comes after that is just a boring and lifeless piece of phonographic work, with just a few glimpses of attitude here and there. Songs like “Gravemaker” and “Never Go Back” are the epitome of everything that is wrong with the metal industry today, relying heavily on commercial approaches to the music and distorted and uninspired guitars, but the negative highlight of the album is definitely “Thrown Away”, a piece that even the most open-minded listener should stay away from, as it seems to have been taken off a No Doubt album, or maybe even Evanescence. I’m sorry, but a band that call themselves thrash metal cannot, on any occasion, record a song like this on their discography.
To sum it up, ‘Take it Like a Man’ is the band attempt to insert themselves in the money-making business, not caring even a little bit about what the metal fans, or even their own fans, would think of. This should make metalheads across the world scratch their heads wondering how is it possible that a band that makes a sound like this consider themselves to be thrash metal, and I guess even fans of the nu metal genre will find this over the top. In a recent interview, Heidi Shepherd noted that “The way that we see it, we want people to either really love us or really hate us. One or the other” By the sound Butcher Babies makes, the second choice might be the wise one.
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