REVIEW: Butcher Babies - Goliath

Genre: Thrash Neo/Metalcore
Label: Century Media
Date of Release: July 9, 2013


Metallic quintet Butcher Babies was established in 2010 in Los Angeles, California, and is already starting to climb towards the ranks of Kittie and Eyes Set To Kill as one of the famed female-fronted acts. After releasing their debut self-titled EP in 2012, they signed a deal with highly-renowned label Century Media (Winds Of Plague, Caliban). What follows would be the release of the band's first full-length album in 2013 simply named "Goliath."

The formula behind "Goliath" is primarily fusing melodic metalcore with hints of thrash and groove to create a furious beast. At first, it somewhat succeeds with opener "I Smell a Massacre," which is actually quite gripping with its fast pace and vehement atmosphere. After that, however, the album starts to lose its steam. It surprisingly gets a little boring because of how monotonous its violence becomes, with a few exceptions. "The Deathsurround" and "Magnolia Blvd" have decent grooves that definitely will appeal to the 'djent' crowd.

Sadly, that's almost of the only thing the album truly has to offer in terms of memorability. The guitars are a bit repetitive with their constant low-tuned grooves, and it does make the album seem like a bit of a one-trick pony. Thankfully, though, the rest of the musicianship is more decent. The female singing is very potent, and the effort behind it is clear, even though the screamed vocals sound a little too forced. The drums also sound very good, and this is helped by the production done by Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God, Black Tide), giving the music a nice, rough edge to reinforce the violent sound it's clearly trying to get across.

These elements, however, are sadly not quite enough to make "Goliath" a stronger album, as there is another large issue with it: Especially during the second half, the songs seem to start to lose their balance between the genres they juggle, including thrash metal, hardcore, groove, heavy metal, and deathcore. The album's ambition to blend these genres is admirable, but it doesn't really pay off well. In short, it seems to try too hard to appeal to everyone, coming off as a bit of a cluttered, cliched mess. As a result, the jaded will probably hate this album with a burning passion.

Although "Goliath" is nothing like the worst record ever, there isn't that much to scream about either. It's not a total loss, though; The musicianship is fairly decent, and there are a few highlights, especially "I Smell a Massacre." The main problem, however, is that the songs lack direction and true memorability. It's a nicely energetic but not very well-composed album. Fans of violent and vigorous metal might enjoy it, but anyone who is highly indifferent to 'mainstream' metal nowadays may not have a good time listening to this. From an optimistic standpoint, though, this is only the band's first full-length; Hopefully the next record this band puts out will see some improvement over their debut.

Score: 5/10 (Average)