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Butcher Babies: Goliath

A shock to the groove metal system

If you're going to evoke the spirit of shock rock legend Wendy O’Williams, as Butcher Babies do with their name and (until fairly recently) stage garb, you’d better have giant balls and the songs to match. Fortunately, this LA quintet are a million miles away from the tit’n’titillation clumsiness of Huntress and have both the attitude and the material to claim righteous legitimacy in a still predominantly masculine metal scene.

Goliath is a snarling, bellicose and relentlessly brutal modern metal album that portrays the Babies as peers of Slipknot, Lamb Of God and Devildriver, with all the crushing, state-of-the-art grooves and dark-hued lyrical thrust that such comparisons imply.

It helps that co-vocalist Heidi Shepherd has the finest, paint-stripping scream this side of My Ruin’s Tairrie Murphy and that her accomplice Carla Harvey wails with utmost conviction, ensuring that Magnolia Blvd. and Grim Sleeper thrum and crackle with authentic rage.

But this is very much a team effort: the riffs, rhythms and rumbling bass of combining to startling effect on everything from the blistering I Smell A Massacre to the clawhammer blitzkrieg of the closing Axe Wound. Wendy O would be proud.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.