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Butcher Babies: Take It Like A Man

Fearsome Californians confound the critics

Barbs have inevitably been thrown the Butcher Babies’ way since frontwomen Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd first appeared wearing next to nothing onstage, with all manner of brainless comments resulting in their fierce vocals and increasingly dulcet tones – added to debut Goliath’s underrated riffs, precision rhythms and subtleties – often lost in the commotion.

Undeterred, the band’s sophomore album kicks off with the carnival atmosphere of Monster’s Ball exploding in a flurry of full-throttle thrashing and massive grooves.

Igniter and The Cleansing update Goliath’s template with more refined, harder-hitting hooks, while Blonde Girls All Look The Same delivers every shriek and frantic note with lethal impact. Take It Like A Man then heads off on all manner of tangents. The gritty The Butcher flexes its muscles with a juggernaut breakdown, and Marquee’s low-end and blastbeats take the extremity further, but the brooding, stripped-down Thrown Away just lacks the impact it promises, while the bounce of For The Fight and Never Go Back stray dangerously close to generic nu metal. Though it may lack focus, every idea is delivered with such guile and grit that it’s impossible not to be drawn in. Any last challenges over the Butcher Babies’ credentials have now been decisively beaten and buried.

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.