Published Sep 30, 2014Around the time of the L.A. band's 2013 debut, Butcher Babies co-vocalists Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey turned heads with their topless, nipple-taped stage shows (they have subsequently ditched this fashion) at which they played Pantera-meets-Marilyn Manson metallic rock. In interviews, they enthusiastically cited musical influences like Slayer, Iron Maiden, Cannibal Corpse, Meshuggah and Slipknot. Now they've released a five-song covers EP that inexplicably eschews all aforementioned extreme metal inspirations.
Their take on ZZ Top's rollicking "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers" has a noteworthy guitar solo, and a close reading of S.O.D.'s "Pussy Whipped" retains its original stomp factor, but elsewhere, there are problems: the band's version of Napoleon XIV's "They're Coming to Take Me Away" is less of a novelty as the original was in the '60s; they slaughter Suicidal Tendencies' "Don't Give a Fuck" by leeching out all melody; and they ruin the Osmonds' "Crazy Horses" — a truly heavy tune for 1972 — by removing all semblances of fun. Shepherd and Harvey's gang choruses sadly converge in a one-dimensional Anselmo growl, which annihilates the musicality in its wake.
With the nipple-tape gimmick behind them, Butcher Babies should be write songs that actually remain in the minds of fans after the house lights come up, though they do get bonus points for the EP's newspaper-like cover art copied from G N'R Lies. (Century Media)