Butcher Babies’ third studio album Lilith shows their evolution as a band. The Los Angeles band has grown increasingly since their self-titled first EP in 2012 as strong performers using striking outfits to aid their stage presence and their energetic tracks create a fantastic, power-fuelled atmosphere. The tracks on Lilith continue to involve high levels of energy through fast paced guitar riffs and percussion and aggressive lyrics.
Vocalists Heidi Shepard and Carla Harvey combine their powerful vocals for a hard, aggressive sound, but also display their abilities with clean vocals. Their voices harmonise to create depth in the melody, present on the chorus on the fourth track of the album, Korova. Shepard and Harvey show their talents with sensual lyrics on Headspin and The Huntsman; the themes of lust run through the whole album and works effectively with the powerful and energetic guitars.
The album contains contrasts with aggressive and clean vocals, but also with distorted and clean guitars. Controller is a strong example of this with clean, haunting melodies from the guitars in the verse working with the clean, sensual vocals, which contrast in the chorus. Aggressive vocals and heavy, distorted guitar chords, along with fast paced percussion. The track contains a further dimension with the use of synthesisers to create a haunting melody that runs through the verse and chorus.
The ninth track on the album, Look What We’ve Done, features melodic vocals from Shepard and Harvey, clean lead guitar in the chorus and an effective chord progression which moves away somewhat from the aggressive, fast, energetic tracks. This change in tone adds an extra element to the album. The tenth track, Pomona (Shit Happens), returns to the general tone of the album as it is full of energy from the start with fast staccato guitar chords and fast percussion. The aggressive distorted lyrics interspersed with sensual, more spoken elements create a distinct contrast. The use of djent towards the end of the track adds another level with the aggressive vocals holding longer notes, before returning to the fast riff for the end of the track.
Lilith is a great step forward for the Butcher Babies; it conforms to the energetic atmosphere they are known and loved for, while displaying different techniques of vocals and guitar melodies. Their ability to create distinct contrasts is effective as the tracks do not feel too heavy without variation; continuous heavy chords and distorted vocals can on occasions cause loss of interest if there are no other levels to a track. Their previous album Take It Like A Man, was released in 2015, meaning the time scale between this and Lilith has been the longest from the band, but with instrumentation feeling well-composed and complementing the vocals, it appears it was well worth the wait.
For fans of: In This Moment, Arch Enemy, Otep
Words by Holly Royle
‘Lilith’ by Butcher Babies is out now on Century Media Recordings.