Those of you who have been paying attention to the back pages of rock for the past few years will, no doubt, already be aware that Butcher Babies have been vehemently trying to undo all of the good work done by female artists in metal such as Angela Gossow, Tairrie B, Liz Buckingham and many, many more. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that there’s no place for sexuality in metal. Manowar proved that decades ago, and hell knows we’ve all enjoyed some alone time to the tune of Cannibal Corpse’s ‘Split Wide Open’ more times than Mark Hunter has driven bandmates to unemployment, but you’d have to be pretty delusional to believe that Butcher Babies’ performance at Download 2012 was anything more than tits over talent.
As OneMetal’s resident covers analyst, when I heard that the quintet were putting out an EP of covers, I jumped at the chance of reviewing it. In retrospect, I can only say that I wish I had heard it before we had compiled OneMetal’s Top 10 Worst Cover Songs of All Time, because it would have left us with only 5 vacant spots. For a start, Butcher Babies’ choice of covers reads like the diary of an angst-ridden teen, but that’s the least of our worries…
Firstly, it seems that guitarist Henry Flury has some kind of inferiority complex because the only clearly audible component throughout Uncovered is the rather tedious down-tuned riffing of the seven-stringer. This, coupled with the fact that the vocals are about as clear as a toddler’s indecipherable mumblings into an answering machine over the sound of gunfire, does not make for easy listening.
With not one but two vocalists, you’d expect to hear something a bit dynamic but the reality is far from this. It’s completely incomprehensible as to why the band requires two vocalists (other than the fact that four tits are better than two, which seems to be the philosophy behind most of their promo shots and music videos) because Shepherd and Harvey’s vocals are almost indistinguishable from one another. It’s a shame because having two lead singers in the band could have really provided them with the ammunition to do something a little different with these songs, which were largely written for bands with only one lead singer.
Credit where credit is due, their reimagining of some of the lighter tracks is at least commendable. The Osmonds’ ‘Crazy Horses’ sounds particularly unhinged when given free reign, with a breakdown that serves to add weight to the manic tone of the original. Similarly, Napoleon XIV’s ‘They’re Coming to Take Me Away’ finally has a suitably urgent format for its deranged lyrics. The issue is that there are just no standout moments or memorable hooks. Each composition almost feels like a race to the finish line and is carried out in an obligatory, workman-esque fashion. It’s hard to imagine anyone getting excited about these covers in a live setting.
Uncovered is a very personal collection of tracks. While these songs clearly hold a lot of meaning for the members of the Butcher Babies, they’re unlikely to resonate with the quintet’s audience. This, combined with the unbearable warbling and the run-of-the-mill musicianship makes for very forgettable listening.