Inspired by Metallica and Guns ‘N’ Roses, who each released collections of unexpected cover songs, Butcher Babies bring you Uncovered, a collection of killer — and brutal — cover tunes to hold fans over until their next album of original material. Each member of the band selected one tune for the EP, which was produced by Logan Mader (Gojira, Devildriver, 5 Finger Death Punch). And, boy, are there some surprises here.
The EP gets off to a stomping start with a cover of the ZZ Top classic “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers.” Like all of the tracks here, it’s fucking brutal, totally transformed into what could pass for a Butcher Babies original if you weren’t already familiar with the tune. First, they’ve sped up the tempo in a big, bad way. In other words, in a very good way. Then they made the guitars grind as they do on their 2013 album Goliath, heavy as all hell, in the key of Pantera. They also gave the song a nice, crunchy breakdown. But the biggest difference is in the vocal department, Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey trading lines here as only they can scream.
Up next is Napoleon XIV’s “They’re Coming to Take Me Away,” a song about being taken to the insane asylum, or at least that’s what this rendition of the tune will have you thinking about. I first became familiar with this song when Skid Row covered it twenty some odd years ago. In other words, when Heidi and Carla were probably still in diapers. They made it heavy but it should come as no surprise when I tell you that Butcher Babies has made the song totally insane. Fucking crazy, really. Heidi and Carla start this one off almost whispering and their voices gradually grow louder and more intense until finally, you guessed it, screaming ensues. And lots and lots of heaviness. In fact, this one gets so intense that it’s arguably heavier than some of the songs on Goliath. Guitarist Henry Flury, bassist Jason Klein and drummer Chris Warner assault you with their angry guitars, chugging bass and high-octane drumming.
You wouldn’t expect that anyone could make Suicidal Tendencies heavier, but Butcher Babies do precisely that with their rendition of “Don’t Give a Fuck.” “I don’t give a shit… I don’t give a fuck,” the women screech at the top of their lungs. It’s louder than an air raid siren, nearly as fast as a speeding bullet.
This brings us to the most unexpected cover here, The Osmond’s “Crazy Horses,” emphasis on the crazy. This one isn’t quite as fast as the others, but it’s still light years ahead of the original version. Also, it’s highly abrasive, leaving one feeling like you should turn it down or you’ll blow your speakers. And that’s what you’ll do if you value your hearing. But I have a feeling that you’ll forget about your precious ear drums and just turn this one up to 10 as you bounce up and down to the dynamite level beats.
Finally, we have a cover of S.O.D.’s “Pussy Whipped.” This was a super heavy song at the time it came out, but with metal bands getting more and more extreme all of the time, it doesn’t seem quite so heavy anymore. So, leave it to Butcher Babies to give it a modern metal make-over. I can’t remember if the vocals on the original version of the song were as fast as humanly possible but Heidi and Carla deliver the verses here at a much higher speed than Fed Ex ever brings your packages. I suppose that’s the advantage of having two singers who can each begin one lyric just when the other ends one. Musically, Henry makes the guitars buzz like chainsaws while Jason leaves you feeling like you’re being pummeled over the head with his bass guitar, which bangs almost as loudly as Chris’ drums.
I’m sure most Butcher Babies fans would rather have had an EP of original material instead of covers, but these songs *are* Butcher Babies songs now. Besides, it’s fun listening to them annihilate these songs. Much fun.
BUTCHER BABIES live
9/27/2014–Pub Rock–Scottsdale, AZ **
9/28/2014–Launchpad–Albuquerque, NM **
9/30/2014–Aftershock–Merriam, KS **
10/1/2014–Mojoes–Joliet, IL **
10/3/2014–Altar Bar–Pittsburgh, PA **
10/4/2014–The Machine Shop–Flint, MI **
10/5/2014–Champions Park–Louisville, KY @ Louder Than Life Festival
10/7/2014–Baltimore Soundstage–Baltimore, MD **
10/8/2014–Upstairs @ The Palladium–Worcester, MA **
10/10/2014–Santos Party House–New York, NY **
10/11/2014–District N9ne–Philadelphia, PA **
10/12/2014–Empire–West Springfield, VA **
10/14/2014–The Masquerade–Atlanta, GA **
10/16/2014–Scout Bar–Houston, TX **
10/17/2014–House of Rock–Corpus Christi, TX **
10/18/2014–Sunken Gardens Amphitheatre–San Antonio, TX
10/19/2014–Jake’s–Backroom Lubbock, TX **
10/21/2014–The Black Sheep–Colorado Sheep, CO **
10/22/2014–Mesa Theatre & Club–Grand Junction, CO **
10/23/2014–Backstage Bar & Billiards–Las Vegas, NV **
10/24/2014–San Manuel Amphitheater–San Bernardino, CA @ Knotfest
*=with BLACK LABEL SOCIETY