I was pretty surprised to find out, thanks to Encyclopaedia Metallum, that there have been only four bands named as Butcher in the history of metal music. The band in question here hail from USA, and they return after 14 years. In 1996, their debut album 'Iron Tiger' came out, and at the end of 2010 it was time for their sophomore platter 'Welcome to the Night'. During the second half of 1990's, the band was fucked by Lady Luck, as guitarist/vocalist Cris C. Jackson died in a motorcycle accident. But Butcher never really called it a day, except maybe only briefly.
After I could stop drooling over the cover of this album, I started to hear the actual music. Good ol' New Wave of British Heavy Metal influenced US heavy metal is what Butcher offer. And it's done with right kind of spirit, that makes it sound authentic stuff from NWOBHM heyday (late 1970's to early 1980's). When the band worked on songs, they really tightened the bench vice on riffs. Well, the riffs are what this music truly draws its breath from. The drums are pounding, and surely not forgotting those infamous galloping beats, with loud and slapping bass adding to the heavy backbone. Butcher are a nice mixture of a few bigger and smaller names. Maybe the closest reference point is Saxon, with them having been so varying during all the years, but surely echoes of Judas Priest and even Iron Maiden can be heard (especially those galloping beats and slapping bass).
This album is pretty varying songswise. The first proper song, 'The Dark', is a true nasty heavy metal piece with a great drive. 'King of the Hill' brings out that more melodious side of the band, and reminds me of UFO. After the next two heavy metal songs, the next notable different kind of song is 'Silence'; a ballad-ish piece filled with pretty melodies and melancholy, but no matter how the song sounds, because it simply works! 'Wreck'N'Ball' gets the album back on heavier track, where it stays until the end. While Butcher's compositions are quite basic, they achieve varied atmospheres throughout the album. Anthemic heavy metal stuff heard on songs such as 'The Dark', 'Battleaxe' and 'Your Own Enemy' among others is accompanied by horror mood (e.g. 'Halloween' and Alice Cooper-ish title track) and militaristic intent (e.g. 'Shockwave' and 'Days of Troy', which borrows famous "Wizard Of Oz" song, that also Metallica borrowed for 'The Frayed Ends of Sanity' intro). 'Sunrise' is an Earthly instrumental. Most of the songs consist of tasty riffs and are pretty catchy, with a couple of exemptions. Insane, fiery guitar solos must be mentioned too.
On the vocals department the album is very, very diverse. Lil Tang's vocals can be raspy and angry (e.g. 'The Dark'), or beautifully angelic like on 'Silence' and 'Halloween'. There are also male vocals, which vary from beary roaring to well enough sung stuff, of course the heavy metal way, and to Gwar-ish over-acting. Partly good, partly not so good, but the things get done.
As one can see while checking out the track listing of the album, there are a lot of shorter tracks included on it. These shorter pieces are bogus radio show bits. I simply find them ineffectual after a listen of two. They make the first 19 minutes or so of the album sound disordered. Okay, they work as jokes, which they were created as, but still they get boring after some listens. The first three proper songs, that are inserted between these radio show bits, are good, but kind of get buried there. Well, programmable players have been invented, thankfully...
The production is really raw. It sounds like the band was recorded playing at their rehearsal place. During various sessions! The sound differs almost from song to song. This is the album's worst defect. Well, it's practically the only weakness on the album, depending on if you can take those radio clips or program your player to skip them. So, if you're searching for some old school metal, that both feels and sounds just like that, then Butcher's soulful 'Welcome to the Night' is well worth tasting. Even though it sounds like a patchwork.
Rating: 7 (out of 10) ratings explained
Reviewed by Lane