Sound — 5
"Take It Like a Man" is the second full-length by American every-metal band Butcher Babies. Known for their raucous live shows, love/hate relationship with the press and unabashed public image, this band have still managed to get their name around on a variety of tours with decent success.
The first thing to note here is that this band is all gimmick. There's the obvious self-awareness of this so moving from 2013's "Goliath" to now took some reworking on the musical front of things. This comes in the form of... more gimmicks.
To describe the main musical sound of Butcher Babies would be like summarising all of the most popular mainstream metal genres of the last 15 or so years. There's a bit of nu-metal along the lines of early Slipknot, there's a definite modern metalcore injection (especially in how the songs flow) similar to Bring Me The Horizon, everything is on an 8-string guitar now so there's also a lot of faux-djent every now and then. Hell, there's even this one song "Gravemaker" that is basically a massive hybrid ripoff between Slipknot and Gojira of all things (with The Contortionist synths).
In concept, this sounds like a fairly unique, if low-set, goal: there aren't many bands who attempt to bring all those influences together in such an obvious manner. The problem is, there's a reason for that. The genre styles themselves, while being all under "metal," are very disparate in how they sound. In this albums case, there is this fact that whenever a new riff starts, the entire genre (and song) changes with it, causing this jarring and mentally dissonant, paradoxically consistent song style that only exempts itself from perhaps 3 tracks.
Even for a heavily nu-metal influenced band, there's still a surprising amount of simplicity to the riffs. It doesn't really help that much when these are genres where simplicity is in an overabundance. The occasional thrash riff might pop in that could perhaps be on a Revocation level or the odd scale pattern riff (like on the aforementioned "Gravemaker") but aside from that, there's very little in terms of memorable instrumental content.
Even the somewhat softer content like the throwaway ballad coincidentally called "Thrown Away" would not be that amiss outside of The Devil Wears Prada concert. There's just not that much here, from a musical aspect, that speaks of an band identity.
Mix is fine, production's fine, yadda yadda. The honest viewpoint is that, as far as modern metal production goes, "Take It Like a Man" is acceptable, but in no way does it make the music in any way engaging, only presentable.
Lyrics — 6
Despite the twin vocalist idea being implemented before, it's not often that you'll encounter a band that makes it work. Perhaps the most successful example would be SikTh: two vocalists with wildly different tones, styles and personalities doing rapid fire, technical vocal performances, bouncing off each other like men possessed.
Another would be Despised Icon, who just ended up with two indistinct growlers.
Butcher Babies thankfully have some vocal personality but only enough to make the two vocalists distinctive from one another. Carla Harvey handles the lower midrange bits and Heidi Shepard performs the higher vox, with both contributing the occasional clean passage. They certainly have adequate skill but it's not often a vocalist is able to redeem an entire bands worth of instrumental homogeneity. They aren't able to quite pull that off here.
They obviously compliment each other in terms of harsh vocals, but in clean parts, these are the kind of vocal melodies that are a bit "default" sounding. It's safe to suppose that you work with what you're given, however.
Lyrically, uh... it's obvious that they're aiming for the "catchy jingle" approach to a lot of these tracks. "Monsters Ball," "Dead Man Walking" and "Blood Soaked Hero" are the strongest examples of this, while it's less developed on other tracks. These are the kind of rhythmical lyrics that feed the vocals rather than the vocals expressing the lyrics. Not a lot to say, other than they'd work at a cringey pool party.
Overall Impression — 4
While incredibly uninteresting across the board, "Take It Like a Man" is bound to be the sort of album that more casual metal fans will pick up in an instant. Do not go in expecting something that'll stick around in your head for a while, but that said, it's still a bit far from being offensively bland.
Hey, here's a new ad line: it's like 5FDP, but with boobs.
Songs to look out for: perhaps "Gravemaker" for the Gojira feel and the "Gently" (Slipknot) melody.