On their latest release, Butcher take the sound they’ve been shaping for a few years now and move it forward with confidence, skill and serious intent.
Two years after making their debut with a four song live-off-the-floor recording, Saint John four-piece Butcher are back with the brand new EP, Self Loathe, an impressive follow-up to their December 2017 studio debut, So I Can Go Away.
Self Loathe is a perfect example of calculated evolution. It’s not a 180 or a simple rehashing of previous releases. Instead, this six track EP (or does that make it an album?) takes all the fundamental sonic elements that defined the group for the start and uses those central traits as a structure to build upon. The guitars are still low and dark, the vocals still desperate, but it’s obvious the members of Butcher have been working hard to take what they’ve created and move it forward as a whole.
From the opening track’s buildup and into the first chorus of Most Medicated, all the foundation elements that have defined the band up until this point are represented alongside an overall cleaner recording and a more concentrated vision of song structure and instrument voicing.
For this recording, as with the band’s previous two releases, Butcher worked with engineer Corey Bonnevie at his Monopolized Studios in the city’s south end. Bonnevie’s ongoing studio upgrades and his own continuous refinement as an engineer and producer have made a strong contribution to this recording, but it’s the band themselves who have taken their dirty emo sound to new heights.
For starters, guitarist/vocalist Cole Savoie delivers his finest vocal performance to date. On the tracks Rakes and Three Eight Six you can hear a confidence and clarity that wasn’t present up until now. And the vocal interplay between Savoie and guitarist/vocalist Drew Sweet is the best and most complimentary it’s been. Two very different sing styles that work well together.
Musically, the band is in fine form. The guitar tones are a bit more precise you can really hear the fun they are having, especially on the tracks Three Eight Six, (Please Don’t) Go and BTW, where the leads introduce a welcomed ray of light to the band’s otherwise cloudy day aesthetic.
The work of drummer Colin Ferris also plays a huge role in the overall feel of this album. On Rakes and The World Is Your Spit Bucket, Ferris adds a defining rhythm that in a way also acts as a countermelody to what Savoie, Sweet and bassist Joe Brown are cranking out.
Self Loathe is an outstanding release and one that delivers on all fronts.
Self Loathe release show with ER and the Other + Loveover | March 22 | Taco Pica | 9 p.m.