Even before you hear a single note, much of what has been publicly disclosed about Bütcher’s new album displays bone-deep devotion to the ancient deities of evil heavy metal — from Kris Verwimp‘s epic cover art to the album’s name (666 Goats Carry My Chariot), the band’s use of vintage analog gear in the recording of the music, and their stage appearance. But in the music itself, that devotion runs even deeper than you might guess, and crosses a rich soundscape of metal traditions that span decades, far more multifaceted than you might suspect if you’ve only heard of the reputation of these Belgians as a hell-for-leather speed metal band.
As the new album reveals even more vividly (and masterfully) than Bütcher’s previous releases, their music is an ingeniously conceived, carefully crafted, and brazenly executed hybrid. Classic speed metal from Germany and the U.S. shapes the backbone, but the music flourishes through the incorporation of epic heavy metal from the NWOBHM school, blazing black/thrash with roots in both South America and Australia, first-wave black metal, and certain sects of Scandinavian extremity from the ’90s. The results are continuously thrilling — and surprising.
In advance of the new album’s release by Osmose Productions on January 31st, today we’re premiering its title track, which provides an electrifying demonstration of what we’ve just attempted to describe.
The first clue to the heavy metal richness of this title track is its length — almost 9 1/2 minutes. And that epic length is matched by the epic-ness of the music (yeah, we’re way over-using that word, but you’ll understand why once you hear this).
The song is a slow build, one that begins with an acoustic guitar melody that’s both magical and medieval in its atmosphere. The music climbs toward a spectacular crescendo, recedes, and then crescendos again, reaching even greater heights. Simmering guitar, hard-punching drums, and wordless vocals pick up that opening melody and carry it into solemn and majestic territory. Scorching shrieked vocals and extravagant clean song join in, magnifying the music’s emotional intensity and giving it a dimension of anguish — which becomes even more pronounced as the drums begin to batter and the riffing becomes a boiling menace, creating a feeling of torment and rage.
A thrashing riff and writhing leads, with glorious yet ominous keyboards in the picture as well, propel the song to that first pulse-pounding crescendo, and with a brief reappearance of the opening acoustic melody, the song then reverts to its moodier, magisterial second sequence. But it becomes a wild, whirling and cavorting sensation, featuring a prominent bass appearance, and an extended, fret-burning, head-spinning guitar solo sends the music way up into the stratosphere for the second crescendo.
The music recedes one more time before Bütcher create a mythic and fantastical conclusion, accented by feverish, sparkling leads — and one last appearance of acoustic guitar.
Bütcher vocalist R Hellshrieker has commented on the new album as follows: “We are extremely proud to see the upcoming album taking its final twisted form. We have worked tremendously hard to make this a unique output in the overabundance of digitally altered releases. The sonic layers of analog mayhem that have shaped our identity on the first album were molded once again in the Voodoosound Studios, but this time with a clear focus. With the previous experience under our belt, there was far less need for experimenting with all the vintage equipment, and we took the opportunity to include every detail that accentuates the deeper layers of the songs. This brings it as close as possible to the vision that main songwriter KK Ripper and I intended for this LP.”
Continuing, he says, “The album was recorded in just one week, a very short timespan for an analog recording – where the title song, for instance, uses all 24 tracks on the tape! – and with LV Speedhämmer laying down the drums after only joining the band 1-2 weeks prior to the recordings. It was a turbulent period for the band, dealing with last minute line-up changes and constantly playing live shows during most of the year. But it has paid off – the album lives, it thrives, it breathes with vicious abandon, and it assaults the mind of the listener. One can almost taste the anger, the tenacity, the strength and the perseverance on this. In the face of adversity, the album was constantly playing in our heads, and KK Ripper has just pumped out riff after riff, lead after lead, the way he composed it. I turned my lungs into leather for this and screamed out all my frustrations. And now it is a victory for us to be able to present this full-length effort in its splendid glory.”
666 Goats Carry My Chariot is available for pre-order now. And below you’ll also find the music video for the first track revealed from the album, “45 RPM Metal“, along with today’s premiere
Awesome song! And wow, that artwork.
I’ve been recording since 1984 and I got to experience the transition from tape reels to digital audio tape to digital on a hard drive. Seeing those big reels spin and marveling at the engineers skills of manually splicing, cutting and taping was pretty cool, but I think sometimes the difference in quality between analog and digital is a bit over exaggerated. Kinda the same with vinyl versus digital. Digital audio recording has only continued to improve, and the file type makes a big difference. Then there’s the issue of degradation. Recording on analog is cool and fun, but if given a choice I would stick with digital.
I will enthusiastically second your WOW about the artwork — fuckin’ stellar (I’m ignorant about everything else you wrote).