Jul 28, 2012
Butcher in the Fog - "Butcher in the Fog" ...
Instinctively the band’s name, Butcher in the Fog, hints to some splatter kind of gore-filled brutal metal. Alternatively the name may recall Jack the Ripper looking for next prey in the grim Victorian foggy London slums. Well, this gets more appropriate as the band dealt with here is from London. But, halas, that’s about it with horror feelings.
Here you’ve got some cool twisted punkish and sludgy garage/noise rock drenched with much much cheeky groove that must be sounding badass in a live exhibition especially in the above-said metropolitan context …
Butcher in the Fog play a music loaded with contrasts due to different genres explored and quoted. This band has its roots in the cool London underground scene, and in particular in a heavily rocking act that had been appreciated by the Swamp readers back in the days, i.e. the hybrid prog doom rock/metal band Dead Man’s Root.
Butcher in the Fog includes drummer Alex, one of the two American/British De La Cour brothers founders of Dead Man’s Root, where they were accompanied by bassist Avi Lugassy. Since the dismissal of Dead Man’s Root, Ben, the other De La Cour brother, has been devoting himself to his charming acoustic neo-folk project. On the other side, deep love for raw and dirty rock and downtuned metal must have never left drummer Alex who paired up with another guitarist/vocalist, Yanni Georgiou, and started Butcher In The Fog back in 2009. The band remained as a duo until early 2012 when a powerful bass player was duly included in the line-up in the just seemingly delicate person of charming Emmy Porter.
The 2012 Butcher in The Fog EP is the follow-up of the very first release, the 2011 Bonafide EP. Both releases are available on Bandcamp.
The two EPs are rather different from one another. The Bonafide EP is powerful and includes some tracks with quite strong impact, as it is the case for the opener, Royal Game. The EP is instrumental only. To me this first release sounds more affine to the past experiences. In the EP you can appreciate a dominant blend of groovy doom and raw progressive/desert rock with much in common with the "Caveman Death 'N Roll Blues" and “Lounge Doom” styles colourfully envisaged for Dead Man’s Root’s only album Mouthbreather.
In the first EP only occasionally the band’s guys were blasting into furious and groovy Motörhead-charged garage-punk noise assaults. This happens, for example, in tracks Cluedo, Triangle Song, or a bit more extensively, for example, in the frenzied second half of the otherwise sober closing tracks Escape.
The contrast these punkish noise assaults make with the darker and more sophisticated doomy parts is cool indeed. This must have been what intrigued the band as it is the feature that has been better expressed in the new EP where also vocals were added.
Vocals? Yessss …
Sorry, just my opinion. For me vocals are always welcome even with drone/ambient etc. stuff. But vocals become ultimate, no wait!, compulsory especially when angry rock is involved …
Yanni Georgious’s vocal style is perfect for the sound this trio play: aggressive, gritty, drunken sludgy and very groovy. Even in the tonal range Yanni’s singing is actually not too distant from Ben’s vocals in Dead Man’s Root, so there’s a tasty Clutch-esque vibe coming from these new songs.
The 5 tracks of the EP will keep you busy for 18 minutes.
Track Rabbit Punch is slower, but it is full of the same vibe described above created by strained, funky syncopated leading melodies, breathless roaring singing, and explosions of killer noisy punkish riffs when the band decides it’s time for speeding up. A little jewel indeed.
The central track, Butcher in the Fog, is instrumental only. Without being “distracted” by Yanni’s sick chanting, this is the occasion for appreciating these guys’ technical performances, the cool bass-line leading the acrobatic guitars as well as the complicated rolling patterns at the drums. This track is longer than the others and is probably more varied as it also reminds of the prog roots of the band’s members.
Stage peasants is another fast track lead by the very fresh and catchy beating melody made nasty by raw distortion and Yanni’s great drunken singing.
The closing track, Marching Orders, is another instrumental track lead by a badass raw, fast and galloping distorted melody where again Yanni is having a great time in teasing his guitar with distortion and Alex is busy chasing him with his dynamic drumming.
So, all in all Butcher in The Fog’s style sounds to me like a cool groovy hybrid of Unsane and Clutch, with as well as Primus and/or Faith No More like in album King For A Day.
The production in this EP especially enhances the dry, gritty sound of distorted guitars while building up the garage/rock’n’roll riffs as well as the sickness of the bold singing. Probably the drumming wasn’t responding well (at least for me), as drums sound a bit dull. But this is a very minor flaw, if any, as minor imperfections are the spice in creating that fresh underground vibe making songs heard on a piece of plastic closer to the live experience.
I guess in the 2012 self-titled EP the band has better carved their own style and have departed from the previous band, Dead Man’s Root, in a bit deeper way than in the first release, the 2011 Bonafide EP.
Just a curiosity …A sort of inner tie to the old glorious band must be still alive, though, if one reads that weird note “band outings to the aquarium” in the info on the band’s Facebook page and then looks at one of the funny official photos with the mariachi playing in front of a dugongo. So much recalling the sea themes, the tentacula deep-sea diver (and the dugongos …) on the old band’s only album …
Butcher In the Fog in its present, complete line-up (trio), have been having great success while playing live in the past months in UK. Gig activity is going on but the guys plus gal are now busy with completing the debut full length album. So if Butcher In the Fog’s EPs, available on Bandcamp, have been teasing you and duly made you need for more, expect a new flood soon for quenching the thirst for fat noisy riffs …
Words by Marilena Moroni
Tags: Butcher in the Fog