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BUTCHER - 666 Goats Carry My Chariot

Release date January 31/20 (Osmose)

Winner of best album title so far in 2020 comes Butcher with their sophomore full length, 666 Goats Carry My Chariot. The short "Inauguration of Steele" kicks things off with a glorious speaking part akin to Manowar, before switching to a melodic guitar intro a la Priest. "Iron Bitch" then explodes in speed metal fury, with guitar runs out of the Whiplash template, adding a Maiden-influenced mid-section with an Eddie Van Halen guitar flourish for extra effect. And that's just the first six minutes!

So yeah, lots of influences on display here, but these crazed Belgians deliver their concoction with so much fervor and conviction that this smorgasbord ends up sounding original. Call it vicious speed metal with classic metal tendencies, egged on by a deranged vocalist with black metal leanings. Or just call it Butcher, dammit!

Just when you think that you may be tiring of the frenzied speed, the band throw a curveball at you in the form of the progressive, epic title track. Starting as a plodding black/folk track (think Rotting Christ), the nine-minute ditty moves through many movements, including a frenetic rhythmic section, aided by wild guitar soloing, bringing to mind the mighty Mercyful Fate. They then follow that up with a nod to Darkthrone in the form of 'Viking Funeral', before returning to their core speed-infatuated fare to finish things off. Cool.

Altogether, 666 Goats Carry My Chariot proves to be a kick-ass speedballer that will especially appeal to old school extremists who crave for blow-back-your-hair intensity.

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