|Review: Doctor Butcher - Doctor Butcher|
Label: Black Lotus Records
Year released: 2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: August 13, 2005
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 4.1/5 (82%) (10 Votes)
Chris Caffery sure is keeping himself busy this year. This, however, is not a new Doctor Butcher album but rather a re-issue of the self-titled album released in 1994. That band was a self-project he started with his Savatage bandmate Jon Oliva, simply to have some fun and not play by any rules. Well, they sure did that. While this album has a lot of great songs, it does have some skip button material as well - albeit not too much. Songs such as "Don't Talk To Me", "Reach Out To Torment Someone" and "I Hate, You Hate, We All Hate!!!" suffer from a mix of weird beats and some awful vocal melodies that not even Jon Oliva can save from sucking. Well I'm sure some people will dig them, just like some people dig newer In Flames or Soilwork (the aforementioned songs are better than that junk, I'm merely giving examples here), but for me this ruined the listening experience a bit.
So what we have here is a 2CD release. I think it's important to note that this is a re-issue done the way it should be: The bonus material is on a separate CD. I often found that some re-issues broke the mood of the original album by having demo or live songs at the end. The second CD contains a "new" song, "Inspecter Highway". It was actually written back in 1993, but not recorded. This is a very good song that I wish would have replaced one (or even all three) of the "stinkers" I mentioned. It is much more in the "heavy Savatage" style like the good songs on the album - no weird beat, powerful, harsh vocals but still catchy. The other songs are from the original demo CD, and again this is material that has more lasting power.
"Heavy Savatage" is an accurate description for Doctor Butcher. Not as... "easy listening" (in the metal sense of the term anyway) as Savatage, but sharing quite a few core elements. Jon Oliva's vocals and Caffery's guitar shredding are top notch, even to some extent when they start screwing around on the few weird tracks dispersed between more straightforward traditional metal such as "The Altar" (some great vocal work on this), "Season of the Witch", "Innocent Victim" and "Inspecter Highway", and all the demo songs. The demo material is understandably not as polished as the songs from the album, but the sound is actually quite good. The songs are a bit on the darker side, compared to the album which has a sensibly more accessible side.
Despite a few odd tracks, this is a very enjoyable release. Lots of would-be classic material to be found here, many of the songs haven't aged a bit. The bonus CD is not only a nice addition, I actually like it better than the album itself - the songs have more guts, are "more metal" and also devoid of skip button material. An album well worth checking out.
Originally released in 1994
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