The good folks at Black Lotus Records have done the metal world a favor by remastering and reissuing the early 90's project from Doctor Butcher, featuring none other than Savatage's Jon Oliva and Chris Caffery. Back in 1994 when the album originally came out, it was always hard to find domestically here in the US, and most fans had to purchase expensive import copies. The sad thing was Doctor Butcher always was and still is an essential part of any Savatage collection, and in many ways the album fits in perfectly with the Hall of the Mountain King and Sirens era of the band. Oliva and Caffery on this release decided to move away from the more symphonic and progressive style that Savatage had taken on at the time, and returned to their crushing yet melodic metal roots. Oliva shrieks with renewed force throughout this set, and Caffery creates loads of churning and crunchy riffs and virtuoso metal solos.
Songs like "The Alter", "Don't Talk to Me", "Season of the Witch", "The Pictures Wild" and the relentlessly compelling "Innocent Victim" are all scorching metal anthems, easily as good as some of the best Savatage numbers from the early 90's, yet they rock with a purpose and hard hitting reckless abandon that made the 80s material such classics of the genre. Who can ignore the rampaging yet humorous "I Hate, You Hate, We All Hate!", a song that was great eleven years ago and is still relevant today (and could easily fit onto Caffery's solo album WARPED for that matter).
The bonus tracks include some early Doctor Butcher demos from 1992, as well as a new song recorded in 2005 ("Inspecter Highway") that includes Oliva, Caffery, Dave Z, Jeff Plate, Paul Morris, Dave Eggar, and Metal Mike Chlasciak. If this song is any indication, I believe that Doctor Butcher has plenty of life left in them, and it's only a matter of time before we see something new from this bunch. It might be the closest thing to Savatage that we've got or will get.
2. Don'T Talk To Me
3. Season Of The Witch
4. Reach Out & Torment Someone
7. Innocent Victim
8. Picture'S Wild
9. Lost In The Dark
10. I Hate, You Hate, We All Hate!!!
11. All For One None For All
12. Inspecter Highway (Bonus Track)
13. Freaks (Bonus Track)
14. Born Of The Board (Bonus Track)
15. Help! Police? (Bonus Track)
16. Bridges (Bonus Track)