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Doctor Butcher: Doctor Butcher (reissue)

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.

Track Listing
1. Alter
2. Don'T Talk To Me
3. Season Of The Witch
4. Reach Out & Torment Someone
5. Juice
6. Chair
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)

Added: November 4th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Doctor Butcher Website
Hits: 3326
Language: english

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Doctor Butcher: Doctor Butcher (reissue)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-11-04 15:16:57
My Score:

Attention Savatage fans you may rejoice! If you were in need of some of the dose of the type of Metal that the classic band delivered you need look no further. Back in 1993 (around the time that Savatage released "Edge Of Thorns") Jon Oliva and Chris Caffery were not active members of the group and had formed Doctor Butcher. With Butcher, the pair recorded an amazing number of powerful tracks that were released on a self-titled record which was unfortunately next to impossible to find. Now, thanks to the efforts of Caffery and Oliva as well as the folks at Black Lotus Records you are able to own this gem of music and an important release from these two musicians. As you listen you will find it almost to be a heavier version of the already heavy Savatage. One would expect a similar sound especially from the principle writer of many of the classics 'Tage fans loved. Vocally, Jon still possessed the powerful pipes that he was known for in all of the Savatage tunes and now they burned with anger in these tracks. Chris' guitar work was ripping continually and the bass and drums steady and powerful. Songs like "Season Of The Witch", "The Altar" and "Reach Out And Torment Someone" clearly defined the piece and almost assured this band a place alongside their counterparts as an equal Metal power. Sadly, the material went un-toured and limited in release and availability until now. The CD is a double-disc and features a brand-new Butcher recording that also features the guitar talents of Metal Mike Chlasiak. Drums are handled by John Osborne on a large amount of the songs and Jon and Chris handled bass for the larger recordings. Lyrics and another excellent package are par for the course with all the Black Lotus releases it seems and this one is no different. I lean towards a release that also gives me a lot to look at and find it more worth my time when extra care was placed into it. I had heard this music as a friend owned the original CD (now many years lost) and it was great to hear it all once again.

From a historical and collector's standpoint this is a great piece of Metal and worthy of ownership if you are a fan of the writing style that both Caffery and Oliva bring to the table. The subject matter is dark, twisted and the music overall very heavy and easy to appreciate. Even some 12 years later it maintains a fresh aspect that not all groups have the luxury of finding when it comes to re-issuing archived music. It is also great to have all of these songs in one place and not need to search high and low for them anymore. There are 16 tracks on the CD, and of this number 4 are taken from the original Butcher demos while one is a new recording. The demo tracks feature Gene Barnett on drums and Hal Patino (King Diamond/Force Of Evil) on bass; those are a welcome addition for I am sure not too many people ever got to hear them. In today's Metal world Chris Caffery has released the CD's "Faces" & "W.A.R.P.E.D." while Jon Oliva has given us "Tage Mahal" with his band Pain. This is an important piece of Savatage history and stands well alongside classics like "Hall Of The Mountain King" and "Gutter Ballet". In that I highly advise you snaring this while it is available. Until Savatage reunites and tours this is another part of the family that makes them up while we fans wait for them. This is Rock Solid Metal played the way it should be played; in your face with little or no apology. The Butcher is back, and let's hope they revisit this with more new material sometime soon.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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