Beyond The Black/Butcher Babies/Ad Infinitum -

O2 Ritz, Manchester, Tuesday 11th October, 2022

Traffic issues forced me to miss Ad Infinitum, who I’m informed went down well and with Amaranthe having pulled out due to illness, I was left with Butcher Babies from Los Angeles.

Totally new to me, I’d not even heard their name before, fronted by two female vocalist with model looks and songs with devil hooks: blonde, Heidi Shepherd and brunette, Carla Harvey dredge up death metal vocals so evil and brutal Satan himself would be shocked!

Trading death bellows the girls paraded the stage to a ferocious wall of guitar and drums that forms a sound so intense its hard to ignore courtesy of Henry Flury, Bassist, Ricky Bonazza and Drummer, Chase Brickenden.

With the intensity of Slipknot crossed with Pantera their performance was energetic although not to my taste they put on a good performance, for a support act they captivated a good sized crowd.

Shepherd got into the photo pit at one point to be near the fans and announced they would “high five you all” at the merch stand after. Always good to see band doing a meet and greet for free, they have my respect.

Beyond The Black hit the stage in gloomy red lighting as Vocalist, Jennifer Haben appeared dressed in a red thigh split dress to match her new coloured hair and knee high boots, holding neon lighting tubes! In a bold move they launched into recent single 'Is There Anybody Out There?' from the forthcoming new album. It's an uplifting sing-along rocker of a tune.

Haben is the stand-out star of Beyond The Black, being the most consistent member throughout line up changes, we see evidence of this tonight when you notice the bass player isn’t even the same guy who played at recent European festivals, let alone the last tour. Now a four piece they have announced they are using hired hands sadly; but he bounced and was solid for his part and made use of his 2 hours of fame.

A couple of songs from their first two albums 'Lost In Forever' and 'Songs Love And Death' made way for 'Human'. For this melodic turn, Jennifer Haben hid her face behind some weird handheld mask affair, whilst on her head wore some kind of creepy crown of clawed fingers, benefiting from a heavier sound live, a highlight from their last album 'Horizons'.

A first time performance in UK of another new song 'Dancing In The Dark' featured Haben playing some large drums, helped along with audience signing the beat. She sounds as wonderful as always, being indistinguishable from the album tracks.

Mention to the solid guitar work from Tobie lodes on Rhythm Guitar and Chris Hermsdorfer on Lead and backing death vocals and Drummer, Kai Tschierschky who all shone on the heavy anthem 'Scream For Me', the sold out crowd cheered for more every time.

So far they have only done two dates on every tour in the UK so maybe they are still dipping their toe outside of European waters where they are hugely popular. But, with an increase in venue size for this tour, hopefully their popularity is growing in the UK and next time more dates will be added.

Review By Mark Bedford

Photographs By John Mather