I’m the resident goat guy ’round these parts, so it was my solemn duty to check out any album with the horned beast featured so prominently in the title. Alas, I only see six, and not 666 goats actually carrying (though pulling would be more accurate) said chariot, but despair not, because Bütcher make no pretensions of math being their strong suit. Their trump card is metal, and 666 Goats Carry My Chariot is an almost ridiculous blast of old school thrash and speed: full of bombast, screams and leads that will melt your face and drive you away to dismal cold.
Even though the current logo reminds me of a burning in hellfire Stryper.
Influences range all over the place, with shades of King Diamond, early Maiden (if they were coked out of their mind) and a MASSIVE homage to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark At The Moon” simmering in a pot of speed and thrash. But the Belgian outfit have a much more underground, no fucks given ethos at play in their music. 2017’s Beastial Fükkin Warmachine is as apt a description of the band’s music as you’re going to get, and tracks like “Thermonuklear Road Warrior” and “Elektrik Exekutioner” speak as much to the fun the band brings to the table as well as the rip factor of their riffs.
And there are plenty of riffs to be had on 666 Goats Carry My Chariot. From the opening call of intro “Inauguration of Steele” the band blasts off with “Iron Bitch” and to these old ears it’s like if early Iron Maiden and Savatage decided Venom had the right idea and ran with it. In fact of all the comparisons to older bands I’ve seen being thrown around I’m surprised folks aren’t keying into how much of a match screamer R Hellshrieker is to classic Jon Oliva. And I mean that as a HUGE compliment. On other tracks like the face melting “45 RPM” and “Sentinels of Dethe” there’s a more guttural explosion to the vocals, perfectly matching the swirling maelstrom of the guitars from KK Ripper.
The centerpiece of the album is the nine-minute title track, and it’s a doozy. Starting out with ominous chants and a slow gallop, things gradually ratchet up until the song hits a dizzying blackened speed metal sequence. From there Bütcher seamlessly move back and forth between styles until lo and behold: they channel some serious Jake E. Lee worship with a lick that almost but not quite completely rips off “Bark At The Moon” and is all the more glorious for it. More Mercyful Fate and even a glimpse of Megadeth peek their head before the track is done, leaving you dazed and confused…so much that you might miss how punishing “Viking Funeral” and “Brazen Serpent” are: two blazing final tracks to finish off any remaining piece of you still showing sings of life.
Consider the brief acoustic outro “Exhalation of Sulphur” the dance on the ashes of your eardrums, and let 666 Goats Carry My Chariot sound the bell for the righteous fury that will be metal in the year 2020. Bütcher have set the bar for others to clear.