Rule No. 1 of success in the music industry: Anything can be marketed, especially genres.
In an increasingly noisy world, artists have promoted themselves as Pony Thrash, Doom Gaze, Doom Wop and Punk Rap. Whether this tactic is used seriously or in tongue-in-cheek fashion matters little since the subject is still floating a new catchphrase into the cultural lexicon.
In 2011, Butcher Babies promoted itself as “Slut Metal” — an apt enough tag considering the band is fronted by two ex-Playboy media personalities who have used nipple-covering electrical tape to complement leather, fake blood and gothy makeup in live shows.
“We can’t go balls out — so we go tits out!” vocalist Heidi Shepherd told Revolver, adding, “Butcher Babies is true Slut Metal.
We’re doing what we want, how we want.”
Was Slut Metal a shallow and poorly defined gimmick? Definitely. But it was catchy and distinctive enough. That was a big plus considering the Los Angeles five-piece’s music — a Heavy Metal/Death Metal/Hardcore blend fixated on screaming (and, to a lesser degree, melodic) vocals, a vague sense of rage and bloodthirsty breakdowns — itself is pretty unremarkable. The group went on to quickly ditch the nipple tape and renounce their genre creation entirely.
“(Slut Metal) was something someone gave to us,” Shepherd told me, confusingly, in an early 2013 interview. “That wasn’t even something that we really started. It has nothing to do with us."
The group issued its debut album, Goliath, in September and has toured substantially, indicating a seriousness about the project. It will be worth noting whether or not Butcher Babies change their marketing tune again in the future.
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