Artist: The Birthday Massacre
CD Title: Imaginary Monsters (EP)
Genre: EBM, Goth, Alternative
Reviewer: Emma Wilson
Upon first hearing this fantastic band, I was mesmerised by the vocal talents of The Birthday Massacre’s lead singer Chibi.
Chibi's soothing yet sometimes sombre and angelic sings against the strong darkwave influenced sounds, from the other instruments in the band. They've managed to infuse this voice into the upbeat melodies of the drums, keyboard and guitar. It all compliments her varied and amazing range of notes, containing smooth overtones and lyrics.
The band's enlisted the help of some of the biggest artists around the world to produce remixes of their tracks, like the extraordinarily talented: Combichrist ,Tweaker, Skold, Fake Shark – Real Zombie and Assemblage 23.
This disc's truly a work of art, 3 new tracks and 5 remixes of one of Canada's most successful bands.
Track 1 - "Forever" This is a track would be a good candidate for a film soundtrack song. A collaboration that is both melancholy yet powerful. It delivers a strong message to the fans and listeners of the album of the hurt, pain and betrayal, the end of a relationship. Holding on and trying to grasp on to every emotion through the bitter battle to salvage what may be in tatters.
Chibi vocals are very similar of the collaboration of many amazing female lyricists over the decades - in particular and the first that comes into my mind is lead singer of Evanescence - Amy Lee. Mystical yet compelling - the sound of Chibi's echoed eerie voice drives you to listen more intently, drawing you in - a real pleasure on the ears as you hear and witness such an empowering leading female singer.
Track 2 - "Burn Away" -The beginning of the track hits you like a truck of the freeway – the thrilling presence of Chibi's voice slams you in the back of your head, as soon as she starts singing. The immense talents of Rainbow - Guitars/Programming/Vocals, M. Falcore – Guitars, Rhim – Drums, Owen – Keyboards, Nate Manor – Bass, shine here. Intense guitar riffs chug heavily through the song, holding you tight and throwing you against the wall with the power of the track.
Track 3 – "Left Behind" -The beginning of the track sound puts you right back to the late 80’s early 90’s, it’s almost like hearing an early sci – fi sound track. With a strong placement of drums and guitar through this particular track, it works together harmonically, with the addition of the soft, subtle female vocals. This track works beautifully together. Even though this particular track is short compared to the others on Imaginary Monsters, the energy generated from it spears you into a lost realm.
Track 4 – "Pale - Kevvy Mental & Dave Ogilvie (Rubber Unicorn Mix)" The first remix on the album - I have to say it's fantastic. The heavy rock element of the track with the keyboard playing simple keys that makes it work with the remixed and funky elements of the other instruments used to create this surprising sounding floor filler .
The combined lyrics of Chibi's vocals with Rainbow’s work sublimely together to create a harmony that sets this track alive. It gets your foot tapping and body moving to the beat.
Track 5 – "Control (Tweaker Remix)" -This almost electro-pop track is funky and fresh. The lyrics amaze with the different tones of two singers. Just as you are getting used to the band's soft euphoric sound, it transports you into a different era with a slamming hard core change of tempo within the track, into a rock – esque feel , and back to the original contemporary sound that the track began with.
Track 6 – "Shallow Grave (“Good for Her” remix by Combichrist)". As soon as I saw the words Combichrist on the remix, I was ecstatic. I knew this track would be something of grander. And it oozes the epitome of the Combichrist sound we are in love with. The remixed vocals are staggered throughout the track. Her broken lyrics are simply outstanding combined with the heavy EBM feel of the tempo. Even when placed with the almost macabre story behind the lyrics it is truly an astonishing musical piece. On a personal note, this track's one of my favourites on the album, not only due to being re-mastered by the one and only Combichrist, but it warms the atmosphere and your soul when listening to it.
Track 7 – "Needle and Pins (remixed by Skold)" -The beginning of the track just blows you AWAY. It's reminiscent of the extreme heaviness of Rammstein produced work. When first listening to this track, it just hits you like Mike Tyson in the ring. With the hard industrial influence, the track works its way through your body, the soft yet powerful vocals complimenting the way that Skold has decided to remix the track. It drifts you from hard to soft instrumentals within the different ranges in the tempo. A fantastic remix. [Editor's note: Get Track 7 - the Skold remix mp3 - as a FREE download from amazon - use the amazon link at bottom of this review.]
Track 8 – "Needle and Pins (Assemblage 23 remix)" - The legendary Assemblage 23 bring a new twist to the track. It's different in feel from the same track that Combichrist has already remixed with their own spin. It's mellow and delicate with the focus more on the fantastic vocals. The heavy sound at the beginning draws you in, forcing you to hold on tight, and making you enjoy the true talents of all involved in this remix. The simple yet delectable sound is refreshing on the ears, yet still powerful enough to stand out from other tracks on the album; a sheer work of genius.
The overall summery of Imaginary Monsters: fantastic! The band is a true talent and credit to themselves. The way they have enlisted some of the biggest names in the alternative music scene to spin their own influence on the band's already fabulous songs is true genius. The guest remixers have used their talents to remake the tracks and make them shine again truly special ways for the existing fan and new listeners. What I like is that even though they have two remixes of the same song, they don't overpower each other's work.
I would recommend that all fans of The Birthday Massacre buy this album. It's sure to be cherished by their already growing fan base.
If you haven't heard of this band, where have you been? I strongly recommend you purchase the entire back catalogue and open your ears and heart to a truly amazing little gem of a Canadian band that is The Birthday Massacre.
Take a Listen to the Band here:
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