Saturday, 21st July 2018. 3:47:31am ET
Reviews CD Reviews Gothic The Birthday Massacre - Hide and Seek

Artist: The Birthday Massacre

CD title: Hide and Seek

Label: Metropolis

Genre: Goth, Metal, Synthrock

Website: http://www.thebirthdaymassacre.com/

Reviewer: DJ Kantrip

Date: 12/10/2012

 

TBMHidenSeek thumb

 

 

The Birthday Massacre (or TBM) has always held a special place in my heart and DJ notebooks. I've always admired how the band manages to balance a 80's Pop sound with Nu-Metal aggression. Combine that with lyrics and images of a twisted childhood nightmare cast in purple moonlight, and TBM proved to this cynical DJ that there was still new ground to be explored in the realm of Gothic Rock. I was a bit disheartened when the band drifted from their Pop and Goth sensibilities and more into their Metal sound over the past 2 albums, but with the latest release Hide and Seek, the band has begun to drift back into that twilight lit space they occupied on Violet and Nothing and Nowhere.

 

My only real complaint is that this album is way too short. Coming in at around 36 minutes, this doesn't feel like the normal trip through TBM's twisted dream-scape. Hide and Seek is a mad dash to home base and you really do not want to look behind you. I've read that part of this rushed feel was caused due to recording and medical issues with the vocalist, Chibi. It is true that her voice is not as powerful on Hide and Seek, but this works well with the album's lighter synthy sound. Her voice also contrasts beautifully with the really dark lyrics. The music is uplifting and hopeful, but there is that feeling that we are being cheerfully led into a very dark alley with a van at the end.

 

As I just mentioned, the album is very synth heavy. Which is a nice change up from the previous direction the band was heading, but some fans may be turned off by this abrupt shift. The guitars and bass lack a lot of their previous ferocity. It's as if everything about this album is too scared to speak above a calm whisper. TBM still brings the dark melodic atmosphere that they are known for, but even it doesn't feel as heavy. Most songs open up with either a rain effect or some low wind noise, but then jump into their perky paces. It is a great idea when used occasionally but when used this much it does get rather tiresome. When the actual slow tracks start, there is this sensation of waiting for the beat to drop or the synths to take off.

 

Lyrically, the album is as bleak as I've ever heard the band get. Songs like "Need" and "Leaving Tonight" may sound bouncy and fun, but as you listen to the words, you find yourself slowing down to soak in the irony. Chibi places the listener in the role of either someone plotting a very sinister crime or in the scared shoes of the victim. Regardless of the perspective there is a very childlike mentality that dominates the songs. If you are a fan of their more metal sounding works, then you will definitely enjoy "Down" as it would have fit perfectly on Pins and Needles. If you like the more somber and sad TBM songs, give "Play with Fire" and "Cover My Eyes" a listen. "Cover My Eyes" is an especially powerful song that may be rather triggery for anyone who grew up with valid reason to be afraid of the dark. My favorite track, "Alibis" has a nice slow boil to it. There is tension that builds up through the verses, and when the chorus hits, only a small bit of that pressure is released.

 

For their fifth release TBM has shown they still have lots of creative ground to explore. The shift from a Rock focus to more of a Goth and Synth sound is a nice change in pace, and lyrically the band build a solid theme of unsolved mysteries and crimes. The only shame is that the whole album feels rushed. Despite being a full-length album this feels more like an EP. That complaint aside, Hide and Seek is another strong entry into TBM's discography and I eagerly await the next album to see what ideas they play with next.

 

Take a listen: "Down"

The Birthday Massacre- Down

 

3 out 5 Stars.

 

DJ Kantrip

 


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