Sunday, 17th June 2018. 7:43:41pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Gothic The Birthday Massacre- Violet


Artist: The Birthday Massacre
CD Title: Violet
Label: self-released
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 8/11/04

 

Every once in a while, a band comes out of nowhere and completely blows me away. It's rare, but it happens. The Birthday Massacre is one such band. I originally stumbled onto them years ago when they were going by the name Imagica and offering much of their catalog for free download on mp3.com. Soon after, they changed their name and released their limited edition debut CD, Nothing and Nowhere, which to this day stands as one of the greatest independent albums I've ever heard. Thus, when I got the opportunity to review The Birthday Massacre's much anticipated 9-song Violet EP, my expectations were exceptionally high.

While, according to the band's press release, they peculiarly seem to be disregarding Nothing and Nowhere and considering Violet to be their first official release, this 30-minute EP vehemently clings to the epic, moody neo new wave electro-rock sound they pioneered on their debut. Granted, the band's adherence to and reliance on a particular sonic formula may not bode well for their long-term future, but their brilliant combination of new wave, industrial, alternative rock, and ethereal elements with great female vocals is certainly hard to fault, as is Violet.

The opening "Lovers End", arguably the best track here, will absolutely and immediately blow away those unfamiliar with The Birthday Massacre's music as a beautiful melodic synth intro is quickly torn to shreds by powerful distorted guitar riffing and reduced to whispered vocals and pulsating electronics. Its epic chorus and almost NIN-esque industrial finale are sure to leave you breathless, while "Holiday", with its great delayed keyboard melodies and exceptionally catchy chorus, and "PlayDead", featuring strong hooks and excellent melodic guitar soloing, follow a fairly similar sonic formula and vie for second place. The EP's title track and "Nevermind" are decidedly more upbeat pop-oriented offerings, the former falling in the neo new wave category and the latter being the album's most straightforward alternative rock track. "Blue", on the other hand, is something of a rollercoaster ride, contrasting what is, perhaps, the album's most upbeat electronic music with a metal chorus filled out by nightmarish horror soundtrack-esque music box synth work and growled vocals. The disc is topped off with 3 very short instrumentals that serve as intros and interludes to give the album an excellent sense of continuity. As with their debut, everything here is brilliantly and immaculately written, performed, and produced, and, while some songs are stronger than others, there's not one track on the entire EP that is even remotely less than spectacular.

If you've never heard of The Birthday Massacre, you owe it to yourself to check them out, and Violet is as good a place as any to start. Fans won't really find anything new sonically, but the disc won't disappoint. Why this band isn't signed to a huge major label deal and swarming all over mainstream radio is beyond me. They're certainly one of the best underground bands I've heard in a long time, and Violet is another incredible offering that's sure to please fans as well as completely floor the uninitiated.

 

The Birthday Massacre website: www.nothingandnowhere.com

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