Musical Showcase: the Birthday Massacre

  Canada. America’s neighbour has produced many things, mostly ridiculed for artists such as Justin Bieber and Celine Dion. However, whatever your impression of Canada is, they have produced some fantastic music, such as the band this article is about, the Birthday Massacre. The Birthday Massacre formed in 1999, taking the name Imagica after the Clive Barker novel. They later changed their name to reference a lyric in one of their songs, ‘Happy Birthday’. Armed with synthesisers and guitars, their sound is a mixture of synthpop and rock, which could be thought of as a tribute to the 80s.

The first official release by the band was ‘Nothing and Nowhere’, a nine track album which included several  of my favourite TBM songs, which were later re-released on the next Birthday Massacre album as the band gained more exposure.

However, our exploration of their back catalogue starts with their next release, ‘Violet’. Featuring songs from their last release, as well as brand new work, the album defined who they were. Chibi’s vocals which could sound childlike and then harsh the next, lyrical dissonance and guitar riffs backed up by the synthesiser.  The first song I will talk about from that album is Blue, quite possibly their most known song because of the creepy music video.

When you first hear ‘Blue,’ the sudden switch from childlike vocals to harsh screaming will shock you, in a way that resembles most of Jack Off Jill’s work. The video has a very good atmosphere, but the song itself is also amazing, featuring an excellent music-box intro which carries on throughout the song and amazing guitar riffs.

While ‘Horror Show’ features no screaming or growling, it makes up for it with a repeating synth riff that will get stuck in your head and smart lyrics that tell of feeling isolated from others. In my opinion, Horror Show and Blue are some of the best tracks on Violet.

Their next album, ‘Nothing and Nowhere’ was the first Birthday Massacre album I listened to and is possibly their best work, taking their formula and expanding on it by increasing the focus on guitars, but keeping their trademark synth sound and making it work. My favourite song from this album is ‘Red Stars,’ using harsh guitars and quite possibly some of the band’s smartest lyrics.

Their latest album is ‘Pins and Needles’, which features amazing songs like Shallow Grave, In The Dark and Always. The track Pale opens with the sound of a cassette shoved into a tape player, and turns into a beautiful synth riff before guitars and percussion start. It also features backup vocals from other band members, which is somewhat unusual for TBM.

The last TBM song I’ll link to is a remix of Shallow Grave from the recent EP, Imaginary Monsters. This remix is actually better than the original in my opinion, and is completely amazing.

Currently working on a new album, the Birthday Massacre look to be creating amazing new material, and I can’t wait.


Other recommended songs: Looking Glass, Happy Birthday, Video Kid

CosmicBushell (1 Posts)

I am a music-obsessive Autistic student who prefers to keep on the side of positivity and look at music I like. I write 'the Musical Showcase'.

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