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The Birthday Massacre; Under Your Spell

The Birthday Massacre
Under Your Spell
June 9th, 2017
Metropolis Records

http://thebirthdaymassacre.com/

TBM

With the release of Under Your Spell, the band’s 7th full length release since 2002, The Birthday Massacre continue to surpass every expectation their fans may have. How much faith do The Birthday Massacre’s fans have in the band? In June of 2016, the band opened up another PledgeMusic campaign for an album that will be released in June of 2017.  That album would be Under Your Spell, and the goal was reached in less than 24 hours.
The 11 tracks comprising Under Your Spell are some of the most emotionally visceral songs I’ve heard from the band. They are also amongst the catchiest.
The album’s opening track, One, teases with playful keyboards and thunderous bass, while Chibi’s soft vocals soar to new heights and we’re lead deeper into the album’s sonic landscape.
Guitars crash like angry waves against a dark coastline in the album’s title track. There’s a definite theme of loss and frustration throughout the album, but it’s blatantly obvious in Under Your Spell. “I know now I love you cuz only you can turn my Heaven to Hell. I know I want out from under your spell,” Chibi softly sings as guitar strings fire off in the background. Anyone who’s found the strength to leave an abusive relationship will be able to relate to the message found within the album’s title track.
All Of Nothing ups the sense of urgency hinted at in the album’s first and second tracks. “I was looking for an exit when I fell into you,” Chibi pleads during the song’s first verse. The pace picks up as the guitar solos collide.
Without You changes course slightly from the heavy industrial tone. The track gives a glimpse of the classic 80’s synth pop sound that has inspired the band’s music since their formation.
Counterpane immediately pushes the loud factor of the album. The drum beats are harder. Chibi’s vocals are pushed to match the thunderous guitars and lightning strike beats.  “We’re at the edge of the world again. A step back is a step forward,” Chibi sings. The message I find within the song is one of trying to convince one’s self that changing direction is necessary for self-preservation.
Unkind opens with crunching industrial synth before melting seamlessly with the softer keyboard notes and borderline techno beats.
The heavy synth vibes of Games takes me back to the earlier days of the band’s music. “Devils look like angels as they catch my eye.” Chibi’s whisper vocals are ethereal and couple perfectly with guitarists M. Falcore and Michael Rainbow’s crunching strings.
The war drums pound on like a battle cry for Hex. Hopefully we’ll get to hear the track played live. Hex would certainly give drummer Rhim a chance to shine.
Passing deeper into the darkness as Chibi leads us along, No Tomorrow is one of the heaviest and darkest tracks the band has released. Chibi’s vocals range from the gossamer chorus to the harsh whisper growl this amazing woman has mastered. “You pretend that you want somebody. I’ll pretend that I need someone. You pretend could love somebody. Just know you’re not the only one,” Chibi whispers. No Tomorrow is an anthem of strength.
Nearly the end of our journey, The Lowest Low highlights the band’s ability to create tracks which combine the crunching guitars and industrial punches with the soothing vocals of a power ballad.
Completing the album, Endless has an incredibly bouncy upbeat tempo. “All rivers lead into a dark end endless sea. Memories flea into a cold and dreamless sleep,” Chibi sing during the chorus. I love it when the band embraces their love for 80’s dance music that could easily be jammed out on the dance floor.
Even with the emotionally damaging subject content found throughout the album, the calm radiating from Chibi’s voice gives us fans a soothing aural presence in near-palpable waves. The Birthday Massacre have once again raised the bar on the already high standards their fans have for the band’s music.
My only complaint for the album is that most of the songs feel like they could easily each surpass the five minute mark, but generally cap out at three and  half minutes. Maybe I’m just being selfish, but I want their songs to last longer.

Track listing:
1.     “One”
2.     “Under Your Spell”
3.     “All Of Nothing”
4.     “Without You”
5.     “Counterpane”
6.     “Unkind”
7.     “Games”
8.     “Hex”
9.     “No Tomorrow”
10.   “The Lowest Low”
11.   “Endless”

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