The Birthday Massacre
Hide and Seek
October 9th, 2012
Play With Fire
In This Moment
Cover My Eyes
The Long Way Home
With the release of The Birthday Massacre’s fourth full length ablum, Chibi and the boys continue to impress me with the level of
musical mastery they’ve obtained over the past decade. Each of the albums 10 tracks is crafted with a careful hand.
During the album’s recording, Chibi noticed she was having difficulty reaching certain notes and vocal melodies. After consulting her doctor, she found out that she had growths on her vocal chords and recently underwent surgery to have those growths removed. Healing is going well and as of today, her doctor says she’s healing great and should be able to tour but I wonder what would have happened if she had not taken the time to check those vocal issues checked out? Thankfully she listened to what her body was telling her during the recording period and caught the issue before it became a problem.The strain of reaching certain notes while recording isn’t heard on any of the tracks. I can’t tell that she was straining to reach some of the higher notes and Chibi’s vocals have never sounded better.
Chibi’s vocals are layered in each track, from her sublte purrs to that growl that gives so many of us shivers, and they blend perfectly with the thundering beats and crashing guitars featured throughout the album.
The second track on each of The Birthday Massacre’s releases is usually reserved for the heaviest song on the album, and it’s no exception with Down. The sound of calming rain drops soon give way to a ticking clock that’s coutning down to the industrial guitar hum that in turn heralds crashing symbols and bombastic guitars. Listen to this track with earbuds. The band has added so many details to the music that can only really be appreciated with the aural assault at this close range. The multiple vocal layers only heighten the tracks intensity. Chibi’s soothing vocals mesh perfectly with Rainbow and Falcore’s thundering basslines and crashing guitar riffs.But it’s a very sad song full of thoughts on missed opportunities and regret of things left undone. Chibi’s trademark gutteral growls shred through her ethereal vocals during the song’s chorus and scold the listener for wasting precious time. “Too late, no time for now. Can’t wait now. It’s too late. No time for now. Can’t wait and now we all fall down into the fire and my visions have all come true.”This is the track that, when played live, will have the crowd bouncin when hopefully played during the band’s live set.“There’s a lesson that we learn in the pages that we burn,” Chibi warns us during the track’s final lines. “I know that I won’t miss you til you’re gone, into the fire.”
With the release of each new album, The Birthday Massacre raise the bar for their musical talents and Hide and Seek is no exception. The album is amazing and showcases each band members unique talent and drive and desire to make the best music they can.
While each track blends perfectly to the next, it’s the album’s 4th track, Need, that is one of the stand out songs.At first listen, Need holds its own against the other 9 tracks on the album. Digging deeper though, I can hear how Chibi’s love of the 80′s pop/rock band Roxette has influenced her vocals on this track. Chibi’s pleading during the song’s chorus run parallel to the soothing purr of Roxette front woman Marie Fredriksson. While on Pins and Needles, Chibi was trying to channel the vocal strength of Heart’s Anne Wilson, it’s now Fredriksson’s influence that’s inspiring Chibi’s voice during a chorus which finds her pleading “Bleed me from the heart. Need me for my heart.”Falcore and Rainbow have crafted an incredible 80′s synth pop spin on the band’s signature gothic/industrial sound.
As with each of the band’s releases, Hide and Seek also paints a dark yet brilliant sonic landscape. Listening to the album from beginning to end takes us on a journey that is at times dark and brooding but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
The album is full of powerhouse rock ballads, such as Play With Fire and In This Moment. As the track’s titles suggests, the song is all about living in the here and now. Chibi’s vocals continue to rise to a new level and soar above the sonic landscape created on Hide and Seek.
At first listen, Cover My Eyes was the track that stuck the most in my mind. Falcore, Rainbow and Owen have once again crafted a brilliant song, laced with undertones of gothic industrial synth and a pinch of 80′s pop.Such a sad song. Chibi’s voice is full of regret and heartache. “Remember the sun. Remember the rain. They’re never gonna touch me again tonight. Cover my eyes tonight,” she whispers during the track’s chorus, “don’t let me see the light.”
Tracks like Cover My Eyes and Play With Fire highlight the band’s mastery of the keyboard and use of a deep, bass filled pounding that can be felt throughout your entire body. I get the image of a child hiding in the dark, trying to protect herself from the harsh realities of the world, while crying out for solace that will never come.As much as I enjoy the heavier tracks that The Birthday Massacre has mastered, it’s the more mellow songs, like this one, that impress me the most. Chibi’s vocals soar from the moment that the thunderous opening chords are struck, to the track’s closing hum of rain falling on a tin roof.As a part of the whole album, Cover My Eyes fits perfectly in the aural landscape that is painted by the ethereal tracks of the album. Hopefully this will be one of the tracks the band chooses to play during their live set.