March 23, 2020 The Birthday Massacre – Diamonds (Album Review)
“The night is short. It weighs heavy, but the light always awaits us.” A beautifully lush exploration of the opposing forces of life, The Birthday Massacre’s latest, Diamonds, arrives on Friday, March 27th, 2020, thanks to Metropolis Records.
Formed in 1999, Canadian Gothic Rock outfit The Birthday Massacre has spent the past two decades fine-tuning uniquely atmospheric, synth-heavy sound. Combining diverse influences and interests, the group has consistently defied categorization with albums such as 2004’s masterpiece Violet, 2012’s Hide and Seek, and 2017’s Under Your Spell. Along with their dedication to touring the world, and a loyal fan base, these hard rocking Canucks continue to spread their Gothic magic across the globe.
With their eighth full-length studio album, The Birthday Massacre—Vocalist Chibi (Vocals), Guitarists Falcore and Rainbow, Bassist Nate Manor, Drummer Rhim, and Keyboardist Owen—pick right up where Under Your Spell left off. While that album’s final track, “Endless,” explored the yin and yang of love, Diamonds widens its scope to reflect on the darkness as well as the light in our world. A devouring of both the poison and the antidote, the 9-song collection continues to meld 1980’s influenced synths with aggressive guitars, painting hauntingly cinematic auras that anchor Vocalist Chibi’s beautifully familiar and comforting voice.
Diamonds opens to those gloriously melodic synths that you know and love from the band, paving the way into “Enter.” Chibi’s sweet siren vocals take us through the crystal ball into a Gothic fairy-tale with deep bass, the perfect opener for an album full of lush soundscapes. In fact, this continues into the willowy dance of mid-tempo rocker “The Sky Will Turn,” the album’s first single and lyric video.
Titular track “Diamonds” takes its time to sparkle before diving in headfirst with emphatic percussion, gritty guitars, and synths that create a crystal ball effect across the soul. For her part, Chibi prances with little cat feet across the eardrums, presenting a lyrical journey that gets lost in the endless dichotomies of our world. Lost then found, analyzing and exploring, they meander into “Run,” a boldly thick wall of sound that contains the poetic insight “Such a small world until it’s on your shoulders.”
The ominous darkness of “Flashback” tingles across the spine like deja vu, a never-ending cycle of day and night—one that includes a guitar color written and performed by Amir Derakh of Julien-K. Meanwhile, synths provide the beat for the twinkling “Last Goodbye.” Its thumping beat paves the way for the ebb and flow of “Crush,” where soft and smoky tones provide a chance for a wonderful guitar solo. Then, exploding into a dastardly dirge, “Mirrors” travels through fat bass lines, sinister guitars, and twinkling keys to provide a glance at the ‘heavier’ side of this talented group. Ultimately, however, they end with the slow undulations of “Parallel World,” a track that twinkles like sunshine on seafoam as The Birthday Massacre provides a passionate and cinematic conclusion.
Diamonds might be only nine tracks, but it packs a big punch. Exactly what fans love about The Birthday Massacre, this a collection full of Chibi’s gossamer vocals, gritty guitars, and to die for synth arrangements. All of this alongside the band’s exceptional ability to craft beautifully surreal and hauntingly lush, thoughtfully poetic tracks that provide a multi-layered visual and auditory experience. Cinematic, raw, dramatic, and always artistic, The Birthday Massacre remains true to their signature sound, one that is truly unique and always the band to, to quote the cliche (and Rihanna), shine bright like a diamond. For this, Cryptic Rock gives The Birthday Massacre’s latest 5 of 5 stars.