August 17, 2016 The Birthday Massacre – Imagica (Album Review)
Since 1999, Toronto, Canada-based New Wave Gothic Industrial six piece The Birthday Massacre have been an inherent part of the dark music scene. Known to beautifully mix the best of ’80s Synthpop with Darkwave and Alternative Metal elements, there are few bands that sound quite like The Birthday Massacre. Releasing six studio albums, including their 2014 effort, Superstition, the band’s allegiance curiously awaits their next album, which is tentatively planned to be released in 2017. In fact, Frontwoman Chibi invoked a campaign on Pledge Music to finance the upcoming album, and the goal was already reached after only one day, which proves the true faithfulness The Birthday Massacre has acquired over the years.
As a big thank you, and a gift until 2017, the Canadian Dark-Wavers now release a collection of old and rare 4-track-cassette-demos from the beginning of their career when they still operated under the flag of Imagica. Surprised, how many people and fans again and again where asking for these old tracks, which were floating around the internet, Chibi and fellows Rainbow (guitars/programming/vocals), M. Falcore (guitars), Rhim (drums), Owen (keyboards, and Nate Manor (bass) are now scratching their fans back by releasing this re-mastered collection. Comprised of nine original tracks and two cover songs, the compilation released via Metropolis Records is simply and consequently entitled Imagica.
As this is a re-release of 4-track-cassette-demos, one cannot expect a high-gloss production, which certainly would kill the shopworn compositions, or better to say classics, which are rather contemporary witnesses of a evolutionary history in The Birthday Massacre’s life. In fact, with Imagica, The Birthday Massacre provides a look behind the scenes of the early days on their way to the top of the Dark Wave genre. That being said, “Over” is this typical Birthday Massacre rocker which is exemplary for the fast raising of the band in the beginning, and which kind of songs were causing a sensation back then in the scene. Synthetic drums and guitars with the angelic voice of Chibi keep up the band’s trademarks until today.
The essential, more calm “Remember Me” is a lot more domiciled in the Dark Wave genre and appears very fragile while the keyboard lines in “Under The Stairs” show its Gothic face from the ’90s. This song, as well as the following, “The Birthday Massacre;” later re-titled “Happy Birthday,” and the above mentioned “Over” already appeared on the band’s debut album, Nothing And Nowhere, in 2002 and its 2004 re-release. “Play Dead,” on the other hand, made its way onto the 2005 record Violet.
This offering also shows The Birthday Massacre have a lot of Pop music in their blood during a signature performance of the 1986 Madonna track “Open Your Heart” and also during their interpretation of Faith No More’s “From Out Of Nowhere.” The Birthday Massacre are unique and cannot be faked, and this shows during “Dead,” which has the most wicked guitar sound one has ever heard. It is pure nostalgia with a sound coming out of a overdriven cassette-recorder from an antique shop, thus making Imagica close in a magical way.
With all this said, the conclusion is that Imagica is a must have for The Birthday Massacre followers. It is a nice hold over until their yet to be named seventh full-length album sees light of day. CrypticRock gives Imagica 3.5 out of 5 stars.