Remember when Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta spat his dummy out over the fact that Deftones booked synth-pop act Chvrches for their annual Día De Los Deftones festival? Obviously oblivious to the fact that Deftones frontman Chino Moreno is a huge new wave/synth-pop fan, all JJ had to do to grasp this was listen to the immense Crosses album that Moreno put out in 2014. But the ensuing Twitter spat between Jasta and Chvrches frontwoman Lauren Mayberry did shed light on the fact that some barriers do still need to come down. Enter stage left; The Birthday Massacre, a band that combines synth-pop, with industrial and goth, and should find an audience with any open-minded metalhead.
‘Diamonds’ leans more towards the synth-pop angle of the musical gamut, rather than the industrial riffage of a track like ‘Counterpane’ from 2017’s ‘Under Your Spell’ album. It’s an upbeat, energetic album that even the angriest of angry metal guys should be unable to stop his toes tapping along to. Excluding Jamey Jasta obviously. If the listener was in any doubt about which path The Birthday Massacre was going down, then opening track ‘Enter’ will erase that doubt. Catchy as hell, it’s light and breezy, but yet it still has some gorgeous, subtle guitar tones throughout. ‘The Sky Will Turn’ continues in the same vein, dreamy vocals from Chibi, and a hypnotic, pulsating drum sound that ensnares the listener in.
The title track has a gorgeous synth sound throughout, and if you were to isolate it then I’m sure you would pick up a Tubeway Army influence or two. Influences? The intro to ‘Run’ could be classed as classic NIN while the synths scream vintage Martin Gore, and although ‘Flashback’ is the most industrial tinged moment on ’Diamonds’, there is a Garbage-feel to it. The keys might be king throughout the album, but ‘Flashback’ has some killer guitar licks (as does ‘Mirrors’). Straight after the riffs on ‘Flashback’ fade out, it’s back with the breezy synth-pop on the 80’s influenced ‘The Last Goodbye’, Giorgio Moroder-meets-Chris Lowe. ‘Crush’ is much heavier and darker, thanks mainly to the explosive drum sound that dips in and out.
Chino Moreno is reported to have described his Crosses project as “minimal and soothing and it’s sort of like the stuff I like listening to when I’m not screaming my head off.” The Birthday Massacre are a heavier band in the live setting, and hopefully fans will still get the opportunity to catch the Canadians later this year (see dates below), but in the meantime don’t be afraid of a little synth-pop and soak up this incredible album, you might just find that you like it.
05.11.20 NEWCASTLE Cluny 2
06.11.20 YORK Fulford Arms*
07.11.20 EDINBURGH Opium*
08.11.20 GLASGOW Ivory Blacks
11.11.20 MANCHESTER Night People*
12.11.20 NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
13.11.20 WOLVERHAMPTON Slade Rooms
14.11.20 LONDON Garage
15.11.20 BRISTOL Exchange
* limited capacity shows!
THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE
Chibi – vocals
Rainbow – guitars, programming, vocals
Falcore – lead guitar
Phil Elliott – drums
Owen – keyboards
Brett Carruthers – bass
‘Diamonds’ is available now on Metropolis Records.
Review – Dave