Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Birthday Massacre

This is one of those wonderful instances of happy accident. My boss was the one who stumbled upon The Birthday Massacre (TBM for short) while looking for a "happy birthday" song to send to someone for their birthday. He found the song "Happy Birthday" by TBM and was disturbed by it. I went and listened to it to see what he was talking about and liked what I heard. I made offsite backups of their songs to review before purchasing both their albums Nothing and Nowhere and Violet.

TBM's music is hard to describe. It has heavy synth-goth electric guitars remeniscent of APerfectCircle/Lacuna Coil/The Cure - with that warped echoey 80's sound. The chord progressions are not your typical metal/goth at all. Then there's all this 80's synth that sounds like something from an 80's cartoon film like Rainbow Brite except that the mood of the music overall kills any potential cheesyness usually associated with such synths. And that's the key to the music - the mood it captures. The lyrics themselves are dark; horror stuff - like a narration from the video game "Alice" or if you made depressing endings for 80's films like "Pretty in Pink" and "Sixteen Candles". TBM's name comes from one of the songs, about a literal birthday massacre where the birthday boy and his girl kill all the guests. But if you weren't paying attention to the lyrics of most of their songs you wouldn't guess that's what they were sinigng about because the music doesn't have that immediate sense of doom or horror that most pop-goth music does.

The most impressive thing for me is the nostalgia of it. You probably had to of grown up as a kid in the 80's to really appreciate this: for me, my most treasured memories of being a kid in the 80's were of swords and sorcery, of riding horseback and defeating immesurable etherial magics. Stuff like "The Neverending Story", "Labyrinth", and Jim Henson's "the Storyteller" capture that dark mythology with creatures equally scary and creepy but fascinating and magical. TBM's music, for me, captures the sound of my memories, the way I felt back then, believing in this drama much larger than me. Their music is at once 80's but dark and mysterious and modern at the same time. I've never heard anything that FELT like a memory before; like I know it. It's like smelling something that you hadn't smelled since you were a kid and wondering how the hell it could be here, now, and being overtaken with memory at it.

So, yeah. Yay! I likey very much. Oh, and very cool - they recorded this as their previous incarnation "Imagica" - they did a remake of the Neverending Story theme song. :D Which is probably the most positive/bubbly thing they've done by far, but hey....

Edit to add: I always thought the lyrics and mood of their song "The Dream" described the main character Sarah of the film Labyrinth pretty well. Then one day I stumbled across a fan video for Labyrinth that uses this song! It's not half bad, either. :D

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