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Thursday 8 June 2017

Reviews: Birthday Massacre, Ye Banished Privateers, Doll Skin (Reviews By Stief)

The Birthday Massacre: Under Your Spell (Metropolis Records)

The seventh full-length album from Canadian Darkwave sextet The Birthday Massacre, Under Your Spell is yet another great album. Having seen them in The Fleece last year, it was already obvious the band had not only retained their talents, but had gotten better with age. From the music box opening of One to the final chime of Endless, Chibi and company send the listener on a journey across a sea of synths, distorted guitars and haunting vocals. Every member of the band works together perfectly: Chibi's vocals, almost ethereal at times whilst easily breaking into vicious growls without a thought, soar around the oft distorted guitars of Rainbow and Falcore.

Rhim's drums provide a steady or heavy beat, often switching during the course of a song while Nate Manor's bass guitar provides the meaty foundation of their sound. However, it's Owen's Keyboards that help the band stand out from the rest, arguably just as iconic in their sound as Chibi's vocals, the synths and keys Owen weaves through each song paint a different picture each time. If you've ever been a fan of The Birthday Massacre, then you'll know exactly what to expect, and if you're not a fan, then I would definitely implore you to give them a try, as this is a cracking album. 9/10

Ye Banished Privateers: First Night Back in Port (Napalm Records)

Whenever the word 'Pirate' is mentioned within the music circles, it immediately brings to mind bands such as Alestorm, RedRum and LagerStein, with their comedic and often heavy synth-laden metal. When listening to Ye Banished Privateers, a 20-person crew from Sweden, I found myself often wondering if they aren't actually pirates, with their sea shanties, names such as Scurvy Ben, Bloody Liz, Eva The Navigator and the use of classical instruments such as Irish Banjos, a Kalimba, accordions and fiddles to name but a few. 

Although Ye Banished Privateers are nowhere near the heaviness we've come to expect from 'pirate metal' I have to say it's a delight to listen to. Some songs have a great upbeat tempo with jaunty toe-tapping music; First Night Back In Port being one of the best, while others bring to mind artists such as Nick Cave in places, the album closer Mermaid's Kiss, reminiscent of Cave and Kylie Minogue's duet Where The Wild Roses Grow is a nearly 20-minute tale with some beautiful instrumentals woven throughout. I definitely suggest you listen to this if you're looking for something a bit different. 9/10

Doll Skin: Manic Pixie Dream Girl (EMP)

It's easy to compare pop-punk bands to their peers, but some manage to break away from that. Arizonian quartet Doll Skin are one of those bands. Although on first listen, many (including myself) would compare the sound of Doll Skin to bands such as Paramore, who seem to be continually falling and embracing the pop half of pop-punk, these ladies manage to plant themselves firmly in the punk side, with heavy guitars, rhythmic drumming and kick-ass vocals.

It's not all fast paced however, with Doll Skin showing a slower side with songs such as Sweet Pea and Uninvited. Being honest, if Megadeth's David Ellefson decided these ladies are good enough to sign to his label, I'm not going to argue their talents! Looking forward to future projects from them! 8/10

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