Review Summary: Turning the darkness up to 11.
For “Under Your Spell”, Chibi and the gang once again turned to PledgeMusic for funding. By reaching over 233% of their budget goal, they were once again able to ensure both themselves and their fans that they would be able to make the music that they wanted to make. Everybody wins!
Unlike their previous release “Superstition”, here they sound more subdued and darker, and the creepy electronics and synths are brought to the forefront. The track “All Of Nothing” gives you a feeling of being trapped in a huge, dark room with something scratching inside the walls. “No Tomorrow”, which is arguably the heaviest sounding track on the album, drags you into the darkness with the urgent, off-putting synths, chugging guitar and Chibi’s growling vocals. Throughout the course of the album, that darkness is laid on thick with constant dirty guitars and synths, which in some cases can be almost a little too much like on the track “Unkind”, where Chibi’s vocals get drowned out.
As far as atmosphere goes, a nightmarish vibe permeates throughout the record, where the listener is only able to come up for fresh air on more driving, lighter songs like “Counterpane” and “Hex”, which for me are the shining highlights of this album. The track order is also less cohesive this time around, favoring a more “track-by-track” feel than building a continuous soundscape. Some of the transitions can be jarring and I get the feeling that this was the feel that they were going for. However, I think this approach doesn’t work too well for The Birthday Massacre given just how excellent they’ve been at track order in past releases like “Pins and Needles”, “Walking with Strangers” and “Superstition”.
There’s a good amount of tracks to like here on this one, despite the darker ones sounding like they’ve been done several times before already on previous albums. In any case, this is a cool album to jam on dreary, rainy nights. While they’re not as catchy this time around, and while I wish there were more tracks like “Counterpane”, this is still a welcome addition to their macabre discography.