Wednesday, August 10 2011 00:00


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IM Cover125As I noted when I first posted news of IMAGINARY MONSTERS, the new EP from THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE - their 2010 full-length PINS & NEEDLES has not left my playlist since it's release almost a year ago. Rated a in my official review, I should've given in a flat 5 - as it's staying power has been immense. As more artists revisit the EP format to bridge gaps between albums, the prospect of new music from TBM quickly became an object of anticipation.

Released this week through Metropolis Records, 'MONSTERS boasts three new tracks that play like a direct continuation of PINS & NEEDLES.

Forever manages to capture that synth-driven '80's vibe as a mid-tempo number that often brings to mind thatdarker MADONNA feel that often permeates Chibi's vocal delivery. The guitars get a little more play on Burn Away, a track that plays noticeably heavier while retaining nearly the same tempo of the opener. By Left Behind we're floating into the darkest territory of the three new songs amidst the slowest tempo. There's something distinctly CURE-esque about the clean guitar lead that flows majestically behind the dominating beats. What we're lacking is real rocker, which is where the band excels.

With five remixes packed in, the two standouts are different versions of the same song. ASSEMBLAGE 23 and COMBICHRIST both put different spins on Shallow Grave, a song that was perfect to begin with. The other three present versions of Pins & Needles, Pale, and Control that feel flat and slightly unfinished when held up to their original counterparts. They're not bad by any means, but you can  pick out spots where they could've been better.

IMAGINARY MONSTERS is a welcome addition to THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE's growing discography, albeit one that will fail to satisfy all but the most dedicated of fans - and even they may be left hungry by this sonic snack.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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