By Taylyn Washington-Harmon

The Birthday Massacre is known for its signature sound — 80s New Age revival-style with hardcore industrial instrumentals. The band originally formed in 1999 under the name Imagica, only to change it to The Birthday Massacre for the release of their debut album Nothing and Nowhere in 2002. Hide and Seek is on the shorter side, much like Nothing and Nowhere, with only 10 tracks. But the album still packs a punch. It’s just this time the punch isn’t nearly as hard as the band’s previous releases.

Down,” Hide and Seek’s lead single but second track, hits with a hard industrial sound, but is rather watered down compared to the last album, Pins and Needles. TBM’s frontwoman, Chibi, alternates her vocals from soft, yet nightmarishly-written verses to a grungy snarl for the guitar-laden chorus. It is definitely the most notable track on the album when it comes to sound. The track is the most reminiscent to the sounds from the first album, but is swathed in a more a progressive sound, as if the early track “Over” met the track “Pins and Needles” and threw on some of “Blue’s” chorus like a new jacket.

A favorite track of mine, “Alibis,” proves the band’s lyrical maturation over the years. The lyrics are dark, but in a less cheesy-softcore goth way that was once typical of TBM. The band itself describes Hide and Seek’s lyrical work as “darker” than its previous records. I can totally affirm to that after hearing this track, along with the rest of the album.

My main criticism of this album is that it does nothing to really distinguish itself from any other TBM record. I could have mistaken this album for Pins and Needles if I wasn’t listening well enough. TBM is borrowing less and less from their old sounds, which is a good AND bad thing to do, unless you’re Linkin Park.

In short: OLD TBM — PLEASE COME BACK. I MISS YOU. And get O.E. back as your bassist again. He was the shit.

I give Hide and Seek 2.5/5 stars. This album fell slightly short of helping me fall in love with The Birthday Massacre all over again. It felt rushed and not truly thought through as the amazing album it had the potential to be.