HIM

Tears On Tape

Written by: PP on 09/07/2013 23:09:00

So I admit it is weird to review a HIM album while the sun is shining and it's 25 degrees outside. After all, the band's self-prescribed 'love metal' tends to be more gothic and dark than it is bright and cheerful, so it's absolutely more suited for the miserable rainy weathers of the fall months in Scandinavia. That said, eighth studio album "Tears On Tape" is another solid demonstration why HIM are the best band in their style by a long shot, leaving all other gothic soundalikes far behind both in terms of songwriting and charismatic imagery.

Three years ago, "Screamworks: Love In Theory And Practice" was a masterpiece of an album that basically shoved a foot in anyone's mouth with prejudices attached to the band. It did this through love songs written like no-one ever writes them these days, leaving behind a genuine sound that felt heartfelt, hurting and romanticized in the best meaning of each of those words. "Tears On Tape" isn't quite the spectacular demonstration of love song writing ability, mostly because it's a little bit heavier (guitars are way more crunchy, for instance), and the best love songs are those that are maddeningly catchy softer ones with slightly over-the-top cliché lyrics. On this album, Ville Valo and co have gone for a more complete sound that explores the same thematics as HIM before, but through a slightly adjusted and differentiated sound. It feels darker and more introspective for starters, but also more experimental in terms of the soundscape and approach to songwriting.

But not to worry. "I Will Be The End Of You", for instance, is as infectiously catchy as the band's best material to date. It's impossible to avoid singing along to the smooth chorus melody that sees a slight strain in Valo's voice at a perfect timing to make it into a winner. The title track's classical piano adds a nice touch to the crunchy guitars, and its slow tempo means we've got a great love ballad in our hands once again - especially because the chorus is as good as it is. "Into The Night" has an intriguing contrast between Valo's slightly whiny high pitch and the dark baritone vocals that have been made this way through decades of chain-smoking. "Hearts At War" is another instant classic, and will be sure to initiate sing alongs at live shows.

The last third of the album isn't as strong as the beginning and the middle, but even here the songs are reasonably good, with "W.L.S.T.D" (When Love Starts To Die) providing yet another heart-crunching ballad dissecting love in a way that only a true romantic at heart is able to. In essence, HIM get way too much hate for their imagery and their admittedly anti-testosterone approach to songwriting, while in reality they write fantastic love songs that still aren't matched by anyone since the glory days of Bon Jovi and Aerosmith.

Download: I Will Be The End Of You, Love Without Tears, Tears On Tape, Hearts At War
For the fans of: The 69 Eyes, Entwine, Aerosmith's love songs
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.04.2013
Razor & Tie / Universal

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