Release Date: Apr 30, 2013
Record label: Razor & Tie
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Pop-Metal, Goth Rock, Goth Metal
As one of the few contemporary frontmen to ooze authentic rock-star cool, Ville Valo has made light work of attracting a vast fanbase over the 16 years since HIM's debut. The Finns' formula remains as distinctive as ever on their eighth studio album, their cobwebbed melodies, lovelorn pathos and grubby metallic crunch all intact. A vast improvement on 2010's anaemic Screamworks, Tears on Tape harks back to the incisive crowd-pleasing of 2003's Love Metal, wherein every song boasted an irresistible, radio-friendly chorus, but the riffs still left a bruise or two.
"A moment of calm before the storm," main man Ville Valo declares on "All Lips Go Blue," the first single off of HIM's highly anticipated new album, Tears on Tape. After a three-year hiatus, the Helsinki "love metal" quintet is back with a vengeance. Composed of 13 songs, Tears on Tape may leave the HIM diehard a bit baffled, disappointed, and curious as to the new direction the band seems to have taken--but the truth is that the typical HIM fashion is always to move forward, even if it leaves some fans behind.
Over the course of time HIM have found their place in the world as one of those acts who keep releasing music for themselves and their fans while the rest of the world has largely forgotten about them. Back in the early ‘00s the world was still their oyster: they were absolutely massive in their native Finland, managed to have a respectable amount of popularity all around Europe and even managed to touch upon the ever-evasive American markets, even if largely thanks to their friendship with the then-cool Bam Margera. The later albums – 2007’s Venus Doom and 2009’s Screamworks in particular – stretched the band’s musical boundaries and gained the favour of the critics, but the hits waned away.
There is a certain segment of rock & roll fandom that is adverse to change for any reason. Usually, it's an older generation that loves acts whose albums continue to sound the same. (Hardcore followers of Status Quo, Bon Scott-era AC/DC, and pre-synth ZZ Top take note.) Fans of Finnish goth pop rockers H.I.M. are hardly baby boomers, though.