With probably the most famous and most tattooed band logo around, Finnish goth-rock heroes HIM have
always boasted a fan-base to rival all. And no matter what they’ve done
or what duds they’ve released, their devotees have brandished their
heartagrams proudly on all manner of body parts and remained loyal
throughout their astonishing 20+ year career. Now, having reached a big
milestone with their eighth studio album, they still show no signs of
calling it quits. And too right, seeing as how Tears On Tape may be their finest release in a decade. Recorded with old pals, producer Hiili Hiilesmaa (Apocalyptica, Lordi) and Tim Palmer (U2, Ozzy Osbourne) in their home country, the album took shape but the quintet didn’t get off to the best of starts.
Drummer Mika Kristian "Gas Lipstick" Karppinen was diagnosed with
having repetitive strain injury after complaining about his wrists
whilst rehearsing. Told he might not ever play again, the musician was
asked to rest and the band waiting patiently, worried for their friend’s
health. After eight months they finally played together and luckily
things were all hunky-dory. With a renewed energy, Gas and his bandmates, frontman Ville Valo, guitarist Mikko "Linde” Lindström, bassist Mikko "Migé” Paananen and keyboardist Janne Johannes "Emerson Burton" Puurtinen, created what was to become Tears On Tape.
The title has been said to be the band's way of tipping their hats to
their idols and the tears they shed whilst making great music - in turn
making them want to be musicians in the first place. And the title-track
is as expected for one of their signature lovelorn ballads, a tribute
song of sorts standing out with its twinkling keys and captivating
"We’ve hoped to have picked the best bits and bobs from what we’ve
done in the past, combine them and add a couple of new spices to create
something worthwhile listening to from the beginning to the end” explained Ville in a recent promo video for the album. And that pretty much sums up the feeling I get from Tears On Tape
– it’s the best of what they have done in the past with a few added
extras to bring it up to date. Beginning with the dark electronic intro
of 'Unleash the Red', it teases you before the full HIM force pounces with great single 'All Lips Go Blue'.
It's a classic sound for the Finns - distorted sexy riffs under the
singer's pop-flecked melancholic croon. A self-proclaimed love of 60's
wall-of-sound pioneer and producer Phil Spector, means the chorus
is not only catchy but has some fleeting doo-wap claps. This
familiarity continues through to the acoustic-based ballad 'Love Without Tears' with an equally easy-on-the-ear chorus; the frontman’s continued love and influence from another legend, Roy Orbison and his dark vocal and acoustic guitar combo in attendance.
WATCH // HIM - 'All Lips Go Blue'
Talking of sexy riffs, 'No Love' is a highlight with more brilliant and sultry guitars to bathe in. It's almost a sibling to 'All Lips Go Blue' with a familiar punchy delivery and of course, trademark colossal chorus. Nods to their idols of the metal variety i.e. Black Sabbath are as ever present with chunky melodic riffs beefing up 'I Will Be The End Of You' and 'Into The Night'. And 'Hearts At War' also packs more of a punch with a quicker tempo under contrasting razor blade lyrics and big goth-pop refrains - "Hearts at war. Drunk on dreams of all that’s been lost now. Let them bleed!” Aside from the odd eerie, but ultimately unnecessary instrumental interlude, they strike gold on the devilishly dark 'W.L.S.T.D' (‘When Love Starts To Die’). Ville’s
the star here hitting both his lowest and highest notes in his
illustrious range throughout the brilliant track, including a raspy roar
to rival his many previous. Linde and Migé's combo of slow but muscular riffs and one very menacing bassline, cement it as a new HIM classic for me.
don’t deny that we have a certain sound...There’s no reason for us to
suddenly make a reggae album or a techno album. That’s not necessarily
what HIM are about” continued Ville. And of course as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! So yes of course this sounds like HIM
and no they're not going to re-invent the wheel, but the difference is
that they haven't sounded this strong and aware of themselves in a long
time. They’re the best at what they do and Tears On Tape is a great return to form for the pioneers of love metal.
Artist: ... HIM Title: ... Tears On Tape Genre: ... Rock Label: ... Universal Bitrate: ... 278 kbps Size: ... 79.53 MB Date: ... 26 Apr 13
01 HIM - Unleash The Red (1:07) 02 HIM - All Lips Go Blue (3:50) 03 HIM - Love Without Tears (3:38) 04 HIM - I Will Be The End Of You (3:33) 05 HIM - Tears On Tape (3:21) 06 HIM - Into The Night (3:36) 07 HIM - Hearts At War (3:46) 08 HIM - Trapped In Autumn (1:34) 09 HIM - No Love (3:30) 10 HIM - Drawn & Quartered (5:13) 11 HIM - Lucifer's Chorale (1:19) 12 HIM - W.L.S.T.D. (4:12) 13 HIM - Kiss The Void (2:22)