HIM - Love Metal
Radio Friendly Gothic Rock
10 songs (53:31)
Release year: 2003
Reviewed by Jay

Ville Valo and crew are back. The new HIM album is here and I am sadly under whelmed. Love Metal was billed as being the be all and end all of gothic rock albums this year. After listening to it many times, I am disappointed. First, the good. The production is FLAWLESS. Every note sounds sharp and sweetened. There is clearly a good deal of money put into this album. There are overdubs, fills, synth patterns, midi tricks, samples layered upon samples and more. The band has never sounded better. The substance of the sound is what is gnawing at my mind though.

This new album is very radio friendly. Please do not get me wrong and assume that I think that metal should not be on the radio. There is place for metal on the radio, however this album sounds more like Top 40 radio than metal radio. The Sisters of Mercy style is invoked heavily on this album. In fact, “Circle of Fear” is eerily reminiscent of “Lucretia my Reflection.” “Endless Dark” is another song that I could picture hearing on the weekly countdown on the radio. It’s a good song with a neat main melody but it’s poppy. HIM’s earlier work had more of a haunting feeling in their music. The sounds seemed to linger with you for more than a fleeting second. The music seems to be suffering from A.D.D. The song “Buried Alive by Love” opens with a riff that can be called true metal. In fact, this is by far the most metal track on the album, relying on guitars to convey the music. Samples and synth are a second thought here. Valo’s voice is strong as well. This song should pacify the metal community and be a significant hit for the band in the European charts. “The Sacrament” starts out with a beautiful piano intro that enters into an acoustic guitar duet. While this music is nice, I can’t really call it metal. “Beyond Redemption” also falls into this category. While it is a good song, I could see this song written by Evanescence. “Soul on Fire” is another song that is more metal than the rest. With a faster tempo than most of the album, and more guitar driven riffing, the band proves they can rock with the best of them. “The Funeral of Hearts” is a great song. It is reminiscent of the older sound of HIM. Similar to “Nothing Left to Say” by Entwine in form and structure, it is no wonder why this song is currently the number five song in the land of Suomi.

Since Finland is drenched in darkness for much of the year, there are high depression rates. Much of these feelings are vented in the music coming out. The mood of this album is much happier than previous HIM albums. Fans looking for the trademarked Finnish depressing sound will be remiss if they pickup this album in those hopes. Entwine, Poisonblack, To/Die/For, Lullacry and many more bands are all releasing acclaimed albums in this style. With the style advancing very fast, HIM had a chance to jump ahead of all of them. While the production is unblemished, the substance just isn’t there.

Killing Songs :
Buried Alive by Love, The Funeral of Hearts, Soul on Fire, Endless Dark
Jay quoted 79 / 100
Chris quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by HIM that we have reviewed:
HIM - Tears On Tape reviewed by Metalette and quoted 84 / 100
HIM - Dark Light reviewed by Ben and quoted 75 / 100
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