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In 2005 the Finnish Alternative Metal band HIM released their fifth album entitled "Dark Light". It finds that they came with the record after breaking through in 2003 with "Love Metal" and having dropped a 'greatest hits' release in the time between to give their new global fan base an idea of just what they have accomplished since debuting in 1997.
1. "Vampire Heart"
They get things underway in dramatic fashion by throwing out a raw tune that has them showing how well they are able to incorporate the general Metal sounds into their dark, alternative style as you get Ville Vallo (their vocalist) singing a chilling love song). I felt that the quality of the material wasn't particularly strong, however it showed good potential for later material from them later on the release.
2. "Wings Of A Butterfly"
This came as the first single from the album and it was one that did big for them as they were able to show how well they could capitalise upon the sudden rush of success that they got with the album prior to this one by coming with a single that seemed to take things in a relevant direction to keep it rolling for them. However I must say that I didn't really think all that much to it as its structure made it far too repetitive.
3. "Under The Rose"
As they continue with the album you find that here with this song they make for a tune that shows that there is a bit more to them to what is expected as they come out with a lively joint and one that seems to prove that not all of the dark material they do has to stick to conventions. However, the way that they did it wasn't particularly strong and I can't say that I felt that they went anywhere with it.
4. "Killing Loneliness"
With this one they are seen to get into the kind of thing that they were seemingly appearing to escape before as although they are able to adapt the Metal sound to this a deeper material, it seems to be an unsuccessful attempt at doing so as you get such an odd tune coming as a result of the quite changes in the style and which all conflict with each other. I can't really see much to enjoy in this one and it brings it down massively.
5. "Dark Light"
The titular track to the album is able to make the oxymoronic phrase make sense to the listener here as they make for a tune that brings together these two things in just the way that you would have expected, based upon how it led up to this point on the album. However, although it may have been a successful fusion of these opposing concepts, you don't get a particularly impressive song as you see that you get a bit of a Pop delivery in the vocals to lose some of its darkness.
6. "Behind The Crimson Door"
You find that as they keep it all rolling through this one you get them uplifting even more to the point where you seem to doubt whether they are actually capable of delivering the darker elements of the music) which you would probably expect to be the dominating force over the music). It is another one on the album that really flops and does so little that you can't really see any future potential, although the start was so promising.
7. "The Face Of God"
The ominous themes which are seen to act as the undercurrent to the album are seen to become much more apparent as they come with this one as they come out with a tune that gets them coming off very minimal elements of their Metal foundations, and more from a general Rock sound to come out with a tune that really doesn't have any real substance to it whatsoever as they do more samey work with no real drive.
8. "Drunk On Shadows"
You get a powerful display coming through with this one as initially you get some empowering percussion being thrown onto it to hype you up and get you in the right mood to feel more of the same from them, as they only hint on the harder elements just to disappoint later. What you get form this is just very predictable and sticks to the same things and doesn't appear to even try to get anything more out of it.
9. "Play Dead"
As they work towards the end of the album you see that with this one they come out with a song that sees so little progression, showing that it has gone anywhere since the start as you get more samey material where they use lyrics which bring you down (but aren't particularly effective due to the full-on nature that doesn't seem to have any depth (possibly because they get Villa Valo singing in a second language).
10. "In The Nightmare Of Eden"
The album ends with another song that shows that although there was something in them at the start, it went nowhere at all afterwards as they come up with another plain song that connects together the gothic elements to some of the lighter ones in the way that they sing the song (which contradict each other) and so as a result the thing really goes nowhere and holds them back right to the end.
This album did nothing for me whatsoever and I felt that it was just generally overrated as they really don't do anything new whatsoever and make no attempt to try and vary the release as they just come with some tunes which stick to the same themes and structure throughout.
A new tasteful direction for HIM
This is HIM's 6th album since they first started out in Helsinki, Finland in 1995. They made the big time in 1997.They are unlike any other band that I've heard, not quite metal, not quite Goth, not quite Rock. They are the only band that have thier own genre; Love Metal. It's not only music for goths and rockers, recently there was a dance remix of one of HIM's old songs Join Me. The words reach out to all sorts of people wether they like dance, R'n'B, hiphop, pop, or classical. I've known people who like all these types of music go out and buy music by His Infernal Majesty or in USA Her Evil Regime.
My boyfriend and I had been eagerly awaiting the release date of 26th September 2005. We were the first people in the shop that morning, we wanted to make sure we had the latest addition of the HIM history.
Everything is different about this album. Most of the past albums either have a picture of Ville Valo (lead singer) or a lone heartogram on the front. The card cover has a lone heartogram and HIM in the middle, the card cover usually gets lost or the corners get fluffy. The actual CD case has a picture of a staggering multi spired building with a HIM sign on the top of the building, and right in the middle of the building there is a heartogram projected onto the building. This building is protruding out of the ocean.
I like the fact that every song on the album is a new song, rare for HIM. I think that HIM may be taking a new turn and trying to change thier image slightly with Ville's new image and dress sense. This album is a sure sign that they're steering towards new and better things.
~General review of each song~
The First song, Vampire Heart is similar to the past songs, very good opening but it just ends all of a sudden with no warning. The words are great, like all HIM songs, the meanings are hidden. This is the latest single release as of 12 dec 05.
The 2nd song is "Rip out the wings of a butterfly". From the first time i heard this song something wasn't quite right. I just seems like Ville's vocals and the instrumentals didn't go well together. This song doesn't seem to relate to most of the songs that HIM have made. Great for a chart topper because it's common sounding.
The 3rd song, Under the Rose is one of my favourites. Very origional, everything that you would expect from HIM. It's a cross between the Love Metal album songs and Razorblade Romance album songs. The words at first sound depressing but when you actually listen over and over, you realise that is's a happy song about being with your lover and making them happy. Original ending a build up then a slowing down to the end of the song.
The 4th song is "Killing Loneliness". This is the best song on the album in my personal opinion. It's a song about being together and not ever wanting to be apart from your partner. This song is all of HIM, old and new wrapped into this song. A new approach to the ending.
The 5th song, Dark Light sounds a little puffy or gay at times. It's a gentle song. The words are great though. This song sounds totally brand new with almost no trace of past HIM songs in it. The more mature generation might like this song. Good fade out at the end.
The 6th song is "Behind the Crimson Door". This is another of my favourate songs. It's very origional. The song is a clear message that love hurts if you become obsessed or over protective of your partner. Again this song has a bit of a sudden end to it but it's not as bad as the others.
The 7th song, The Face of God is absolute stunner. It sounds new with a twist of the old. It's song about love being something that you don't always realise is there, but when you do realise it mindblowing. Another song that has a sudden ending.
The 8th song is "Drunk on Shadows". Another original song but with Ville's voice sounding different in some way. This song is about a body not being able to get away from it's shadow, referencing to Ville's alchohol abuse.
The 9th song, play dead is another great song. Its a song about the fear of death. It's another gentle song with powerful words that can be misleading. It has a short but powerful ending.
The 10th and final song is "In the Nightside of Eden". A brilliant last song. It's another orginal with twists of new stuff. This song is about temptation and not being able to satisfy that temptation. An absolute brilliant ending, good work up to the ending and eventually fading out to bass guitar then Ville's very low voice.
I would highly recommend this album to anyone who has bought HIM albums before. You can pick this up online for around £7 as of 2009, when I bought it when it first came out an 2005 it was £9.99. I hope this review has not been too long. Thank you for taking the time to read and rate.
Fazel x : )
My work can also be found on ciao.co.uk, ciao.com and various other sites.
Dark Light, composed and written by HIM and Ville Valo in particular.
The album isnt what we have come to expect from HIM, but is still the music that HIM fans fell in love with when they had the first taste of it.
Its a new direction which many fans didnt agree with, but wasnt a significant turn in direction where fans actually left the side of HIM because they didnt like it.
There is a song for everyone on the CD, because the music goes from fast, hard, heavy music, to a slow acoustic ballad. The lyrics have love and death interwined with a hard worked riff that will stick in your head until the day your die.
The lead singer, Ville Valo, is somewhat of a poet when it comes to writing lyrics for the songs, and his grufty voice, brought on by years of smoking, brings an extra kick to the music of HIM.
In particular, Wings of a Butterfly, Killing Loneliness, and Dark Light are the best songs to hear on the album, of which the first two were released.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Vampire Heart
2 Rip Out The Wings Of A Butterfly
3 Under The Rose
4 Killing Loneliness
5 Dark Light
6 Behind The Crimson Door
7 Face Of God
8 Drunk On Shadows
9 Play Dead
10 In The Night Side Of Eden