Look out, America! Thirteen-to-19 year olds now have a new bunch of dark heroes to worship, in the form of the mighty and melodic HIM. One look at the front cover of Razorblade Romance will give the average person the lowdown on these guys. Singer Ville Valo is an androgynous young man dressed like Dave Navarro, who fronts a band that sounds like a watered-down, more melodic version of Type O Negative.
The music is basically mid-tempo, sludgy corporate metal, with lots of gothic posturing. The singer’s voice actually reminds me of Marilyn Manson, but not the corny Manson; I’m referring to Manson when he is actually singing and sounds respectable. I kind of like Valo’s voice, but there’s something false about it that I can’t quite put my finger on … Anyways, many of the album’s songs have a very 1980s power-rock feel (e.g. “Right Here in My Arms”), a la Billy Idol’s solo work (thumping, straight-forward basslines, driving drums, blazing guitar solos). This gets tiresome very quickly.
For the relatively new millennium, this album sounds pretty fresh and unique. Had it come out ten years ago, it would have sounded stale. Back then, The Cult was still relevant, and they were doing this type of album when the members of HIM were in grade school. I just can’t figure out how I feel about this HIM album. It’s got some very cool moments, but it’s also really over-dramatic and corny at times. By the way, if you see kids doodling a symbol that looks like a half heart and half pentagram, you can thank HIM. This is their symbol for what they call their music, “Love Metal.” Um, yeah…