Saturday, July 9, 2016

HIM's Tears On Tape a fantastic blend of all they have to offer

4-25-13 Originally published on Examiner.com by Tracy Heck

HIM"s eighth album Tears on Tape

HIM fans can finally rejoice as the band's long-awaited eighth studio album, Tears on Tape, will be released tomorrow in Finland on Cooking Vinyl's imprint DoubleCross, Monday in Europe on Universal Music and Tuesday here in the U.S. on Razor & Tie.
HIM's Tears on Tape
Tracy Heck
Fans have waited for a long time after the band took a two-year hiatus after leaving Sire Records and after drummer, Gas Lipstick, found that he was suffering from severe nerve damage.

For awhile it appeared that the band may be over but in August HIM announced they were finally heading into the studio to record a new album and in February they announced the release date.

Tears on Tape was recorded in their home country of Finland with long-time producer, Hiili Hiilesmaa and mixed by long-time band associate, Tim Palmer (U2, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam).
The album is a blend of the two styles that HIM has become known for over their years: the melodic metal of their early years and the poppier alternative of their last few albums.

In numerous interviews HIM front man, Ville Valo, has said that the band was looking to pay tribute to some of their idols, including Black Sabbath, and that they were looking to combine that heavy Sabbath sound with the melodic choruses of a Roy Orbison song and they have definitely achieved this on Tears on Tape.

The album opens with the dramatic instrumental piece, "Unleash the Red", that kicks off appropriately with the starting of a cassette tape and immediately sets the dark tone of the album before crashing into the opening of "All Lips Go Blue", the first single here in the States.

"All Lips Go Blue" packs a hard punch with a thunderous guitar solo from lead guitarist, Linde Lindstrom contrasting with Valo's signature crooning of his poetic lyrics of love and pain, "My heart so violently beats along."

"Love Without Tears" ramps up the drama as Valo explores one of his favorite themes: the idea that people continue to pursue love in spite of the pain that comes along with it in the hopes that this time it will work out, "Just a story told to keep us hanging on."

"I Will Be The End Of You" is the first song the band performed live off of the album and features another powerful riff and leans more towards the heaviness of HIM's Venus Doom album, "Love screaming I will be the end of you."

The first video released for the album was for the title track, "Tears on Tape", which leads the album down a little lighter path as the swirling chorus feels like it could easily fit on HIM's last album, Screamworks: Love In Theory and Practice, "And for a moment there’s no pain."

"Into The Night" continues in a lighter direction and is easily the album's standout track with its distorted guitar riff working alongside a powerful rhythm and featuring some killer harmony.
The song also gives Valo a strong showcase for his dramatic vocal range, "Painting pain with pastels through her cemetery eyes."

The album is broken up with another instrumental interlude, "Trapped In Autumn" that evokes a bit of a dark electronica feel that sandwiches the heavy "Hearts At War" and even heavier "No Love", which features some great interplay between Lindstrom and bassist Mige Paananen and allows Valo to get some frustration out with some screaming, "Forever and ever!"

"Drawn & Quartered" is a beautiful romantic track that seems to get better with each listen as it unfolds.  At times the track evokes a acoustic feel and features lyrics that allow a peek into the vulnerability that lurks beneath the darkness, "Let's hold these hearts for one another."

The instrumental, "Lucifer's Chorale", returns things to the dark side as its distortion and heaviness thrusts listeners into the gates of Hell.

"W.L.S.T.D." is HIM at its best with a perfect mix of heavy gothic distortion alongside the dramatic feel of keyboardist Emerson Burton's intro.  The song's slow pace also adds to the drama and Valo's choice to sing in a deep octave gives it a chilling feel, "When love starts to die it begins with a kiss. Violently soothing and warm."

"W.L.S.T.D." leads right into outro, "Kiss The Void", which brings things to a violent, crashing end as the "tape" abruptly stops.

The Tears on Tape album is a testament to HIM's ability to keep things fresh while staying true to their unique sound.