H.I.M. return to the states with their second major label US release, Venus Doom and they did not disappoint at all. They were pretty much
underground in the states the majority of the way through their career, but thanks to Bam Margera, H.I.M are now one of the most popular
bands in the country.
They scored radio hits with their excellently moody cover of Chris Issak’s classic Wicked Game, then with their last release, Dark Light, scored their biggest hit singles to date, Wings of a Butterfly and Killing Loneliness.
Well, to all fans of H.I.M. I say, Venus Doom should not let you down whatsoever. It is the same tried and true love metal sound that this band has worked to perfect over the years and they really bring it back in style with this record. I would say that this is probably the heaviest material that H.I.M. has ever written, but that is not bad at all. This is a better record than Dark Light because it is not as poppy as that album and with Venus Doom H.I.M. seems to be trying to tap into that sound that made them popular.
Venus Doom is a record full of chunky guitars laced with subtle effects and some of the best vocals from one of the best frontmen in the game in Ville Valo. The way he can control a song, going from a powerful and crisp singing voice to deep, mulling vocals is almost not being done at all elsewhere in the scene. He himself really sells H.I.M.’s product, and believe you me, he does it very well. Take for example the album’s opening title track, Venus Doom. Valo carries each verse with such ease and such emotion; emotion that is really unrivaled in music today. He also does the bridge pretty much himself with his signature low pitched, brooding vocalizing. I think this record is musically leaps and bounds above the pop radio flavor of Dark Light. It seems as if H.I.M. has found their niche with American music.
Venus Doom is anchored well with two of the better songs of the offering, Passions Killing Floor and Kiss of Dawn. Dramatic guitar riffs and over-the-top harmonies run rampant, not to mention the addition of clean, accessible hooks, in classic H.I.M. fashion. H.I.M. really subtlety use pianos and keys to further the emotional standpoint of Venus Doom, which is something they haven’t done before – usually they just use a lot of pianos and keys all of the time. It’s a nice touch, but different from what they have done in the past
. The acoustic ballad Song or Suicide finds Valo and the boys at their most vulnerable. This song, albeit short, does not lack anything. It is a short enduring look at the passionate songwriting talent this band has.
A lot of Venus Doom is strong and upbeat, with enough hooks to give you a headache, but there is a foreboding aspect to it as there is with everything H.I.M. creates.
Listen To: Song or Suicide, Passions Killing Floor, Cyanide Sun