Love Metal (USA release)
28 february /2005/
His Infernal Majesty’s new CD disappoints
In America, the Goth culture is usually reserved for those unpopular, misunderstood outcasts who layer the make-up and adorn themselves
with strategically placed piercing.
However, judging by the Finnish band His Infernal Majesty, the dark side seems to be sprinkled in sugar and cleverly promoted by those mindless, insipid producers to be packaged as a rock/metal band.
HIM is far from the average head banging, guitar smashing, mind-altering music. They are in a class all their own.
HIM has catapulted into stardom in Europe, thanks to a strong following. They have yet to weasel their way into the American music market. Their latest effort, "Love Metal", isn’t the record that will place them in the American psyche or on the local radio stations.
The CD simply falls short of HIM’s promise to explain the "love metal" genre they created. The band, Ville Valo (lyricist, vocalist); Burton (keyboards); Linde (guitar); Mige (bass); and Gas Lipstick (drums) defines it as a combination of pop, metal, Goth, and glam.
The end result is a rather disappointing CD stuffed with sappy ballads, macabre images and melancholic chirps reminiscent of the Cure and Depeche Mode back in the ’80s.
I give them credit at times; their music does have an odd David Lynch effect, but there are moments when I get the impression that they try too hard to be commercial. From the first track, "Buried Alive by Love", it’s clear that HIM recycles ’80s rock and attempts to make it its own, but the cheesy lyrics don’t mesh with the fast-paced beat.
The three songs that follow pretty much use the same formula of blending music and words that don’t work. The best track is the last. "The Path" incorporates Valo’s sensual crooning to the slow drumbeats, ethereal keyboards, and ends with an epic guitar solo (think "Stairway to Heaven").
If the boys integrated as much enthusiasm and original rhythm with the other nine tracks as they did in "The Path" then "Love Metal" would have been exceptional.
Considering how good their previous CD "A Razorblade Romance" was, I think I expected too much from "Love Metal". The well-written Valo lyrics are about the beauty and unbearable darkness of life which is a far cry from the "shiny, happy people" crap former mouseketeers belt out.
Don’t get me wrong, there is an overabundance of hope in the lyrics alongside hints of stubborn sadness and passion, but it’s incorporated in such a way that there isn’t anything perverse about it. Regardless, the lyrics can’t save the CD, because the music falls short of perfection.
If anything, the music is monotonous and redundant.
By Sandi Kasha