After two years without the release of a studio album, HIM (short for His Infernal Majesty) have now released what lead singer Ville
Valo claims to be the band’s heaviest piece of work to date - "Venus Doom". This Finnish 5-piece are very popular for their infamous
"heartagram" symbol, and past single releases "Buried Alive By Love", "Right Here In My Arms", and "Solitary Man".
Definitely one of the more heavier albums in this band’s arsenal of releases, HIM still seem to head to familiar ground with their music. Defining their genre into one unique category – "love metal", this band sound like themselves and nothing else. However with six studio albums and several demos and compilation albums, you would expect a band to progress or change their sound a little more than this. They write about love, and nothing else. Yes, this keeps in touch with their own genre, but after album number four this idea can seem a bit repetitive and boring. With song titles like "Dead Lovers’ Lane", "Love In Cold Blood", and "The Kiss Of Dawn" you can see where this idea is coming from.
HIM and "Venus Doom" are not dense with faults though, they do manage to do what they do well even if they do this all the time. You’ve got the classic HIM sound and haunting vocal work, crunching guitars and technical solos, lyrics about vampire hearts and crimson doors, under laying piano lines, and that extra gothic feel that makes any HIM song or album complete.
"Song Or Suicide" is a nice interlude from the rest of the album’s tracks, a short acoustic track lasting just over a minute with low vocal work bringing the haunting gothic touch into play.
Album opener and title track is another great highlight from this album, opening the album with Ville Valo lighting and smoking his cigarette before being intruded by a heavy attack of instruments. “Watch me fall for you, my Venus Doom / Hide my heart where all dreams are entombed, my Venus Doom.” is a chorus line you’ll have stuck in your head for a while after hearing it.
Although exciting and enjoyable to listen to for the most part, this album barely ever reaches the point of no control. The closest you’ll ever get to frantic or chaotic on any track is a guitar solo from Linde, and even then the frenzy is soon over.
On the whole, ‘Venus Doom’ is a good album and is worth a listen. If you’re current HIM fans then you’ll love this album, which is just like their older work with more of a metal touch to it than usual. However, for those of you who were perhaps cautious of this band in the past you won’t change your mind here. Although a fairly repetitive band, HIM do what they do well, and rarely sound like anyone else out there right now.