Digital Versatile Doom review
HIM - Digital Versatile Doom (Rated 7 out of 13)
Him have long been one of the mainstays of modern metal counter-culture. Made infamous by Bam Magera, of Jackass fame, they are quite well known, but have receded somewhat in recent years. The release of a live CD and DVD is hardly going to gain them much new support, but it will help them capitalise on their already rock-solid fanbase.
One of the notable aspects of both the CD and the DVD is the exceedingly good production. You can hardly expect to understand a word at a metal gig, and even on a recording. On this offering the lyrics and instruments are crystal clear. There is simply no distortion at all. Credit has to go to the PAs at the Orpheum for this because the sound had to be pretty damn good the moment it came out of the speakers because there is less opportunity to validly manipulate a live sound once it has been recorded.
On the musical front one of the most interesting if unusual aspects is the inclusion of a Theremin, particularly on ‘Passion’s Killing Floor’. When you think of Theremin, this is not perhaps the sphere you picture it in, but is there bold as brass and functioning perfectly well. This weirdness continues throughout the gig. For example, ‘Wicked Game’ features piano and snare breakdown which sounds vaguely like Parisian lounge music. However, for most of the gig, this is left on the back burner and we are treated to the magic of Ville Vallo’s baritone glory, and some brilliant guitar licks.
The gig DVD by contrast is perhaps a little too comical to do the band justice. Him’s support crew obviously went to a lot of effort to get the right vaudevillian atmosphere, even down to securing the Orpheum Theatre as the venue. However this is somewhat spoiled by a drum kit surrounded by plexiglass shielding like some bank cashier. It is also quite hard to take Ville Vallo’s baritone vocals seriously when you see how miniature the guy is compared to the rest of his band. But by the grin which flashes across his face from time to time, Him aren’t taking it too seriously either.
Strange though it must sound, Him should also be credited for their musical ability. The lyrics are crafted so well that the crowd cannot resist joining in, and as a testament, they are often allowed to take the vocals solo. The instrumentation is also extremely catchy; making you either nod along, or else grin with pleasure. All in all this is an extremely well put together live CD/DVD package. Although it may be let down by a few embarrassing elements, it still stands out as a good effort.