Love Metal Archives Vol. 1 review
HIM - Love Metal Archives Vol. 1 [DVD] (Rated 10 out of 13)
Fancy a bit of topless Vallo? Step this way...
Perhaps the first thing to strike you about this DVD collection is just how attractive Ville Vallo starts off looking in the 'Wicked Game' video. This is HIM at their peak. Forget Love Metal, forget And Love Said No... the Razorblade Romance and Deep Shadows era was when they were on top form. Those sliding guitars breaking away into the sickly sweet melody Vallo is famous for and if you're female or merely have an emotional side, you're going to get dragged into this love metal nonsense pretty quickly. 'When Love and Death Embrace' continues on the famous HIM theme. There's a sinister side to this dark video though, but it just mimics the looks of the frontman who holds so many fangirl's hearts in the palm of his hand. 'Join Me In Death' is suitably morbid and involves, for the third video in a row, a beautiful woman wandering around with a sultry looking Vallo in tow. Sounds familiar, yes? 'Join Me In Death' has had a few allegations set against it, the most noticeable would be the case of a German boy who committed suicide with the song on repeat on his personal CD player. Ironically, it's the German version of this video that makes the DVD.
Moving on in the Razorblade Romance catalogue, 'Right Here In My Arms' has the aggressively addictive stomp that backs up the weakening vocals. This is about as optimistic as HIM gets and a live favourite, but yet again the video is the usual HIM fodder- Vallo and co perform in yet another derelict location whilst a beautiful woman admires from afar. Slowing into a rhythm driven break, the message is well and truly driven home. 'Poison Girl', instead of relying on models contracted in fills a hall with teenagers desperate with adoration and delivers a video of grainy live footage and nothing of interest. 'Gone With The Sin' allows the viewer to take a walk through a psychedelic coloured field with Vallo. Almost like the nature trails of your youth, it's a shame it focuses only on one animal. At this point you'll be doing one of three things; either sighing happily, making your excuses as to why you can't watch any more or you'll be raising an eyebrow wondering what on earth you used to see in this band. There's a deliciously laid back purr about this song, but it's not able to live up to they immense hype surrounding this band.
Finally, the DVD begins to move onto more interesting lands. 'Pretending' kicks off the Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights videos and with it there's a new burst of energy and renewed inspiration. A personal favourite, this song shows what the band are- or were- capable of. 2001 was certainly one of the band's best years and this dynamic video with its fast paced editing and energetic camera movements, captures the essence of their best work easily. 'In Joy and Sorrow' drags the mood back down into the angsty, slow paced Gothic-Emo hybrid they're famous for. That said, Vallo's voice is far more palatable on this song than on other attempts at slushy ballads. The decline of his good looks provides some entertainment for more jaded viewers. 'Heartache Every Moment' brings with it more dodgy live footage although infinitely better than the previous live attempt.
...And then it becomes painful to watch. 'The Funeral Of Hearts' brings with it that whine and that face that brought about HIM's bad name in the UK music world. Of course, if you're 11 you're not going to notice just how high key the lighting on this video is in an effort to mask the smoker's skin of the once-beautiful frontman. Even a rabid fan will start to lose interest with the beginning notes of 'Buried Alive By Love', due to the complete saturation of UK music channels. The experimentation of the Deep Shadows' videos proves too much for the band and they revert to their favourite video content. Yet again the dusky haired beauty wanders, probably wondering at this point why on earth a scrawny Finish man and his selection of balding, fattening cohorts is following her. Taking advantage of his famous name, Bam gets in on the HIM act to direct another video. A large portion of 'The Sacrament' focuses on Vallo's topless figure- perhaps this might have something to do with the unhealthy obsession Bam appears to have with this band.
Onto the newer singles... 'Solitary Man' features a topless Vallo again, this time appearing anorexic in figure. This might not be the best collection of music to make it onto a DVD, but it's an interesting account of what happens to a person idolised and adored by so many fans. After the final video 'And Love Said No' (with Bam in charge, yet again), it's onto the live clips. All the favourite live hits are here in sound quality that leaves a lot to be desired. 'Wicked Game', 'When Love and Death Embrace', 'Razorblade Kiss', 'Pretending', 'In Joy and Sorrow'... chances are, if they've played it at a gig you've been to, it's featured on the live clips section. What, you mean you were expecting this DVD to give you new content? If it is new content you're after, or you just love Bam, the second DVD in this box set is the place to head for. Featuring interviews with both parties, it's more of this stuff that the DVD needed to flesh out those average musical offerings.